"Property specialist Jon Smart, who has 'superb technical knowledge and a can-do attitude', assisted One Housing Group with the development and lease of a luxury care home in Chelmsford."
(The Legal 500, 2017)
Jon leads one of three large teams of commercial property lawyers in our Nottingham office and, as well as undertaking general commercial property work. He heads our National Care Team focusing on property, development and funding transactions in the private care homes market.
Jon’s specialisms are care home development, funding and sale and leaseback deals to major property funds. He is also an expert on general commercial property transactions for investors, developers, occupiers (including a number of major local and national occupiers including Eddie Stobart, One Housing Group and Raleigh Bikes) and major corporate lenders.
Since 2014, Jon has annually been named by The Legal 500 as a Leading Individual in Real Estate.
- Eddie Stobart’s purpose-built 420,000 square foot rail-connected distribution centre at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) and 300,000 new build facility at Carlisle Airport – and leasehold acquisition of their large Widnes Multimodal Port site with rail facility.
- Scotch Corner Designer Village – Jon is acting for the owner/developer on the development and pre-letting of this 92 unit, 250,000 square foot brand new designer outlet scheme.
- Baycroft/One Housing Group – forward funded agreement for development and 30 year leases with Frontier Estates for 4 large new luxury care homes with over 250 bedrooms. Jon closely advised Baycroft, new to the care home development and construction process, in their first deal with leading care home developers Frontier and Aviva fund.
Jon conducts numerous development transactions both for property developers and end-user owner occupiers and tenants.
- Jon acted for an off shore promoter in a complicated joint venture residential land deal comprising optioning and carefully timed conditional acquisition of greenfield land from 5 separate landowners and back – to-back disposal to major housebuilder for 7 figure sum with secured deferred payments both to some of the landowners and from the developer and promissory note solution for part of the price. Jon also ensured the exit from the complicated arrangements with the joint venture partner and other parties who had historic overage/ clawback rights and security over the various parcels of land.
- Acted for One Housing Group agreement for development and 35 year lease of brand new luxury 64 bedroom care home in Chelmsford, Essex, swiftly followed by an agreement for development and 30 year lease with Frontier Estates for 4 large new luxury care homes with over 250 bedrooms.
- Development and acquisition of brand new build 300,000 square feet warehouse and office accommodation at Stobart Air’s new airport development site. Full suite of construction contracts, appointments and warranties. Jon guided client and agents through complicated structure (there are four tiers of interest, the operational lease is a sub underlease and it was necessary to understand the funding leases structure above it and interrelationship with the rest of the airport site, including significant new junction and infrastructure works and associated statutory agreements.
Real Estate Finance
Jon leads one of three large teams of commercial property lawyers in the Firm’s Nottingham office. As well as undertaking significant property finance work for lenders and borrowers, he heads the Freeths National Care Team, focusing on development funding transactions in the private care homes market.
He acts for Lloyds Bank, Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank and RBS both on general property funding work and for their specialist healthcare teams. He also acts for Allied Irish Bank, Cambridge & Counties Bank and on the borrower side in banking/finance deals for property and care sector clients and leads a team conducting substantial sale and leaseback and other funding structures / transactions in the wider sense.
Jon has also recently led a successful pitch to represent new challenger Redwood Bank.
- Acting for Waterfield group on its £30 million plus refinancing and new facilities for all group entities to support a portfolio of circa £100,000,000. This demonstrated our continued support for this group, which has significant development proposals at Scotch Corner for a 90 unit out of town shopping centre at Scotch Corner, 600 houses and a village centre development at former RAF base in Nottingham and other substantial commercial property holdings in Sheffield, Kemble/ Cotswold airfield and Worcester Trade Park.
- Development funding for three new GP surgeries with community facilities. This involved complicated land assembly and security arrangements, pre-lets to GP surgeries, NHS, Pharmacies and local business, interplay with grant funding. Jon acted for Lloyds Bank in connection with the funding, property and construction aspects of the transaction.
Jon has always enjoyed working for an impressive occupier client base including Eddie Stobart, Raleigh and Ericsson. Work has included development and acquisition of brand new builds and acquisition of leasehold interest in multimodal port premises. Jon can guide his clients through complex processes.
