Real Estate, Construction, Land
Over recent years, the legislative environment for doing real estate business in Ukraine substantially improved. According to the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2016” report Ukraine climbed to 83rd out of 189 economies, demonstrating sustainable improvement of business conditions for several years in a row.
State and local authorities are being reorganized and decentralized to make their operations more effective and business-oriented.
Substantial actions were taken to make registration of titles to real estate and land more investor-friendly, secure and less time-consuming. Starting from 13 December 2015, notaries are authorized to register title to any real estate and land (previously, they were authorized to register title to real estate that is the subject of the transaction being notarized by a notary).
Starting from January 1, 2015 all information on registered titles to real estate and land, including information on title holders, encumbrances affecting land, became open to the public and available online (previously such information was only available to title holders). Public access to information is also currently being implemented with regard to the land and town-planning cadastres. As a result, checks of titles and registration of titles/encumbrances over real property have become significantly more efficient and less bureaucratic.
The planning and construction sectors have also seen substantial developments. The majority of powers for supervision over these sectors have been transferred from state to local authorities and planning and construction permit procedures have been simplified and shortened. The procedure for obtaining title to state and municipal land for construction and other purposes is now based on the “one-stop-shop” principle.
Although Ukraine still suffers from corruption, weak judicial and law-enforcement systems, and an unstable political situation, having reviewed on-going legislative initiatives, we expect further simplification of land allocation, planning, construction, and permitting procedures for real property operations, as well as a general improvement in the conditions for carrying out real estate business in Ukraine.
Baker & McKenzie became an eminent hub for major international developers and investors, contractors, industrial players and financial institutions, active right across retail, industrial, and residential real estate matters. The Kiev office is a standing choice for embassies, international institutions and organizations in negotiating and structuring the purchase and/or leasing of their offices and residential premises. The team has an impressive portfolio of development and construction projects. Public clients include ArcelorMittal, Arricano, Auchan Ukraine, LSGI, McDonald’s Ukraine, Pegasus Prior. The practice is guided by two partners: Serhiy Piontkovsky, head of the real estate and construction practice group in Kiev, and Lina Nemchenko, dedicated to advice on structuring major office and shopping centre acquisitions, property development projects and various land-related transactions.
Known mostly as a transactional practice DLA Piper Ukraine enhanced its offering withreal estate litigation and commercial arbitration. The firm remains strong in retail leases, having advised Bomond Group on the long-term lease at TsUM, as well as having advised on prolonging the Dior lease in Kiev. In addition, in the past year the focus was on infrastructure and industrial projects. For example, the office supports a long-standing client, Leroy Merlin Ukraine, in its expansion in Ukraine. Other clients include Pfizer, McDonald’s Ukraine, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Bomond Group, BILLA, Syngenta, IFU (Investment Fund for Developing Countries), Oracle Corporation, Dufry International AG, Edelweiss Development LLC. Permanent practice head, partner Natalia Kochergina is the core figure in the firm and one of the most recognizeble people on the market.
Arzinger, a full service legal counsel with diverse real estate practice, advises on a broad array of investment issues, construction, property development and lease, land plots alienation and lease. The firm has a strong presence in the hospitality and retail sectors, mining and energy infrastructure. Foreign investors from a range of industries enlist the firm on real estate matters due to their entering the Ukrainian market. Managing partner and experienced practice head Timur Bondaryev is known as the firm’s key rainmaker.
With strong market support for eminent expertise in construction, Vasil Kisil & Partners remains among the most referenced teams. The firm renders on-going advice to Seven Hills, a Ukrainian branch of international real estate subdivision of BSG Investments — Scorpio Real Estate on its development projects in Ukraine. The landmark mandate of late included relocating production business from Crimea to other parts of Ukraine or Russia. Currently Andriy Stelmashchuk, managing partner, and Alexei Sluch, counsel, are active in corporate, commercial and administrative disputes; Oleg Alyoshin acts as a Ukrainian counsel in a high profile arbitration dispute related to the purchase and development of urban property. Alexander Borodkin, partner, is one of the key figures possessing broad expertise.
