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Practices

Industries

Recognitions / Rankings

  • Legal 500 Canada 2017 recommends Lawson Lundell for Real Estate 
  • Chambers Canada 2016 recognizes Lawson Lundell in the Real Estate (British Columbia) category
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2016 recognizes Lawson Lundell as a leading firm in Property Development and Property Leasing
  • Best Lawyers in Canada 2016 recognizes our lawyers for Real Estate Law
  • Chambers Global 2015 recognizes Lawson Lundell for Real Estate
  • Legal 500 Canada 2015 ranks Lawson Lundell as a leading firm in Real Estate 

Related Information

Lawson Lundell's Real Estate Group is a proud sponsor of the following event:

Calgary Real Estate Forum

Real Estate

Our Real Estate Group has acted or currently acts for pension funds, pipeline, mining and utility companies, developers, institutional and private investors, and government agencies in connection with a broad range of real estate matters.  We provide advice on British Columbia legislation such as the Land Title Act, Strata Property Act, Real Estate Development Marketing Act, Real Estate Services Act, Property Transfer Tax Act, Mining Right of Way Act, Oil and Gas Activities Act and the Agricultural Land Commission Act, among others.

 We have the expertise, resources and reputation to provide our clients with responsive, pragmatic and cost efficient advice.  In addition to serving our clients, our lawyers are frequently called upon to participate in educational presentations for the legal profession and the development industry, and are also active and contributing members of industry associations such as the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Urban Development Institute.

Our areas of expertise include:

Acquisitions & Divestments

Leasing 

Infrastructure

Development

Ownership Structuring

Financing

Municipal Law

Litigation

Property Tax

Environmental

First Nations

Strata Property Wind ups

Acquisitions & Divestments

We assist in the buying, selling and financing of interests in office, retail, industrial and mixed-use portfolios and properties.

Leasing

We act as lead leasing counsel for institutional and privately held landlords and tenants in connection with lease preparation, negotiations and related property management matters for regional shopping centres, power centres, enclosed malls, lifestyle centres, office tower complexes and multi-tenanted industrial parks.

Infrastructure

We assist utilities, power producers, pipeline, mining and energy infrastructure companies with real property matters, including the large-scale acquisition of property rights for linear projects and related facilities throughout British Columbia. We also provide comprehensive expropriation advice to a variety of taking authorities and property owners, including:

•               hydroelectric generation / transmission providers and pipeline companies;

•               shopping mall landlords and tenants;

•               gas station landlords and tenants, and

•               small business owners and individuals.

Our expropriation practice includes not only the preparation and service of all documents required under the Expropriation Act, but also litigation support in respect of any challenges to a proposed taking.

Development

We assist our developer clients in the site acquisition, subsequent development work and project marketing of mixed use and multi-family projects as well as office, industrial and retail projects, advising on such matters as subdivisions (including air space subdivisions and strata titling), large land assemblies and redevelopment of real property as well as strata titled project sales matters.   

Ownership Structuring

We assist in the planning and formation of corporate structures for various real estate transactions, including the formation of limited partnerships, joint ventures and bare trusts specifically suited for various real estate properties, and to achieve tax efficient structures for our clients.

Financing

We assist developers and private investors to negotiate and close acquisition, construction and other credit facilities.  We also assist our Banking and Debt Financing Group to review real estate agreements in connection with complex lending transactions.

Municipal Law

We assist private sector clients and citizen groups on all aspects of municipal law including land use planning, public/private partnerships, development and building permits, rezoning, municipal entitlements (including heritage incentives) and advise on related British Columbia legislation such as the Local Government Act, the Community Charter and the Expropriation Act.

Litigation

Our real estate litigation group has both prosecuted and defended a wide variety of claims related to real estate matters. These cases frequently involve the application of difficult areas of law and the use of a variety of experts. We provide advice and representation on a regular basis to international, national and local corporations as well as to individuals, financial institutions, tenants, commercial landlords, creditors, debtors and others in matters relating to real estate. Members of the group also advise and represent clients in regulatory investigations and prosecutions related to contaminated site and other environmental matters.

Property Tax

We provide property assessment and taxation advice to a variety of property owners that ranges from advance property tax planning through liaison with government to property tax appeals at every level of tribunal and court.   Our clients include:

 · major industries (mines, smelters, hydroelectric generation facilities, wind farms, sawmills, pulp and paper mills, forestry companies, bulk terminals, railways, pipelines);

·       commercial developers (mixed-use resort developments, downtown hotel, office and mixed-use properties, shopping malls, and small businesses);

·       utilities (hydroelectric generation / transmission companies, wind farms, telecommunications companies, railways, ferry operators and airports);

·       large and small businesses (film studios, commercial laundering facilities, shopping mall landlords and anchor tenants);

·       non-profit and charitable organizations (youth and religious camps, independent schools); and

·       individuals.

Environmental

We advise clients on various aspects of environmental law impacting on commercial real estate transactions including environmental due diligence, risk assessments, allocation of liability, representations and warranties, and indemnities.  We also advise on issues relating to contaminated sites, including polluter, producer and responsible persons liability, allocation of liability, site remediation requirements, remediation cost claims, and certificates of compliance.

First Nations

We assist clients with a variety of First Nations real estate matters, including the implementation of urban treaty agreements and the preparation and financing of residential and commercial leases of First Nations lands.  Our firm also has extensive experience assisting project proponents to design and implement consultation programs and negotiating impact-benefit agreements with aboriginal groups.

