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Real Estate Developers & Investors

Lydian is a leading expert in all legal aspects of property development, including environment, planning, finance, tax,… for all types of real estate projects.

Focus areas

We have experience in construction and engineering projects, specifically on financing, contracting, planning and zoning, insolvency and insurance aspects for all actors in construction projects. We act for a broad range of clients across the industry: developers; employers; contractors; consulting engineers and architects; financial institutions; government entities; power and utility companies; and property funds.

Our key strength is blending our legal expertise to identify and address issues and risks arising in construction and engineering contracts, together with industry-focused knowledge.

We are experienced in handling disputes relating to the design and construction of railways, power stations, hospitals, hotels, office, retail and leisure space as well as claims for professional negligence. We regularly act for clients in expert mediation, arbitration and litigation.

Working closely with our other teams, the environment team advises on a wide range of matters including real estate, banking projects, corporate finance and dispute resolution.

Our team also advises on the licensing process and on compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

In addition to technical skills, entrepreneurial thinking and commercial acumen, our environment lawyers offer:

  • experience in the real estate sector, having worked for local government, public sector bodies, regulators and other major players;
  • expertise in all aspects of national and EU environmental and health and safety law;
  • excellent relationships with regulatory bodies and local government.

Our lawyers are consistently recognised for the quality of the property development work we undertake.

We advise commercial property developers, financers and occupiers on all types of development projects,  for example, hotels, retail, residential and office developments.

These projects have their own particular issues, including demand for tall buildings, a requirement for more mixed use developments, changing trends in lease terms, and the changing quality standards of internal and external office environments.

Our clients include listed companies, private individuals, institutional investors and sponsors for whom real estate is a core asset or an interesting investment. We offer a multi-disciplinary service and we increasingly see transactions that involve our tax, banking and corporate teams as well as traditional real estate services.

We have particular expertise in commercial property including offices, retail centres, out-of-town retail, distribution complexes, industrial estates, hotels, homes for the elderly / care homes and the reallocation and development of brownfield sites. 

We advise on all aspects of real estate investment including acquisition, letting and disposal of investment properties and portfolios, cross-border investment, and the establishment of appropriate investment vehicles.

We assist government and private clients on several of the larger and more complex PPP/PFI deals. Through a combination of expertise in real estate and environmental matters and in public law as well as in insurance, project finance and private equity matters, we offer our clients full legal services in support of their participation in  PPP/PFI projects.

Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have significantly increased in Belgium. Lydian has been at the forefront of this development, assisting government and private clients on several larger and more complex deals. 

Our expertise in real estate and environmental matters and in public law, insurance, project finance and private equity means we offer our clients full legal services to support their participation in PPP/PFI projects

We are proficient in setting up project structures, undertaking legal feasibility studies and risk allocation exercises, advising on fiscal, financial, corporate, procurement or real estate optimisations, supporting legal project management, assisting in negotiations with partners, share- and stakeholders, and drafting tender or bid documentation. 

We have in-depth knowledge of legal techniques which are key to any PPP/PFI-project, for example, concessions, joint ventures, public procurement procedures, subsidies, loans and security structures, service level and interface agreements, budget and ESA 2010 regulations

We provide clear planning advice to developers, landowners, house builders and retailers in all types of planning work regarding office, retail, hotel, hospitality and residential real estate projects. We advise our clients through the whole process of the project, from planning appraisals and applications, to appeals and inquiries.

Typical schemes include the promotion and implementation of major sustainable urban extensions and regeneration of brownfield development sites.

With a strong pedigree in working with local authorities and their development partners, our team also provides assistance in town and city centre regeneration schemes.

We have a strong reputation for acting for landlords, tenants and other occupiers of offices and other types of real estate, based on our ensuring that we have a thorough understanding of our clients' reasons for wanting the relevant property and the use the client intends to make of it.

We advise clients on all aspects of their real estate strategy, in particular on:

  • conducting a real estate audit to review their real estate holdings;
  • asset allocation, risk management and transactional opportunities;
  • developing a strategic real estate plan which will free up management time, create value within the real estate portfolio and deliver real value to the shareholders;
  • implementing that plan, whether it involves disposals, sale and leasebacks, securitisation or outsourcing.

As the investment structures related to the global real estate industry continue to mature, real estate financiers and borrowers are undertaking ever more complex transactions.

We have the depth of experience and market understanding to guide (investment) banks, funds, investors and borrowers through even the most sophisticated of transactions. We support you through every aspect of a real estate project and the different types of financing. We combine clear, commercial advice with fresh thinking. Our focus is on innovative structures and solutions.

Real estate investors work together all the time. Increasingly, we see combinations of developers, investors, contractors and other entities developing or buying properties. Large projects are often financed and developed as a result of real estate joint ventures. As members of real estate ventures, these parties need a formal structure to govern their relationships within the venture.

There are three key concepts in structuring your joint venture: control, splitting up the profits, and exit. Our lawyers will assist you with all the details of the joint venture such as defining its objectives, delegation of management responsibilities for the project and ownership rights of the project. We have the experience and market understanding to assist parties in the most complicated joint ventures and lead the negotiations in this regard.

We work on all aspects of taxation and property, from acquisitionsand disposals to commercial and residential development, investment, asset management and international work. Our aim is always to achieve the best outcome for our clients and for the real estate project

We are specialists in the optional VAT regime for the renting of professional real estate, financial and operational leasing. We have the necessary expertise to optimise your agreement in terms of tax law.    

Being “bilingual” in real estate and tax, and benefiting from a familiarity with the way in which real estate deals are done in Belgium, the real estate tax team provides the 'missing link' that enables our real estate lawyers to integrate with our clients' in-house tax teams and external advisers.