Drew & Napier’s Real Estate Practice is at the cutting edge of the property world.
Our team has overseen numerous high value and complex property transactions, and also regularly advises and acts in major real-estate disputes. As one of the most experienced real estate practices we simplify bureaucracy and adopt a straightforward and pragmatic approach.
Our lawyers offer personal yet professional service. We represent leading developers, corporate groups, statutory boards and financial institutions in real estate transactions involving residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
With our deep knowledge and experience, we deliver comprehensive advice on legal, compliance, and regulatory issues.
We provide a dedicated, first class service to our clients, who also benefit from the expertise offered by the firm’s many other specialists.
We set out below details of our involvement in specific areas of Real Estate.
Commercial and Industrial Property
The Real Estate Practice has an active industrial and commercial property division. We are involved in acquiring sites by tender, auction, private treaty, collective sale, and purchase. We are also involved in leasing property for mixed development, shopping centres, hotels and resorts, warehouses, and distribution centres. Clients include leading developers, corporations, financial institutions, statutory boards, foreign and local investors, and private individuals.
We also routinely act for receivers and mortgagees in their sale of real estate.
Real Estate Financing and Consumer Banking
Real estate financing and consumer banking are closely related to real estate practice. Our lawyers are highly skilled at structuring and advising on financing and refinancing facilities for real estate.
We act for private individuals and corporations in the sale, purchase, financing, and leasing of residential property. To complement our conveyancing and property practice, our lawyers prepare and execute wills and manage probate and the administration of estates.
We actively advise and act in a wide range of real-estate related disputes. They range from commercial landlord-tenant and MCST disputes, to complex collective sale, caveatable interest, property trust and title disputes involving novel questions of law. Our clients include major residential and commercial property developers, operators and owners of major shopping malls, private trusts, real estate agencies, high net worth individuals, and owners of major hotels.
As a leading practice, we are regularly involved with all matters pertaining to the real estate market.
In our more notable achievements we have:
- Acted for a limited liability partnership (with a Singapore listed REIT and an insurance company as its partners) in the acquisition (by way of a purchase and a contribution in kind) of a Grade A office building located in the prime central business district in Singapore with a transactional value of about S$1.18 billion.
- Acted for a consortium comprising KOP, Lian Beng, KSH and Centurion Global, in the $512 million acquisition of Prudential Tower, one of the largest commercial deals in 2014. Also advised on the joint venture agreement amongst the consortium.
- Acted in the acquisition and mortgage of dormitories for a transactional value of S$79 million.
- Acted in the S$85 million acquisition of a mixed residential/ commercial development with view of developing into service apartments.
- Acted for the landlord of the development Knightsbridge in its lease of its retail outlets.
- Acted for the landlord, Keppel Land International Ltd, in its lease of its office and commercial units.
- Acted for purchasers/sellers of Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) industrial property.
- Acted for the developer of CHIJMES, a conservation/restoration development featuring commercial and retail outlets and a monument.
- Developed new banking products for clients and drafted the accompanying credit and security documentation.
- Acted in the surrender of Bukit Timah Race Course and the Lease of Kranji Race Course and other lands. Tender of part of real estate portfolio of the British Government.
- Advised on real estate portfolio of the British Government.
- Represented a developer of mixed developments in their sale of the strata units.
- Handled legal work relating to combined commercial and residential development, including applications for approvals, subdivision, separate titles, and the preparation of sale and purchase agreements and leases.
- Advised and drafted all documents relating to the HDB Shoplease Financing Scheme when it was first launched.
- Drafted, advised and registered Memoranda of Mortgage and drafted standard Terms and Conditions governing secured loans for financial institutions.
- Drafted and advised on Statutory Vesting of Various Parcels of lands in Singapore.
- Represented Statutory Boards including Singapore Totalisator Board in transactions valued in excess of $3 billion and The Central Provident Fund Board.
- Acted in the acquisition and divestment of Land, Commercial, and Industrial Buildings by local and foreign companies, funds, and others including the acquisition by New Star Asset Management (Bermuda) Ltd in transactions valued in excess of $128 million.
- Participated in the enbloc purchase of condominiums for HPL Properties, Pontiac Land Group etc. in transactions valued at more than $439 million.
- Represented Foreign Governments and Monarchies including the British Government in transactions valued in excess of $50 million and the Malaysian royalty in transactions valued at more than $1 billion.
- Acted in the acquisition, divestment, and lease of industrial properties including JTC, Housing and Development Board and Ascendas. Also handled 'change of use' applications and negotiations including for a biomedical US Company in a transaction valued at more than $145 million.
Some of the contentious matters we have acted on include:
- Acted for a foreign public listed company in a US$3 billion dollar arbitration against a State Government for breach of a development agreement relating to the construction of a major waterfront project.
- Acted for a private land developer against a foreign state government and successfully recovered almost US$70 million in damages for breach of an agreement relating to a large-scale residential development.
- Successfully represented a Singapore property developer in resisting an application to expunge caveats, lodged pursuant to a verbal right of first refusal, for properties worth S$11 million. This was a landmark decision as it involved novel issues of caveatable interests in land.
