Tenant Representation – Leap Developers

February 28th, 2019 Posted by 0 thoughts on “Tenant Representation – Leap Developers”

Tenant Representation

1,550 sqm Head Office Renewal

Leap Developers


By 2018, LEAP Dev and its associated businesses had grown significantly due to the success of their highly popular legal software platform within Australia and elsewhere around the world.

The Group’s existing lease expired at the end of 2019 and its office fitout had recently received a modern upgrade.

At the time, the Sydney CBD office market was very much a “Landlord Market” due to the lack of supply and the situation was set to worsen significantly of the next years with an expected increase in rents and shrinking incentives.

our client’s need

Initially, LEAP Dev asked Counsel to review the existing lease, a proposal from its landlord to extend the lease term after the expiry in 2019 and provide a “Stay vs Go Analysis”. The existing office still met the Group’s needs however the executive team was open-minded about relocating if this offered a superior outcome.

LEAP Dev’s people are a key contributor to the Group’s success so maintaining a high quality, convenient and easily accessible the workplace was essential. In addition, a key aspect of managing its rapid growth prudently, was the careful control of costs, in particular, real estate costs and it had determined maximum medium-term annual real estate cost budgets. Lastly, LEAP Dev was extremely concerned with the potential for business disruption risk.

our approach

Our initial Stay vs Go Analysis did not yield clearly superior outcome so we recommended testing the market through a competitive market search. We conducted a number of inspections and undertook a thorough comparative analysis, including financial, building quality and location.

After we assessed other available options against its LEAP Dev’s selection criteria, renewing the existing lease was determined to be the preferred option subject improving the financial outcome significantly in line with its cost medium-term budgeting.

our value

By maintaining leverage through competitive tension, we engaged with the landlord on a non-exclusive basis and negotiated heads of agreement with the landlord. After working closely, assisting LEAP Dev’s internal legal counsel and external legal representative, we co-ordinated the execution of a new 4-year lease.

The total cost over 4 years was within LEAP Dev’s budget limit and represented a saving of approximately 18.5% or in excess of $1.1 million compared to the landlord’s initial proposal, accomplished in a deteriorating leasing market.

Transaction Management – Yancoal

February 28th, 2019 Posted by 0 thoughts on “Transaction Management – Yancoal”

Transaction Management

1,850 sqm Head Office Relocation



During 2017, ASX listed Yancoal Australia, the country’s largest pure coal producer, employing 4,000 people, had undergone a significant M&A driven expansion.

The Group’s head office lease at 363 George Street, Sydney was due to expire in mid-2018. At the time, the decline in the prime office vacancy rate for the Sydney CBD had begun to accelerate rapidly with available large options in Premium and A Grade buildings, in very short supply.

our client’s need

Yancoal engaged Counsel as Tenant Representative to provide a “Stay vs Go” analysis, and to identify potential new premises solutions if required.

Our analysis demonstrated that Yancoal would be able to reduce its footprint by between 15-20% and, subject to being highly responsive and acting quickly, it would achieve the optimum financial outcome by moving to a similar or better quality building and in addition, achieve the benefit of providing existing and new employees with a brand new, bespoke fitout. The existing fitout had started to show signs of significant wear.

our approach

Achieving the targeted financial outcome was highly dependant on careful cost control including real estate costs (eg rent), fitout and other costs. We recommended the appointment of a skilled designer (Hammond Studio) and a highly experienced project manager (Generate Property), who would manage the tender of the construction contract. Based on our experience, the early appointment of a skilled and cohesive project team added significant value during the building selection process.

After further developing the project brief, we used our propriety database of landlords and leasing agents active in the Sydney CBD, to start a competitive market search.

After receiving financial proposals, undertaking extensive comparative modelling and engaging in negotiation with various landlords, Yancoal accepted our recommendation and executed heads of agreement over approximately 1,850 sqm at Darling Park 2, Sydney, all within five weeks of our initial appointment. We worked closely with Yancoal’s legal representatives and co-ordinated the negotiation and execution of a lease shortly thereafter.

our value

Nine months after our appointment, Yancoal moved into its new office in April 2018. The project team recommended by Counsel achieved an outstanding result by delivering a high-quality bespoke fitout, on time and on budget.

Compared with exercising its option for a further lease term at 363 George Street, our analysis indicated that Yancoal saved several million dollars.

Transaction Management & Tenant Representation – SCSG

February 28th, 2019 Posted by 0 thoughts on “Transaction Management & Tenant Representation – SCSG”

Transaction Management & Tenant Representation

7,000 sqm Relocation

Sydney Cricket & Sports Grounds


In early 2018, the NSW State Government decided to proceed with a $728 million redevelopment of Sydney’s Allianz Stadium at Moore Park, commencing January 2019.

As a result, the Sydney Cricket & Sports Grounds (SCSG), which manages the Stadium, the Sydney Cricket Ground and surrounding lands, was required to provide vacant possession by no later than the end of 2018, approximately 9 months time. Parts of the Stadium and surrounding buildings had been licenced to office, retail, food & beverage and sports-related users, including many of Australia’s premier sporting brands.

our client’s need

SCSG initially engaged Counsel as Tenant Representative to secure approximately 7,000 sqm of alternative space. Most of the organisations had highly specialised uses and this meant we needed to work in close co-operation with them to develop a comprehensive understanding of their business and specific requirements.

SCSG’s objectives were for the relocation to be cost-effective, not delay the stadium redevelopment and to maintain the existing and longstanding relationships with its partners. Due to the ongoing use of facilities on the SCSG’s land, securing alternative space as close as possible to the Stadium was also considered important.

our value

Counsel’s initial appointment as the SCSG’s Tenant Representative changed into a more comprehensive Transaction Management role.