Strata Property Wind ups

We assist strata corporations, developers and real estate agents in all aspects of strata corporation wind ups. We have successfully completed a number of strata corporation wind ups, including the first court approved wind up in British Columbia.

Key Contacts

Acquisitions & Divestments

·     Acting for pension funds and other investor groups relating to the acquisition and disposition of residential and commercial income producing properties, including retail shopping centres and office and industrial portfolios

·     Acting for an investee company of a pension fund in the acquisition of several retirement homes and development properties throughout British Columbia

·     Acting for a real estate development and management company in the acquisition of office properties in Alberta

·     Acting for vendor/tenant in sale/leaseback of Canadian portfolio of manufacturing facilities

Leasing

·     Acting for various landlords in connection with lease preparation and negotiation for approximately 950,000 square feet of leasable space in regional shopping centres, as well as office tower complexes and industrial portfolios totalling over 320,000 square feet of leasable space, in 2011-2012

·     Conducting lease negotiations for industrial users of port and other federal lands

·     Acting for the operators of national hotel groups with respect to leasing and development matters

·     Acting for a  landlord with respect to trademark and intellectual property issues associated with renaming a downtown office tower in Vancouver

Infrastructure

·     Acting for the largest electric utility in British Columbia in connection with the acquisition of property rights for the construction of major linear projects

·     Acting for mining, forestry and other industrial companies in securing rights of way, crown leases and related matters

·     Acting for a leading energy infrastructure company with the acquisition of rights-of-way for the purposes of constructing natural gas pipelines 

Development

·      Acting for a developer of a mixed use air space project in Victoria containing a geothermal heating and cooling system

·      Acting for developer clients with respect to residential, mixed and phased development projects throughout British Columbia

·      Developments on First Nation lands including acting for developers in connection with development and leasing of power centre retail developments on First Nation (Westbank) lands

·      Acting for receiver-manager clients with respect to various residential development projects throughout British Columbia, including Kelowna, West Vancouver and Whistler

Ownership Structuring

·      Assisting various developer clients in structuring joint ventures for the purposes of raising capital for a wide range of development projects throughout British Columbia

·      Assisting in the formation of a partnership between a developer client and the private-sector arm of a municipality for the purposes of developing a phased development project

·      Assisting a real estate investment company in a joint venture involving a shopping centre development located on First Nations lands

Financing

·     Assisting various developer clients in obtaining construction take-out financing for residential, retail, office, industrial and mixed-use developments

·     Acting for various developer clients in connection with deposit protection insurance facilities, permitting use of purchaser trust deposits for purposes of constructing and marketing development property

Municipal Law

·     Assisting municipalities on the redevelopment of downtown urban centres

·     Acting for developer in connection with the redevelopment of industrial sites to permit multi-family residential uses

·     Acting for developers in connection with development of heritage properties and related heritage incentive matters including density transfers and property tax exemptions

·     Advising a variety of clients including a shopping mall, a brewery, various gas station landlords and tenants, a cement and gravel manufacturer, an electrical utility, and a pipeline company on expropriation issues, from the perspective of the taking authority and from the perspective of the landowner

Litigation

·     Representing bankruptcy trustees, financial institutions and other creditors in prosecuting claims for fraudulent preferences and conveyances of land

·     Prosecuting and defending claims for the specific performances of contracts for the purchase and sale of land, both commercial and residential

·     Acting for commercial landlords and tenants in commercial tenancy disputes

·     Acting for commercial landlords in dealing with insolvent tenants

·     Successfully prosecuting a claim of trespass against the neighbour of a commercial enterprise, including an award of punitive damages

·     Prosecuting and defending claims arising from collapsing real estate transactions including claims relating to deposits and damages

·     Prosecuting and defending claims relating to the encroachment of structures on neighbouring properties

Property Tax

·     Reducing taxes on large mixed-use development properties in Colwood, Ucluelet and Langford through changes in classification and value

·     Reducing taxes on a ferry terminal by reducing its value from $55 million to nominal value based on lease use restrictions;

·     Reducing taxes by $1.5 million on a nearly-complete downtown Vancouver high-end hotel / residential suites complex by revaluing and reclassifying the complex;

·     Reducing taxes on an air-laid non-woven manufacturing plant in Delta by moving it from Major Industry to Light Industry Class;

·     Subjecting payments in lieu of tax by a port authority to review by the Federal Dispute Advisory Panel;

·     Reducing taxes at a smelter and at a medium density fibreboard plant through increased depreciation;

·     Reducing taxes at a pulp mill by exempting tank in the effluent treatment system from tax;

·     Seeking to reduce taxes on a film studio by moving it from Business Class to Light Industrial Class; and

·     Seeking an exemption from tax for independent schools in B.C.

Environmental

·     Advising project proponents involved in environmental assessments and regulatory approval proceses, including: mining projects in British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut and hydroelectric projects in British Columbia and the North

·     Advising industrial land owners respecting compliance with contaminated site remediation requirements and liability for remediation costs

First Nations

·     Advising holders of residential leases and mortgagees on impact of urban treaty, negotiating new rights of way and easements for utilities and governments in respect of the same

·     Advising oil and gas producers with respect to aboriginal issues in northeastern British Columbia, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Quebec

·     Providing aboriginal advice to the proponent of a heavy oil project in the Cold Lake region of Alberta

Representing aboriginal development corporations, local governments and oil and gas producers in connection with diverse commercial, regulatory and permitting matters in the Northwest Territories

Team Members