The real estate team of Dentons has expanded itslocal and international clientele, subsequently enhancing the scope of incoming instructions. The firm features ever growing cross-border capabilities. The Kiev team has an established position in hotels and leisure, being the preferred legal counsel for major international hotel chains; enjoys a steady workflow from the agrarian sector; and operates actively in development projects on broad instructions from Ukrainian and international developers. Real estate finance is another strong practice as the office is mandated by financing and restructuring work involving major international lenders. The sizeable 9-lawyer practice is headed by partner Myron Rabij, who is present in the Kiev and New York offices.
Apart from a wide range of transactional work, construction and lease of office buildings and shopping centres, Sayenko Kharenko has expanded its niche presence in retail and agrarian sectors. In 2015 the firm was active in a slew of construction projects. The key highlights include representing the interests of a large international retail group in several investment projects related to construction of trade centres in Kiev and Odessa. The team advised one of the leading FMCG companies on sale of one of its factories in Ukraine. Tackling its agricultural sector presence, the firm advises the Ukrainian Agricultural Council on a wide array of legal issues, including those related to land law. Under the guidance of litigation partner Sergey Pogrebnoy the firm represented a Ukrainian construction company in a number of disputes related to the ownership of interests in real properties and land. Counsels Konstantin Gribov and Andrii Zablotskyi have a primary focus on the real estate and agricultural areas, respectively. The comprehensive corporate projects are led by partners Vladimir Sayenko and Oleksandr Padalka.
With a profoundly strong corporate finance position on the market Avellum is a major player for transaction work in the sector with vivid focus on asset acquisitions and management. It often acts for real estate investors, agrarian holdings and business groups. As a prominent M&A counsel, the firm often advises on Ukrainian law in the framework of global deals. The team acted on the largest “asset deal” in the Ukrainian pharma sector — GSK/Novartis transactions where, among other things, it covered complex real estate issues related to the transfer of lease rights. Other landmark work is advising MHP S.A. in connection with a unique transaction on exchange of land assets in Voronezh Region of the Russian Federation for land assets in Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk Regions in Ukraine. Mykola Stetsenko, managing partner, is the main figure.
The mainstay of the highly-reputed Ukrainian legal market player Gramatskiy & Partners remains the construction area, including investment projects in infrastructure and public-private partnership, construction of residential and commercial premises, as well its subsequent servicing. The notable mainstay of the firm is rendering full legal support to Seven Hills in the construction of business park Aeroport City and residential complex Park Avenue. The firm advises City Capital Group on construction of the Garden Bay Resort and Business Park office complex. The team, as led by Mykhailo Soroka, defended the interests ofSeven Hills in a land lease dispute. The sizeable 12-lawyer practice team is led by its founder, president Ernest Gramatskiy, while the construction industry is handled by Iurii Zabiyaka.
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine is actively involved in the legal, financial and tax structuring of real estate transactions, acquisition deals, covering regulatory issues, ownership advice and handling disputes. An important feature of the practice is its cross-border capabilities. In particular, EPAP Ukraine advises Quinn Properties Ukraine, owner of the Leonardo Business Centre in downtown Kiev, across a spectrum of legal matters; a global pharmaceutical company on implementation of new leases; an international oil and gas company on potential establishment of a joint venture for an active retail business in Ukraine. The team is headed by partner Oleg Boichuk, who enjoys wide scope of discretion with respect to all aspects of the practice’s development; general supervision is vested with corporate and M&A partner Oksana Ilchenko. An Austrian lawyer, partner Ilona Zekely,contributes with herexperience of Europe and the CIS.
Asters advises investors and big multinationals, international organization on a wide range of real estate and land issues, including acquisition and lease, regulatory matters. The firm is especially active in office and commercial property fields. The firm advises PRADA Groupin connection with the operation of its first mono-brand boutique in Ukraine and Crossfit Ukraineregarding lease of various real estate objects in Kiev for the sport and recreational purposes. Roman Kostenko is the lead partner.
Ilyashev & Partners has a robust practice with notable mandates in traditionally strong litigation and increasingly active transactional scope of advice. The firm advises Ukrrichflot on registration of titles to real estate objects throughout Ukraine. It recently developed a contractual base for construction of residential and office premises in Kiev. With offices in Simferopol and Moscow, the firm’s workload is effected by the issue of Crimea. For example, the firm advises owners of shopping mall Meganom in Simferopol (Crimea) on the regulatory and tax effects of Russian annexation of Crimea, as well as on possible options for further operation and ownership of the shopping mall; and represented the Ukrainian subsidiary of METRO Cash & Carry on disposal and transfer of its real estate in Crimea in connection with annexation. A steady workflow of instructions is traditionally generated by the firm’s long-standing client Nadra Bank. As a top litigation practice, the firm rendered legal support in a court dispute over USD 400 million worth of construction loans granted by the BTA Bank (Kazakhstan). Partners, practice head, and managing partner Mikhail Ilyashev, are at the forefront of the firm.
