Chris Hunt is a leading real estate lawyer, specialising in advising corporate occupiers, with over 20 years' experience. Chris was made a partner in 2001.
Chris also leads Gowling WLG's retail and leisure sector team in the UK, which advises retail, leisure and hotel investors and operators in all legal areas relevant to their businesses.
Chris and his team help clients to acquire, dispose of and manage occupational real estate in an efficient, cost-effective way, by first building the best possible understanding of the strategic commercial drivers behind every transaction.
For many businesses, real estate is an important issue - in some cases, in the retail and leisure sectors, for example, it is strategically critical. Chris and his team work with clients across a number of sectors to understand the place of real estate in clients' businesses and advice is always given against that backdrop.
Much of Chris's work is in the retail sector and he has worked on a number of fast-paced acquisition and disposal programmes. Often Chris is working to meet and exceed acquisition targets set at senior level and announced to the stock exchange. Delivering on those programmes is at the heart of the client's business objectives.
Whilst Chris's main specialism is retail and leisure, where he has 20 years' experience, he also advises corporate occupiers in other sectors, including professional services firms, manufacturing and engineering companies. Because of the nature of real estate, Chris often finds himself working with like-minded professionals, whose focus is on extracting the most value out of real estate.
Chris's experience includes:
- advising a global retailer on over 200 store acqusitions in the UK
- acting on the sale of a number of manufacturing sites for an iconic consumer brand, for trade use and re-development
- advising the leading UK spectacles retailer on store acquisitions and re-locations in the UK
- advising on the sale and leaseback of the head office of a global engineering and project management consultancy business
- advising the newest retail bank on the high street on their store acquisition programme, from their inception, and on estate management issues
Chris advised a major coffee retailer in relation to the acquisition of over 150 stores in high street, shopping centre, retail park and travel hub locations. Along with his team he worked closely with the client's real estate professionals, acting as an extension of the in-house team. His focus on that relationship led to the best possible deals, done in the client's timescales.
He acted for the UK retailer Morrisons in relation to over 100 convenience store acquisitions. Morrisons used Chris and team because of its experience in fast-paced acquisition programmes, and the decision was rewarded with successful delivery against the client's targets.
Chris has worked for a number of retailers, including Crew Clothing, Fat Face and Poundland, on major store acquisitions. His experience in acquisition programmes has been key to winning such work.
He has advised on a number of hotel management agreements of iconic city centre hotels, both in the UK and abroad.
He advised a global sports brand in relation to store acquisitions and estate management in England and Wales. Chris's sector experience and experience in acting for substantial brands was important to the client when it was choosing the best law firm to work with.
He acted for new retail bank Metro Bank in store acquisitions across the south east of England. He was instrumental in formulating the client's standard approach to its real estate documents and thinking strategically about what the client may require in future.
He has been called on to advise substantial corporate occupiers, including Atkins, Mercedes-Benz, Premier Foods and Smiths News, in relation to distribution, manufacturing, office and retail space across England and Wales. That work includes acquisitions, disposals and estate management across all those types of real estate.