Main Menu

Overview

Lawson Lundell’s Real Estate Group acts for developers, institutional and private investors, pension funds, pipeline, mining, energy and utility companies, contractors, and government agencies who undertake and manage a broad range of real estate projects and portfolios, including commercial, industrial, institutional, residential and mixed use.

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.

When appropriate, our Group draws on the expertise provided by other members of the firm in such areas as tax, environmental and Indigenous law. We also have experience assisting foreign buyers of real property and with advising on cross-border transactions. In advising Chinese clients or clients doing business in China, we work with members of our China initiative, many of whom are also members of our Real Estate Group. Our understanding of the Western Canadian real estate market and Chinese investments means that we are able to act as a strategic partner to clients to help identify opportunities.

Our areas of expertise include:

Acquisitions & Divestments

We assist in the buying, selling and financing of interests in development lands as well as office, retail, industrial, land assemblies, bare and rural land, and mixed-use portfolios and properties. Our work involves the acquisition of development sites, organization and formation of various development entities, rezoning and municipal approval matters, financing and due diligence.

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, enclosed malls, lifestyle centres, office tower complexes and multi-tenanted industrial parks.

Development

We assist our developer clients in the site acquisition, tax planning, 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.  We also advise our clients with respect to compliance with the Real Estate Development and Marketing Act (REDMA).

Infrastructure

We assist utilities, power producers, pipeline, mining and energy companies with real property matters, including the large-scale acquisition of property rights for linear projects and related facilities throughout British Columbia and Alberta.

Ownership Structuring

We assist in the planning and formation of corporate structures for various real estate transactions, including the formation of limited partnerships, single purpose corporations, 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 with the review of real estate agreements in connection with complex lending transactions and draw on their expertise where appropriate.

Expropriation

We assist clients who must take property to build their infrastructure projects and we assist clients whose property is taken for such projects or for municipal purposes. The former include utilities and pipelines companies; the latter range from shopping centres and gas stations to individual home owners. With extensive real estate and litigation experience, we provide a full range of expropriation services to support our clients, including strategic planning, negotiations towards voluntary acquisition, challenges (where available) to the scope of property expropriated, conduct of formal expropriation proceedings, and litigation of compensation claims.

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 and municipal entitlements (including heritage incentives).

Litigation

Our real estate litigation group assists with 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 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, such as REDMA purchaser disputes. Members of the group also advise and represent clients in cost recovery actions related to contaminated sites and regulatory investigations regarding a variety of environmental matters.

Property Tax, Property Transfer Tax, Foreign Buyers’ Tax and Vacancy Tax

We provide a full range of property assessment and taxation services to a variety of property owners from advance property tax planning through liaison with government to prosecution of property tax and payments in lieu of tax appeals before all levels of provincial and First Nations appeal tribunals and courts.

Our clients include major industries, commercial developers, utilities, large and small businesses, non-profit and charitable organizations and individuals.

Environmental / Contaminated Sites

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 environmental liability, site remediation requirements, remediation cost claims, and certificates of compliance.

Indigenous Law

We assist clients with a variety of real estate matters involving Indigenous groups, 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 Indigenous 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.

Recognitions & Rankings

Recognitions & Rankings

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

Experience

Experience

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, office and industrial portfolios, and multi-family apartment buildings
  • Acting for an investee company of a pension fund in the acquisition of 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
  • Assisting a client with the acquisition of a student residence building from a receiver vendor in Alberta

Leasing

  • Acting for various landlords in connection with lease preparation and negotiation for regional shopping centres across BC and Alberta, office tower complexes and industrial portfolios
  • 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 developers with respect to residential, mixed use and phased development projects throughout British Columbia
  • Developments on First Nations lands including acting for developers in connection with development and leasing of retail developments on First Nations lands
  • Acting for receiver-manager clients with respect to various residential development projects throughout British Columbia
  • Advising clients who have developed many of the regional shopping centre malls in British Columbia and Alberta

 Ownership Structuring

  • Assisting various developer clients in structuring joint ventures for the purposes of raising capital for a wide range of development projects
  • 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 clients in obtaining construction and 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

Expropriation

  • Advising public utility and pipeline companies on land acquisition for major infrastructure projects
  • Advising gas stations, shopping centres, small business owners and individual home owners on challenges to expropriations and on compensation
  • Negotiation and litigation of contested compensation claims
  • 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

Municipal Law

  • Assisting municipalities on the redevelopment of downtown urban centres
  • Acting for developers 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
  • Defending third party challenges to rezonings and building permits

Real Estate 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
  • 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
  • Prosecuting and defending claims over disputed options to purchase and options to renew commercial leases
  • Acting for land owners seeking to have restrictive covenants altered or removed from title
  • Acting for various owners with respect to disputes over the joint ownership of land, including claims under the Partition of Real Property Act

Property Tax

  • Reducing taxes through tax planning and appeals for a wide variety of industrial, development, commercial, transportation and individual property owners on private, provincial, federal and First Nations lands before provincial and First Nations tribunals and courts
  • Obtaining exemptions for churches, independent schools, societies and charities
  • Advising municipalities and federal property tenants on payment in lieu of taxes and related appeals
  • Negotiating tax agreements and letters patent for expansion of municipal tax bases with municipalities and the Province

Environmental

  • Advising project proponents involved in environmental assessments and regulatory approval processes, including: oil and gas, power and mining projects, hydroelectric projects, and marine terminal projects
  • Advising industrial land owners respecting compliance with contaminated site remediation requirements and liability for remediation costs
  • Structuring transactions involving the sale of contaminated sites to protect the vendor from ongoing liability

Indigenous Law

  • 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 Indigenous issues in northeastern British Columbia, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Quebec
  • Providing Indigenous law advice to the proponent of a heavy oil project in the Cold Lake region of Alberta
  • Representing Indigenous development corporations, local governments and oil and gas producers in connection with diverse commercial, regulatory and permitting matters in the Northwest Territories

Team

Insights

News & Publications

Blog Posts

Back to Page