CMS Cameron McKenna regularly acts on developments and construction projects,real estate and land assets transactions, financing and restructuring, lease. The Kiev office is the top legal counsel in the energy sector and picks up real estate and construction matters, as well as land law advice from energy and mining projects. Daniel Bilak, practice head and referenced for exceptional expertise practitioner, is the managing partner. Nataliya Kushniruk provides important input.
Law Offices of OMP has established positions in the agrarian sector, and is among the most visible legal counsels on transactions with land banks, including acquisitions and disputes. On the real estate front, the office was enlisted by private investors on purchase of development construction and industrial property. For example, the firm advised Eximed on the sale of a garment factory in Zhytomyr Region. The name of Mykola Orlov, partner, is highly recognized on the market.
Ukrainian law firm FCLEX expands its expertise in servicing projects of the large industrial clients and infrastructure development. The firm continued giving legal advice to Ferrexpo Erystovo Mining in the ambitious project — Ukraine’s first construction of slurry of a trans-regional scale (under previous estimates of about USD 500 million). Another current landmark project of the firm is the construction of the marine terminal on the Black Sea in Odessa and purchase of real estate complexes in the Horizon Park Business Center in the Ukrainian capital. The practice is led by partner Vyacheslav Kraglevych. The litigation team guided by partner Oleg Malinevskiy is known for a number of representations, in particular, acting for LLC Prisma Beta in disputes regarding a loan for the construction of Sky Mall and for the Ukrainian developer and owner of the shopping center Art Mall — Alakor City.
Extensive development of Integrites and arrival of the practice team from Gide Loyrette Nouel as led by Dr. Oleksiy Feliv in October 2015, became a crucial point for the practice’s development. The practice team is focused on a wide range of commercial real estate transactions, securing regulatory coverage, lease, and privatization. Additionally, the firm is active in real estate finance mandates and construction projects. The most known recent dispute highlight is representing BIONIC Hill in a domestic real estate litigation case against expropriation of private lands. The firm also delivers legal support to Vamed Engineering on issues to do with continuing and completing a construction object in Crimea.
The rapidly growing team of AEQUO is expanding the scope of its real estate and land advice. The portfolio features sophisticated projects arising from annexation and occupation. For example, the firm advised ATB Group, a major food retailer, on restructuring of real estate assets of company located in Crimea. The firm is also actively engaged in port infrastructure projects, and picked up projects from Illichivsk Grain Port LLC and TIS Group of Terminals. In its resent performance are matters related to corporate and M&A work, lease and high profile disputes. The projects are led by three partners, namely Denis Lysenko, Yulia Kyrpa and Anna Babych.
ANTIKA Law Firm is consistently dedicated to supporting complex construction projects and a broad range of land matters. It advised its long standing client AWT Bavaria on construction of the new BMW Importer and Dealership Center in Ukraine. This past year the firm added to its portfolio instruction from banks regarding foreclosure of the mortgage property and its sale. The team is supervised by partners Alexey Kot and Alexander Burtovoy.
Wolf Theiss cover real estate matters in terms of its corporate practice, performing construction finance and litigation. The office advised AMIC Energy Management GmbH on the contemplated acquisition of Lukoil Ukraine’s assets and business in Ukraine, which make up one of the largest petrol station chains operated under the LUKOIL brand. Another highlight is advising Factor Banka d.d., a Slovenian bank, on the security arrangements of a financing extended to a Ukrainian borrower for a construction project. Taras Dumych, managing partner, is the main contact.
Alexandrov & Partners is known for its wide offering for agrarian sector and specific land law advice. The teamadvised a foreign investor, the Resilient group of companies on an alternative to land plots acquisition — emphyteusis contractual package. On the controversy side, the team acted for Trigon Agri on prolonging land lease agreements. Partners Oksana Kryzhanivska and Dmytro Alexandrov are both deeply involved in the practice.
