CMS wins sole adviser mandate for Crown Estate's £2.5bn regional retail portfolio

CMS has been appointed as The Crown Estate’s sole legal provider for its £2.5bn regional retail portfolio.

The Crown Estate has instructed CMS to advise on asset management, development, sales and purchases, with the role understood to last seven years.

The portfolio is comprised of 14 shopping and retail parks, three shopping centres, and one leisure destination across the UK. For example, it includes Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford and Newcastle leisure scheme The Gate.

CMS fielded a London- and Sheffield-based team to lead the pitch, which included real estate partners Ciaran Carvalho, John Cumpson, Sarah Meldrum and Marie Scott. Other partners involved in the pitch included construction partner Karen Clarke and real estate disputes partner Marcus Barclay.

The Crown Estate general counsel and company secretary Rob Booth said: “We were impressed with the offering CMS put together for our regional retail portfolio. There is a strong sense of innovation and collaboration in the future of our partnership with them.”

CMS head of real estate Carvalho added: “The Crown Estate takes a long-term view of real estate, and we see this as the start of a strong and lasting relationship, extending over the course of this mandate and, we hope, well beyond. The Crown Estate have exciting ambitions for the regional retail portfolio and we look forward to helping them push boundaries in the retail and leisure sphere, creating some brilliant places within the UK.”

The Crown Estate, a £13bn real estate business, runs a number of other sole provider relationships for its various legal needs. In November 2017, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) – soon to be Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) – was appointed as it its sole adviser for strategic construction work within central London.

The appointment, which is for a five-year term, comes after BLP was chosen to replace King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) this January as the Crown Estate’s sole adviser on its £7bn central London portfolio.

Also last year, Hogan Lovells replaced Norton Rose Fulbright on the Crown Estate’s energy, minerals and infrastructure panel, with Bond Dickinson retaining its position on the roster.