Real Estate Development


No matter the size or shape of your real estate project, our objective is to deliver effective legal advice and efficient business solutions combined with a distinctive client experience - each and every time.

Trusted real estate advisors

Canada's real estate developers turn to Gowling WLG's Real Estate Group for guidance on the complete life cycle of their development projects. A driving legal force in Canada's metropolitan centres, Gowling WLG is the go-to firm for developers looking for practical advice and forward-thinking solutions on commercial, residential, institutional, planned community, mixed-use, and condominium developments.

We understand the challenges associated with real estate development in Canada. Our team works closely with developers to mitigate risks, capitalize on opportunities, and advance projects efficiently and cost-effectively. Our national network of planners, surveyors, architects, engineers, and environmental consultants gives our clients a commercial edge, and assists them in the successful and timely completion of projects and transactions.

steps to real estate development acquisition, development, leasing and sales

From conception to completion

Our collaborative approach and in-depth experience ensures timely and efficient results that help drive projects forward. From conception to completion, Gowling WLG real estate lawyers tackle the full spectrum of legal challenges that arise during a project.


At the acquisition stage, clients trust in Gowling WLG to carry out due diligence, advise on perspective structures for ownership and establish structures and processes to ensure an efficient and cost-effective closing. These services include:​

  • Land acquisitions and/or assembly
  • Due diligence – title and off-title searches, contract, lease, and environmental due diligence review
  • Corporate structuring and tax advice
  • Cost-sharing agreements among developers
  • Purchase, project and/or construction financing
  • Ownership arrangements (limited partnerships, co-ownership, joint ventures, and PPP)


Once a development is underway, we work alongside clients to ensure each stage of the development process is seamless and smooth. We know this is where a development can be stalled or costs incurred get out of hand. We provide advice on project development, municipal/planning approval, environmental remediation, construction, and contract preparation. More specifically, this includes:​

  • Municipal, provincial, and federal development approvals and building permits
  • Subdivision planning
  • Site plan analysis and approvals
  • Zoning, rezoning, Ministerial Zoning Orders, Official Plan Amendments, variances, and severances
  • Brownfield development and remediation/risk assessment strategies
  • Construction contracts and other vendor/supplier agreements
  • Development management and project management
  • Plans of Condominium including by-laws, rules, and condominium declarations (freehold, leasehold, vacant land, strata, and common-element condominiums)
  • Easements and Shared Services Agreements
  • Transfers for easements, road widening, reserves, Parkland dedications and other requirements of approvals
  • Restrictive Covenants, reciprocal rights agreements, building schemes, and other property or project-specific matters

Leasing and Operations

Our professionals oversee the leasing, financing, and operational stage of a given project, including:

  • Leasehold and take-out financing
  • Landlord/tenant leases (ground, whole building, multi-tenant, sublease) and indemnifier agreements
  • Operating covenants and radius restrictions
  • Standardized leases for multi-tenanted projects or portfolios
  • Cost recovery, realty tax allocation, reporting obligations, risk allocation and insurance matters


When a real estate project is complete, clients look to Gowling WLG to prepare the necessary documents to conclude the sale of their entire project (or individual lots, blocks, or units) in a timely and cost-effective manner, including:​

  • Purchase, sale, and lease-back agreements
  • Standard form Agreements of Purchase and Sale for a development
  • Standardized closing packages for builder sales, lot/block sales, and condominium sales
  • Deposit Trustee for condominiums
  • Disclosure statements for purchasers
  • Closing of individual sites, lots/blocks, and condominiums
  • Options to purchase or rights of first refusal
  • Financing covenants for prepayment obligations/restrictions.

Experience across Canada

With offices across Canada, we offer clients market-leading solutions by leveraging the firm's know-how in tax, environmental law, corporate law, municipal planning, litigation, Indigenous law, construction, employment law, and financial services to advance our clients' development projects.

Real estate developers from a broad range of sectors trust us to manage their legal challenges. We offer advice on the full scope of real estate development matters, and work diligently to ensure clients can execute their latest development project.

Recent client highlights

Ask us how

Your strategic business objectives are important, no matter the size or scale of your real estate development project. Let's take the next step together.

Contact our Canadian team