The increasingly active Spenser & Kauffmann law firm is involved in changing asset structure, including land plots and other real property. The anchor client UkrAvto Corporation instructed the practice team on structuring agreements. The firm’s reports on the total value of real estate assets (including land lease rights), restructured for investment and debt finance purposes, exceeded USD 300 million. The firm also advised BS Group, Bangladeshin connection with the purchase of land plots in Kiev for hotel construction. Partner, Aleksandra Fedotova, co-heads the real estate and construction, and banking and finance practices.
International Legal Center EUCON has an active litigation practice group rendering property cases and commercial disputes. The Consulate General of Poland in Lviv is among standing clients. Plastics-Ukraine, LLC was advised on real estate property acquisition via electronic auction. Tetiana Samsina, senior partner, is the primary contact for clients. The former scientific counsel of the firm, Anatoliy Miroshnichenko, left the practice after being elected to the High Council of Justice.
Jurimex Law Firm focused its practice on infrastructure and construction projects. The team provided support to the State agency of automobile roads of Ukraine (Ukravtodor) on the concession tender for the construction and operation of the Lviv — Krakovets highway. The firm advised a contruction company on its participation in the public tender (Oman) and structured the deal in a turnkey contract. Land law advisory, transactional work and litigation are part of the firm’s remit. The main figure at present is honorary president Danylo Getmantsev.
AstapovLawyers* international law group covers real estate aspects in terms of extensive corporate and M&A practice and frequently advises on asset deals. In a recent highlight the firm was engaged in residential and industrial construction projects. Foreign investors and developers, retailers and banks are among its client mainstay. Corporate and M&A partner Oleh Malskyy is the main contact for clients.
In 2015 KPMG Ukraine was focused on corporate and business restructuring and commercial litigation. The team represented a large real estate developer on litigation defense strategies to protect a client’s lease right to land plot in Kiev and advised a bank on certain feasible options to manage is commercial real estate portfolio. Tetiana Zamorska and Yuriy Katser are the primary contacts.
WTS Tax Legal Consulting has a stable workflow of land title registration for construction, preparing construction permit documents and agreements, construction financing, and dispute representation. Land law advice is substantial for its projects. Maxim Oleksiyuk, partner, heads the practice.
Konnov & Sozanovsky is traditionally entrusted for real estate transactions. The firm recently supported a state, a foreign investor, on the sale of residential premises. Leonid Gorshenin is the key practitioner.
Lavrynovych & Partners demonstrates a strong stay in litigation. Its recent caseload includes disputes on property rights controversies, asset recovery and administrative appeals. Acquisitions of commercial property are also part of the firm’s remit. Stanislav Skrypnyck and Andriy Moroz are the primary contacts.
Lexwell & Partners is enlisted by foreign investors and comprise expertise in construction, lease, land allocation, administrative disputes. The firm advised a foreign investor on construction reconciliation and land allocation procedures for purposes of rebuilding. Toyota Ukraine, one of the firm’s established clients, is advised on lease matters. Igor Nagai is the main contact.
IMG Partners advises on different types of real estate transactions, and is engaged in development projects on residential and commercial property areas. The firm advises the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran’s Ministry of Commerce during negotiations concerning construction of a large residential and commercial complex in Kharkov. A significant part of work relates to disputes. Olena Shtogryn is the lead partner.
In 2015 NOBLES, a Ukrainian law firm, showcases a number of remarkable dispute assignments. For example, the firm rendered dispute resolution support to construction company LLENTAB against claims from a Ukrainian customer with regard to a construction project located in Crimea. Alexander Weigelt, partner, is the practice head.
Law Firm Dynasty, a Dnepropetrovsk-based law firm with a Kiev office, is mostly known for its litigation work. The firm recently acted in a dispute on recovery of investments and losses in the form of lost profits from the sale of real estate, and acted in a number of land disputes. Partners Denys Mirgorodskiy, Evgeniy Smiyuha and Vyacheslav Kohlyakov are the main contacts on relevant matters.
The Dnepropetrovsk-based BLISS law firm renders legal advice on the leasing of land plots and subsequent litigation in the city and Dnepropetrovsk Region. Agro-Market is the main client of the team. Marina German, Iana Dragan, Olesia Paperniak, Stanislav Muha are the core practitioners.
Dmitrieva & Partners renders advice on rent, sale and purchase of objects, transactions, preparation and execution of contracts, legal expertise, land ownership rights, mortgage operations.