- Successfully represented the sale committee of a strata title development, Regent Court, in its appeal against the Strata Titles Board, which had rejected the committee’s application for a proposed S$34 million collective sale.
- Successfully represented a purchaser of a $6.3 million Ardmore Park apartment in resisting an application to expunge its caveat lodged pursuant to a verbal option to purchase, where a signed option to purchase was not furnished to the purchaser.
- Successfully representing a purchaser in a S$5 million acquisition of a commercial shop house against the vendor (who resisted the purchase), including removal of a third party caveat, registration of court orders and completing the purchase with the assistance of the courts.
Asian Legal Business S.E. Asia Law Awards 2022
Drew & Napier named Real Estate Law Firm of the Year for the third time
The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
Real Estate 2023 – Top Tier for 23 consecutive years
Ho Soo Lih (4 consecutive years)
Lau Sok Hiang (4 consecutive years)
April Mak (2 consecutive years)
“The lawyers are very professional and careful; providing advice and in-depth opinions when complicated problems arise. Prompt responses with efficient work, having good understanding of our business.”
“Drew and Napier LLC are professional and their legal work is up to mark. In fact, they sometimes go above and beyond the routine to ensure that the legal matters are satisfactorily resolved for the client, even when it seems that the matter is a bit grey. They actually called up a contact in the government to clarify certain matters that were not in black and white. They are also responsive and will call the client back to update the progress.“
“The Drew team looks after the client’s best interests, very efficient and depth of knowledge in real estate transactions due to their experience in wide and varied types of transactions.”
“The real estate team is very thorough in their review of legal documents and able to distil key risks for the client. In a class of their own where it comes to looking after client interests and are also able to tap on other areas of practice to help clients where necessary.”
“Efficient and strong in their knowledge of conveyancing and real estate legal contracts. Get things done fast.”
Sources say that Drew’s Real Estate team “delivers on time and propose practical solutions”
“… the ‘very commercially minded’ real estate team at Drew & Napier LLC handles transactions involving commercial, residential and industrial properties for clients such as developers and corporates”
“Drew & Napier LLC is ‘renowned’ for real estate and construction, advising on the contentious and non-contentious aspects of construction, engineering and related insurance issues."
"Drew & Napier LLC has broad and deep expertise in both contentious and non-contentious real estate and construction matters.”
“Ho Soo Lih is outstanding. He does very detailed work, leaves no gap in the entire process, 24/7 prompt response on any issue, allows the client to get total confidence. A pleasure to work with him and their fees are quite reasonable.”
“Lau Sok Hiang listens to the client and takes time to explain the issues clearly. She is a joy to work with. Complex negotiations move along better with Sok Hiang around.”
“Lau Sok Hiang is very friendly and provided good legal advice on the matter at hand.”
Lau Sok Hiang is praised for her “depth of knowledge, customer engagement, and timely updates. Able to explain things clearly.”
Chambers Asia Pacific
Real Estate 2023 – Band 3 for 3 consecutive years
Real Estate 2020 – Noted Practitioner for 4 consecutive years
Drew & Napier's "services are consistently good and reliable".
A client admires the team's "prompt response and client care".
“The team takes a very commercial approach."
Real Estate 2023 – Highly recommended for 6 consecutive years
Notable Practitioner for Real Estate:
Lau Sok Hiang
“Full-service law firm that thinks outside the box. It understands commercial realities of the transactions because their partners also serve in industrial and business associations so they know how the law and business interact.”
“Very responsive and technically sound.”
“Creative and attentive to details.”
“Very detailed and able to distil the key issues for us.”
“Highly professional and efficient.”
“Sound legal strategy and strong implementation.”
“Ho Soo Lih is very responsive and communicative to clients.”
“Lau Sok Hiang is responsive, going extra miles to help the client, responsible and has a good approach.”
“Lau Sok Hiang has the ability to communicate the issues well to the client.”
“Lau Sok Hiang is creative and attentive to details.”
Lau Sok Hiang is “very professional and patient.”
Lau Sok Hiang is “very responsive and promptly comes up with problems solving.”
Lau Sok Hiang is commended to be “very responsive and customer-oriented. Able to get things done with little fuss. Knowledgeable about the subject matter”.
Lau Sok Hiang “helped us understand the various possible risks of the loan documents presented for signing, and provided us with recommendations to amend some aspects of the same documents”.
Benedict is praised for being “prompt, responsive, solutions-oriented, and knowledgeable.”
Sources say Benedict is “smart, intelligent, fast, efficient, on the ball, responsive, positive approach, hands-on, good team leader, simply excellent.”
Benedict “responds promptly, quality of work is good and conversant in Mandarin when necessary.”
The Straits Times - Singapore’s Best Law Firms 2022
Rated 4 stars for Real Estate law (Commercial Property, Construction, Funds) in the Singapore’s Best Law Firms 2022 survey by Singapore’s largest circulating broadsheet, The Straits Times, and international research company, Statista