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The property development sector flies or falls on factors often beyond its control. Elections create uncertainty around policy directions, financial institutions can make borrowing money easier or harder, and property purchasers may decide the time’s just not right to buy. But despite the potential difficulties, property remains a key driver of the Australian economy.
We understand the challenges and drivers of property development, working with developers at all stages of their project from conception to settlement, including disposal, development, procurement, tendering, project management, contract interpretation, project financing and dispute resolution.
Property development is more than building and subdividing. It also involves behind the scene issues arising out of joint ventures, syndication and complex business structures, stamp duty and revenue considerations. We speak the industry’s language and understand what’s needed to achieve commercial outcomes. With a national outlook, we can navigate clients through development laws unique to various states.
Our client built a 324 room hotel development with adjoining shops in Brisbane. On completion the bank gave three months to sell before calling in the loan. After a sales campaign, during which an offer of $98 million was rejected, an offer of $115 million was received but the offshore buyer was leaving in three days. We began negotiating with the buyer’s lawyer at 9am on a Friday and worked through until 1am Saturday. Negotiations recommenced at 9am on the Saturday with final sign off at 8pm Saturday night. The contract was signed Sunday morning before the buyer left for the airport. Ten weeks later and we banked a cheque for $115 million for our client.
Our client owned a large, odd-shaped parcel of land in New South Wales which they wanted to develop. To enable the development to proceed our client needed a bit of neighbouring land owned by the local council to bring the shape into something they could develop. We negotiated a land swap arrangement with the council and our client. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent our client was running short on time as they had engaged a builder to commence construction before the land swap was finalised. If the land swap was not registered within 48 hours to enable our client to hand over the entire development site to the builder, our client was going to be exposed to a significant claim for damages by the builder. As soon as the client let us know the dilemma they were facing, we immediately prepared the documentation and worked with the council to stamp the transfers on their behalf. Through our contacts with Revenue NSW and NSW Land Registry Services we had the transfers effecting the land swap stamped and registered together with the subsequent plan of subdivision with a couple of hours to spare, saving our client’s business potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Macpherson Kelley has been the lawyers for a family turning a large greenfield site on the south east edge of Melbourne into a housing subdivision. From the start of the project and as each land stage is ready for release, we prepared and advised on documentation as well as helping with a range of issues, including local council and other authority requirements. The development stages include plans for a retirement village, retail shops and offices, a childcare centre, parks and other facilities to service the estate. Throughout our long association with the development we have helped overcome a number of hurdles and the subdivision continues to progress with new housing for Melbourne’s growing population.