Belfast Telegraph

Top property law firm backing awards category

Tracey Schofield and Mark Blair of A&L Goodbody
Tracey Schofield and Mark Blair of A&L Goodbody

By Stephanie Bell

For the third year, A&L Goodbody - a market leader in commercial property law in Ireland - is sponsoring the Commercial Estate Agent of the Year category in the annual Belfast Telegraph Property Awards being staged in Belfast tomorrow.

"Resilience, a positive attitude and an ability to adapt have been displayed by those at the forefront of the property market," said partner, Tracey Schofield.

A&L Goodbody has recently, for example, increasingly been involved in residential build to rent, leisure, healthcare and retirement living schemes in the alternative investments market locally.

"A key part of our role is to help clients get one step ahead and maximise new opportunities," she added.

A&L Goodbody clients have been busy in these markets.

Benmore Octopus is moving ahead with the first phases of development at the King's Hall Complex, the first healthcare and leisure village in Northern Ireland, and LXi Reit recently completed its acquisition of the £14.9m Emerald Care Homes portfolio.

A number of A&L Goodbody's leisure sector clients also continue to take advantage of the weaker pound and under-supply in hotel rooms locally, with Jurys Inn Group about to commence its 80-bedroom extension, and Dalata Hotel Group on track to deliver a 206-bedroom Maldron Hotel in Belfast city centre in partnership with McAleer & Rushe.

Mark Blair, head of commercial property at A&L Goodbody Belfast, explained that the firm has been growing its departmental specialisms: "We have added to the strength and depth of our asset management, residential plot sales and property litigation teams. Specialist construction and planning lawyers work alongside our large commercial property team to provide clients with a full service offering to assist them with their investment strategies."

A&L Goodbody clients have continued to invest substantially in the local market.

Lotus Group and Tristan Capital are implementing their expansion plans at The Junction, Antrim and The Boulevard, Banbridge. NewRiver Reit saw the opening of the new Next and Dunnes superstore extensions at Abbey Centre. Having recently received planning permission, Oakland (FRO) Limited is also about to start a 212,000 sq ft refurbishment of Merchant Square in the city centre.

Schofield continued: "The diversity of the projects in which we are currently involved illustrates the 'can do' attitude of our clients. These very much reflect our multi-faceted local market."

Blair concluded: "Every day, we witness the tremendous effort that property agents put into seeking to attract investors and end users to local developments.

"Congratulations to all the finalists in the Commercial Estate Agent of the Year category - we wish them every success in the awards and in the year ahead."