Real Estate: Austria
THE FIRM Fielding the largest real estate department in Austria, Wolf Theiss has built a highly skilled and knowledgeable team, with strength at both partner and associate level. Interviewees praise the high standards and reliability of the firm, noting that its network is particularly useful for multi-jurisdictional transactions. Recent work includes advising Invesco Real Estate on the EUR170 million acquisition and refinancing of its portfolio of hotels in Germany and Austria, and assisting Novartis with the EUR30 million sale of a brownfield industrial site. It also supported McArthurGlen on the EUR50 million development of a designer outlet centre. Other clients include Abercrombie & Fitch and Vienna International Airport.
Sources say: "One of the best in Europe." "Truly wonderful. An extremely positive relationship."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Peter Oberlechner has a stellar reputation as a real estate lawyer. "I'd recommend him without reservation," says a satisfied client. "He is hard-working and provides good, solid advice," affirms another. He handles many large portfolio transactions. Managing partner Erik Steger is a key member of the team, acting for some of the firm's biggest client names. His knowledge of SEE proves invaluable to clients active in that region. Lothar Wachter concentrates on construction, leasing and contract matters, and also handles real estate transactions. Dieter Spranz's practice focuses almost exclusively on corporate real estate work. SIGNA is a client. Gabriele Etzl's clients appreciate that she always keeps them up to date on developments, and are impressed by her skill in negotiations. Retail and leases are her key areas.
THE FIRM Clients praise this team's ability to advise on all aspects of a deal, from start to finish. Besides working on transactions, the firm has been particularly busy giving ongoing advice to real estate clients, and handling restructuring and landlord and tenant matters. It recently advised Credit Suisse Asset Management on a real estate refinancing. Its largely international clientele further includes Geox and Julius Meinl. Key practitioner Birgit Harasser recently joined Brand Lang Wiederkehr.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Oskar Winkler now heads the firm's restructuring group, but still plays an active role in the real estate team. Clients feel confident in his abilities to handle complex transactions, and praise his communication skills.
THE FIRM Doralt Seist & Csoklich is considered one of the go-to firms for real estate work. Its long-established department draws upon years of experience to deliver top-quality advice. It represents buyers and sellers in negotiations, performs due diligence and draws up contracts and lease agreements. The firm has a strong roster of domestic clients and much expertise acting on deals across the CEE region, where it has cultivated close relationships with local firms. It also assists developers with any planning and zoning issues, and acts for clients in contentious proceedings.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Wilfried Seist is praised for providing advice that takes in the bigger picture as well as focusing on the real estate concern at hand. Interviewees describe him as "bright and open-minded" and appreciate the level of client care he gives.
THE FIRM This firm continues to win clients and act on large projects both domestically and globally. Interviewees note its strong partner involvement and quality of service. One area of specialisation is leases and tenancies, with international clients looking to be guided through the Austrian system. It advises Helvetia Insurance on corporate leases, and recently assisted it with the acquisition of an office building from IMMOFINANZ. It represented NH Hoteles and LHI Leasing in the EUR170 million sale of a hotel portfolio to Invesco Real Estate. Other clients include S-Immo and Bank Austria Real Invest. The practice covers building contracts, project development, litigation and real estate investment funds.
Sources say: "Provides comprehensive advice and viable solutions." "W ell established and well connected in the European real estate industry."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stefan Artner receives superlative praise for his abilities on complex cases and his "outstanding, brilliant mind." He often acts on real estate transactions across CEE/SEE.
THE FIRM KWR is the premier name in Austria for construction work, with a notable presence in other real estate matters as well. It represents a large proportion of the construction companies in the country and is particularly prominent in dispute resolution, acting for consortia as well as contractors. It recently assisted a client with a large building project in Prague and advised a developer on the construction of a new hotel building in Vienna. It also acted as arbitrator in a dispute over the billing for a construction project in Italy.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Georg Karasek "definitely leads in construction" according to interviewees, who also rate his prowess in litigation. He lectures and publishes on construction and contract law.
THE FIRM After several departures in recent years, this firm is beginning to regain its former standing in this practice area. It has a growing caseload, in particular on the transactional side. Highlights include representing Post Immobilien on the sale of several property portfolios. The team also advised Prologis on the construction of Austria's first logistics park, and assisted textile rental company Salesianer Miettex with the development of new production facilities. Other clients include real estate funds, insurance companies and private equity firms. Interviewees appreciate the high quality of partners across the firm's network of offices in CEE/SEE.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Lagler's transactional work earns him much acclaim. He has a focus on the CEE/SEE region and is described as a strong deal maker with a down-to-earth approach. Clients value Peter Madl for the reliable and calm demeanour he always presents, even when acting on complex and high-stakes deals.
THE FIRM This compact team remains busy with real estate work, assisting a variety of clients with all their property matters. Its strength is on the transactional side. The group advised VB Real Estate Services on the restructuring of a hotel project in Vienna and is assisting WindLandKraft with developing several wind parks across Austria. Further clients include Starbucks and IMMOFINANZ. As well as handling portfolio and M&A transactions the team covers construction matters, due diligence and tenancy issues.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Primarily known for his finance and capital markets work, Tibor Fabian is also seen as a safe pair of hands for real estate matters. Interviewees appreciate his straightforward, solution-oriented approach.