- Jon was involved in the development and acquisition of a brand new build 300,000 square feet warehouse and office accommodation at Stobart Air’s new airport development site. This involved a full suite of construction contracts, appointments and warranties. It was the first unit on Carlisle airport estate, dependence on substantial junction and infrastructure works. This enhanced Eddie Stobart Limited’s multimodal logistics capabilities and enabled consolidation of and exit from smaller local depots which were inefficient. The investment (with client as tenant) was later sold for £17 million.
- Jon acted on the acquisition of leasehold interest in multimodal port premises in Widnes. The client had been occupying since the buy out from the main Stobart Group, but required to acquire formally the full leasehold interest. The site is huge and handles rail freight container cargo to/from ships and to/from trains which come into various railway platforms on the site. There are four huge cranes which were required to be transferred to the client as part of the deal. Co-ordinating all of the above required good working knowledge of rail connection agreements, background of the business sale and purchase agreement, cranes transfer and dealing with fund/landlord lawyers and two undertenants including a shipping company and biomass plant compound.
Jon heads the private care sector and client service teams for key operators/developers, LNT Group, Maria Mallaband, Country Court Care, Baycroft (part of One Housing) and healthcare teams at Lloyds, Yorkshire Bank and other lenders.
- Conditional development and funding for 66 bed care home in Birmingham for Country Court Care. There was an existing care home on the site and approximately half full with residents so the project needed to be handled sensitively and phased to allow for minimal disturbance and the successful relocation of the residents into the new home. Jon acted for Country Care in the development agreement with LNT Group and the funding agreement with Barclays Bank.
- Acquisition of brand new care home development in Tonbridge, Kent with occupational tenant on institutional lease, with full construction suite of documents. This was a major addition to the Target portfolio of care homes and added sensitivity because of insolvency of contractor part way through the build and developer direct step-in. Hundreds of thousands were saved in SDLT by virtue of share acquisition route. This was our first significant instruction from this new client.
- Acted for One Housing Group agreement for development and 35 year lease of brand new luxury 64 bedroom care home in Chelmsford, Essex, swiftly followed by an agreement for development and 30 year lease with Frontier Estates for 4 large new luxury care homes with over 250 bedrooms Jon closely advised a client new to the development and construction process and their first deal with leading care home developers CastleOak and Frontier.
- Development funding for three new GP surgeries with community facilities. This was a complicated land assembly and security arrangements, pre-lets to GP surgeries, NHS, Pharmacies and local business, interplay with grant funding. Jon acted for Lloyds Bank in connection with the funding, property and construction aspects of the transaction.
“On our recent care home development deal Jon quickly cut to the chase. He batted hard for us on points he’d helped identify mattered and didn’t dwell on others. Even the other party commented how pragmatic and good to deal with he is. Jon also looks for opportunities to put me in contact with his clients and contacts which shows he’s thinking of us more widely.”(Andrew Winstanley, Care Home Project Director, One Housing Group)
“Jon and his team at Freeths know this sector well and having used them in a former logistics role I knew they would deliver. Having been told that other deals on DIRFT had taken many months in legals, we were delighted that Jon helped us exchange this significant deal for the business in a few weeks.”(Rupert Nichols, Legal Director & Company Secretary, Eddie Stobart Limited)
“Freeths’ healthcare practice is praised for its ‘very proactive and can-do attitude’. It acts for a mix of public and private sector clients. Real estate expert Jon Smart heads the team.”(The Legal 500, 2016)
“Real estate specialist Jon Smart at Freeths is a key name for private sector healthcare.”(The Legal 500, 2015)
“The ‘technically excellent’ Jon Smart is a specialist on care home development and financing.”(The Legal 500, 2015)
“Freeths has a ‘wealth of healthcare expertise from a property and banking perspective’. It also has expertise in transactions in the care home sector. Jon Smart has ‘sector expertise’ and is ‘solution driven’.”(The Legal 500, 2014)
“Jon Smart never misses anything.”(The Legal 500, 2013)
“Freeths leverages its core property expertise to undertake transactional and development work in the care homes market for NHS and GP consortia. Team head Jon Smart ‘completes on schedule, without fuss’.”(The Legal 500, 2013)
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