With the project team, we developed specific space briefs for each of the occupiers. Using our database of landlords and leasing agents active in the Sydney and Sydney fringe, we conducted a market search and identified the available options, both on and off market. After assessing all the options against the SCSG’s criteria, the neighbouring Entertainment Quarter was determined to be the preferred location.

The Entertainment Centre represented a very convenient option but there was not sufficient space to accommodate all the users and some of the space on offer required significant adaptation to be “fit for purpose”.

We worked proactively with the project team to negotiate an agreement to relocate all the occupiers to various spaces at the Entertainment Quarter including the a purpose built 1,200 sqm demountable facility for the Sydney Roosters, the completely reversible fitout of a sensitive historical building, a highly specialised medical imaging facility, medical centre, large health centre, retail food & beverage outlet and other offices.

Vacant possession of all the stadium areas was secured before the end of December 2018 allowing demolition to commence on time, an essential requirement.

Tenant Representation – Mills Oakley

February 28th, 2019 Posted by 0 thoughts on “Tenant Representation – Mills Oakley”

Tenant Representation

5,600 sqm New Sydney Office Precommitment

Mills Oakley

our client’s need

In mid 2017, Mills Oakley’s rapid expansion into the top 10 of Australian law firms resulted in it outgrowing its Sydney office. To maintain its growth trajectory, Mills Oakley estimated it would need about 60% more A-grade office space in the Sydney CBD core by the end of 2018. The options were:

  • Secure additional, short term space close to 400 George St; or
  • Move to a new office of about 5,500 sqm on a long-term lease.


Mills Oakley’s four existing leases at 400 George Street over 3,600 sqm expired in 2022 (a further 5 years). During 2017, the decline in the vacancy rate for Sydney’s CBD office market began to accelerate rapidly. There were limited suitable alternative options for Mills Oakley and rents were rising rapidly while leasing incentives were shrinking quickly.

Typically, Mills Oakley does not use external real estate advisers and it had begun to consider alternative options, including Barrack Place, 151 Clarence Street, Sydney, a new office building being developed by its existing landlord, Investa Property Group (IPG). IPG had offered to lease Mills Oakley 5 floors in the new development, however, after more than a year, the parties had not been able to reach an agreement.

Mills Oakley engaged Counsel to consider all options including Barrack Place. The Firm had a conservative approach to real estate risk and would not accept an unmanaged position in relation to the existing lease tail. In addition, its internal financial modelling had determined strict limits on forward financial commitments.

In the prevailing market conditions, these limits were extremely challenging.

our approach

Counsel reviewed all alternative options from long term, whole office relocations to short term additional space, close to 400 George Street and provided Mills Oakley with a summary of its options.

We also reviewed Mills Oakley’s existing leases which included a capped market review in late 2017. and concluded that the capped market review represented an opportunity because it resulted in 5 years of below market rent in a market of short supply. The remaining lease term could be attractive to a third-party subtenant or to the landlord, given the potential for reversion.

We leveraged the value of competitive tension, by engaging directly with landlords who could offer, either a short or long term solutions for our client.

We also engaged directly with Investa in relation to the Barrack Place option. This option was attractive because it offered suitable, new office space within a block of Mills Oakley’s existing office, however, the commercial terms exceeded Mills Oakley’s limit substantially.

our value

After highly complex negotiations, Counsel finalised an agreement for lease on behalf of Mills Oakley for the lease of levels 7-12, Barrack Place (approximately 5,600 sqm).

On an adjusted basis, we negotiated savings of approximately $10.1 million (12%) over the term of the lease compared with the proposal at the time we were appointed and resolved the lease legacy at 400 George Street (approximately $15 mill), at no risk to Mills Oakley. The total cost was also approximately $3.75 million lower than Mills Oakley’s pre-determined, acceptable financial threshold.

Tenant Representation – Global Financial Service Group

February 25th, 2019 Posted by 0 thoughts on “Tenant Representation – Global Financial Service Group”

Tenant Representation

5,000 sqm National Support Centre 2018

our client’s need

During 2018, our client, a tier one, global financial services group had been developing a new business line which required functional, decentralised space, close to efficient commuter transport. In addition, it identified the need for a centre to support the Group’s national platform.

Initially, it was difficult to determine the precise area requirements and future headcount growth for both requirements. Both new facilities were considered urgent and needed to be operational within the next 6 months. The two requirements were unrelated and ostensibly, there was no need for collocation however if beneficial, they could be.

Our client initially engaged Counsel to procure suitable space for the first requirement and later, expanded the brief to include the national support centre.

our approach

We consulted with our client to develop an initial project brief. We provided an initial, high-level financial sensitivity analysis based on various Australian metropolitan city locations followed by requests for information (RFI’s) issued to our database of landlords and agents in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. We reported the initial responses to our client.

After the brief was refined to increase the area required and to exclude all locations except metropolitan Sydney, we reissued the RFI. We provided a shortlist recommendation based on financial and non-financial considerations after we received the revised responses.

our value

By applying the leverage we developed through our confidential, competitive search process, we negotiated a 5-year sublease on behalf of our client over approximately 5,000 sqm of A-Grade office space at Rhodes, Western Sydney with an expansion right of an additional 2,000 sqm. The commercial terms represented a substantial discount to the prevailing market terms.

In addition to the attractive commercial terms, the transaction included high quality, existing fitout which allowed the business to commence operation within 3 months of executing heads of agreement, a critical requirement.

In summary, as a result of this transaction, we were able to secure our client a saving of in excess of $12 million compared with the prevailing market metrics, over a 5-year lease term.

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