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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W Y

Our real estate expertise in warehousing and logistics

Our real estate expertise in warehousing and logistics

Our real estate expertise in warehousing and logistics

Our property expertise in the warehousing and logistics market is drawn from across the Liverpool and Manchester offices and the department has been commended in the Legal 500 as an ‘excellent’ practice for industrial and logistics work.

The team provides a full range of advice to many logistics companies including the negotiation of property provisions in logistics agreements, the negotiation of development agreements and leases, planning advice and advising on break conditions in leases.

We provide a rigorous, responsive and cost effective service, allied to the commercial awareness of our clients’ business objectives. Longstanding clients in the logistics sector include DHL, Rhenus Logistics, B&M, TJ Morris, Tradeteam, James Hall, NWF Group and Jungheinrich. Examples of recent transactions include:

  • Acting on the acquisition of a sugar distribution depot for The Real Good Food Company plc.
  • Handling the property aspects of the sale of DHL’s domestic parcel business to Home Delivery Network
  • The sale of two international rail freight terminals totalling 33 acres
  • Acting on a freehold site acquisition, development and re-financing as part of a major expansion of NWF’s distribution facility at Wardle, Cheshire
  • The acquisition of a 27 acre freight terminal to provide a logistics consolidation centre for the 2012 London Olympics
  • Acting for the occupier in a design and build contract for the construction of a 100,000 square foot logistics warehouse
  • Acted on the acquisition of Harrow Green Group for Restore plc
  • Re-gearing lease ownership of warehousing location with rent of c. £2 million per annum
  • Advising on the redevelopment of a fully automated high bay warehouse for the storage and distribution network of a multi-national customer
  • Advising on the leasing of a large number of warehouses ranging in all sizes up to 750,000 square feet
  • Advising on the implications of customer insolvency.
  • Acting on the grant of a renewal lease of a chilled fresh produce terminal at Sheerness to ASDA and subsequent freehold sale of the investment

Leases

Flexibility to meet customer requirements and control of costs are critical to survival of logistics companies. Lease terms are crucial. It continues to be a good time to press for advantageous terms in lease negotiations for secondary industrial stock to protect your commercial position and cash flow. Landlords are under continuing pressure to let their property with demand weak and business rates relief for most unoccupied properties being no longer available for existing stock.

Our Logistics team has extensive knowledge in drafting documentation to help you conclude transactions to best suit your business strategy. We are used to negotiating tenant-friendly provisions to protect your commercial position and cash flow, including switching to monthly payments, inclusion of incentives and dilution of late payment penalties.

We work with you to ensure that your leases contain provisions that act in your favour including:

  • Unconditional break clauses
  • Flexibility of assignment and underletting
  • Exclusion of expensive tenant obligations such as the installation of firewalls and sprinkler systems
  • The ability to terminate quickly in the event of damage or destruction
  • Limiting repair obligations
  • Removing environmental liabilities
  • Sufficient flexibility to carry out any alterations
  • Capped service charges.

A Landlord’s Perspective

In a tough and competitive market Landlords are under pressure to move quickly to turn heads of terms into a completed lease and we work closely with our Landlord clients to produce client focussed documentation which meets the needs of industrial land owners but also allows occupiers to take a commercial view on those terms without the need for lengthy negotiations.

We act for some of the North West’s largest land owners such as Peel Holdings, Peel Ports and Grosvenor in the management of their commercial property estates which include substantial warehouse portfolios.

We provide a practical and proactive service to enable our clients to maximise their occupancy levels and rent roll whilst building in flexibility - through devices such as the exclusion of security of tenure and landlord break clauses – to enable our clients to respond quickly to redevelopment opportunities.

Our Property team regularly acts on transactions for our client’s freehold and long leasehold industrial estates including:

  • Site acquisition and disposal
  • Site development and redevelopment
  • Portfolio Management
  • Formulating and implementing vacant possession strategies
  • Refinancing
  • Planning applications and related agreements
  • Re-gearing and packaged investment site disposals

Development

The lack of investment by developers in speculative developments has led to an availability of prime, new build stock and this is leading to the likelihood that design and build agreement will become more prevalent in the short to medium term.

We have acted for many logistics businesses in drafting agreements with developers to design and build warehouses for their operations. The essential requirements for a development include:

  • Your ability to challenge practical completion of the development
  • Compensation for delay
  • Clarity of specification to provide a fully commissioned and suitable warehouse for your business
  • The right of inspection as the developer’s works progress and the entitlement to make representations including to the snagging list to be issued at practical completion
  • The ability to get sufficient aftercare from developers to fix problems that arise in the twelve month period after practical completion;
  • Protection on rent and rent review if the completed warehouse is larger than the target area; and
  • To be provided with a full package of warranties for construction and design as a pre-condition of completion.

Construction

Our construction team has acted for logistics clients with regard to the procurement, design and construction of warehouse and distribution facilities in their capacity as developer and tenant entities. We prepare bespoke amendments to the JCT building contracts to see that the time and costs risks of the design and construction to the developer are reduced and to ensure that there is a single point of responsibility with regard to any design and/or construction defects. We also seek to ensure that the professional team are appointed upon reasonably robust terms and that warranties in favour of any third parties are in forms which are generally acceptable to tenants and funders.

Planning

Securing planning permission for development of a warehouse facility or logistics hub is vital to the success of any project, The UK Planning system provides a number of hurdles for developers to navigate. The National Planning Policy Framework 2012 has encouraged new development. Our planning team have assisted a number of developers and companies to progress schemes that had previously been held up by restrictive planning policies in Local Plans.

The key concept driving planning permission for new development is “ sustainability” . A warehouse/ logistics development will, in order to be successful, need input from planning specialists to ensure a site meets sustainability requirements of the NPPF and other planning policy requirements.

The team have advised on a number of infrastructure developments linked to logistic hubs in the North West including road and rail schemes.

The planning team also have a specialism in advising landowners and commercial organisations effected by HS2 High Speed Rail, the Government’s flagship infrastructure project, in the Midlands and the North West. The completion of the High Speed Rail will create a number of logistic hubs in the North West and the Midlands.

Environmental

Our Environment and Regulatory Compliance team understands the strong emerging challenges that many logistics and transportation businesses are facing. Not just from evolving legislation and governance by regulators but also through questions raised by major customers and shareholders on the environmental, sustainability and corporate social responsibility policies of their suppliers. This is in addition to more traditional issues of environmental quality, product safety and worker safety.

Our team advises on a wide range of matters including:

  • Industry regulation and prosecution
  • Noise and nuisance claims
  • Project development and environmental impact
  • Environmental and health & safety liabilities on the acquisition or disposal of land or businesses
  • Energy
  • Waste
  • Sustainable infrastructure
  • Permits, licences, consents and other operational compliance issues.