THE FIRM The team at this firm supports its loyal clientele on general real estate work as well as transactions. It has many German clients, including asset managers KGAL and Union Investment. The group is also active in construction, recently representing Zurich Group in a construction project in CEE. Showing the breadth of its work, the team assisted Arabian Asset Management with management and technical service agreements for a hotel in Dubai.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Vcelouch heads the team and has a focus on the construction side. He is adept at handling disputes in this area. Manfred Ton is heavily involved in the transactional side of real estate work. He also advises on leases and project development.
THE FIRM This firm has a markedly strong construction practice, acting for the likes of PORR, STRABAG and FCC. It recently assisted the latter two with projects in CEE. It is highly active in the retail and hotel sectors, with clients including Louis Vuitton, Hilton Hotels and Le Méridien Vienna. The team lately settled a construction dispute over the refurbishment of a luxury hotel, representing Bilfinger Berger. It further handles transactions, leases and real estate financing.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Head of department Nikolaus Weselik is the key contact for clients.
THE FIRM International clients turn to this team for advice on M&A and restructurings, and the financing of real estate deals. It also handles general real estate matters and litigation. The group has many clients in the leisure and retail industries, including H&M, Peek & Cloppenburg and Starwood Hotels. It represented the latter in the demerger of its joint venture with B&C and in negotiations over an operating agreement for a hotel. Other recent work includes land acquisition, the disposal of portfolios and property sales.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Zottl is known as a commercially astute practitioner who "knows all the main players in the Vienna real estate market."
THE FIRM This firm has built a substantial construction practice, often representing Polish and Russian clients in disputes. On real estate transactions, the team is in demand amongst Russian investors, international developers and domestic players. It advised Swarovski Optik on the sale of a production facility and purchase of a larger site. It also assisted a client on the EUR10 million sale of a building as part of insolvency proceedings. Other clients include STRABAG and S-Immo.
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Reliable, attentive and helpful," Alexander Patsch heads the department. His Russian and Polish language skills make him a popular choice for clients from those jurisdictions.
THE FIRM This Vienna firm is an established presence on the real estate market. Property management and development, tenancy and lease law, investment funds and land registry matters all fall within the team's remit. It also supports clients in litigation. Sources say the firm is particularly active in residential real estate. Clients appreciate the group's attentive handling of cases and partner availability.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Herbert Rainer is a respected figure, noted in particular for his expertise in tenancy law. Peers are confident in referring work to him if there are conflicts of interest: "I feel clients are in good hands with him."
THE FIRM This boutique, a spin-off from Schönherr, was only established in 2009 but is already a noted market presence. The team typically advises foreign real estate investors and funds. It covers a range of topics, from transactions, financing and project development to landlord and tenant law, construction and contracts.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Johannes Fuchs focuses on transactions, earning praise for his negotiating style and thorough approach. Gerhard Bock handles most of the firm's construction and tenancy mandates. He is also active in litigation.
THE FIRM This firm has been busy advising sellers on property transactions, but also regularly represents buyers. Recent work includes assisting Hypo Alpe Adria Bank with the sale of a shopping centre in Carinthia. Sources note the skill and commitment of the team.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alric Ofenheimer co-heads the real estate department. Clients appreciate his experience and knowledge, "uncomplicated communication style," and ability to get to the heart of the matter.
THE FIRM This firm is known for its litigation work, particularly in the construction sector. It mainly represents domestic clients, including developers, architects, civil engineers and construction companies. Besides its branches in Vienna and Innsbruck the firm has an office in Bratislava.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Hule is considered a tough opponent in court and has an "excellent legal mind," say sources.
THE FIRM This outfit wins praise from clients for its personal service and accessible lawyers. It focuses on advising developers, investors and funds on property deals. One big-name client is Bank Austria Real Invest Kapitalanlage, which it recently assisted with the acquisition of two historical properties in the Arsenal quarter of Vienna. It also represented ERSTE Immobilien KAG on the EUR40 million acquisition of a residential building, and advised the property management department of the government of Lower Austria on regulations. The team further assists with litigation, due diligence, contracts and tenancy law.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients appreciate Christian Marth's "quick, helpful, friendly" advice. He heads the department and is considered a "young and dynamic" lawyer with a great negotiating style.
THE FIRM With offices in Vienna, Linz, Wels and Graz, this firm offers an immediate service to clients across Austria. It handles all manner of real estate matters, from structuring real estate funds and property transactions to tenancy law, due diligence and litigation. Sources also note its strength in construction. The team recently advised a group of companies on the acquisition of facilities for the construction of waste management plants.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Immanuel Gerstner is the key contact for clients.
of Nemetschke Huber Koloseus Rechtsanwälte GmbH is a "big asset"
to their business, say clients. His skills and expertise, developed over a distinguished career, are important factors in choosing him for their real estate work. Sources note he has been particularly active in CEE of late. Wilhelm Schlein
of Dr Wilhelm Schlein Rechtsanwalt of Dr Wilhelm Schlein
of Dr Wilhelm Schlein Rechtsanwalt Rechtsanwalt is a noted figure in landlord and tenant litigation. He has many domestic clients, and peers often recommend him when conflicted. Birgit Harasser
recently joined BRAND Rechtsanwälte GmbH from DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach. She is highly valued by clients, who say they "can absolutely rely on her"
and praise her knowledge, skills and effectiveness in negotiations. Formerly employed at Jones Lang LaSalle, she is particularly strong in retail real estate.
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