Consultant - Property and Real Estate
Ross is one of New Zealand’s leading real estate lawyers. He brings more than 35 years’ experience to his diverse property practice with a focus on commercial property, forestry, agribusiness, and projects and development. Ross also provides expert advice to high net worth individuals and trustees on private wealth matters.
Known for his commercial and affable approach, Ross is ranked in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific Hall of Fame for Real Estate and Construction. He has been the principal legal adviser on some of New Zealand’s most significant land development and urban renewal projects.
Ross works on large-scale, complex, commercial property deals. He has advised on deals that have changed the dynamics of Auckland’s CBD, including the development of the Viaduct Basin, the Britomart precinct, Westpac’s Head Office in Britomart, and the PwC Tower in Commercial Bay. He advises major tenants in the commercial industrial sector on large, custom design and lease premises. He also assists with sales, purchases, and leases of shopping centres and mixed-use developments and sale and lease backs of portfolio properties. He regularly advises on the requirements of the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) in New Zealand.
Ross has extensive experience in forestry acquisition, divestment, and operation. He advises on various forestry ownership structures as well as matters relating to forestry operations, processing plants and wood supply contracts, OIO compliance and consents, Māori land issues, operational easements, and access rights. His expertise extends to the agribusiness sector. He has acted for vendors and purchasers of New Zealand vineyards, orchards, and vegetable growers and distributors, including in the context of receiverships and distressed sales.
Ross has a separate private wealth practice. He helps high net worth clients with the establishment of asset plans, succession planning, trusts, and wills. He also advises on enduring powers of attorney (EPAs), property sharing agreements, and resettlement of trusts. A trustee himself of many trusts of high net worth people, Ross is well placed to provide expert and empathetic advice to other trustees.
Passionate about his role in shaping New Zealand’s real estate landscape, Ross enjoys talking with his clients early on to help realise their visions in the most commercial and effective way. He collaborates with other experts within the firm to ensure that the full benefit of the project can be delivered.
Helping PwC secure anchor tenancy in Commercial Bay
Acting on the deal with Precinct Properties that saw PwC become the anchor tenant of Commercial Bay, the landmark 38-storey office tower in the Auckland CBD. This was one of the highest value office leasing transactions in Auckland in recent times.
Acquisition of one of NZ’s largest forestry estates
Advising OneFortyOne Plantations Holdings on its acquisition of 100% of the shares in Nelson Forests Limited from Nelson Properties Limited. The transaction involved complex property issues, as the deal comprised both freehold land and forestry rights from the Crown over land which is being returned to Māori pursuant to a redress settlement process.
Black Birch Vineyard acquisition
Advising TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture II LLC and Global Ag Properties II New Zealand Limited Partnership on the real estate aspects of the acquisition of one of New Zealand’s most iconic vineyards.
Balle Bros Group
Working with Balle Bros, one of New Zealand’s largest players in the agricultural sector, on a number of high-value and complex matters spanning a range of property issues as they continue to grow and diversify.
Transfer of settlement lands for Ngāti Tūwharetoa (BOP)
Acting on transfer of settlement lands subject to Crown Forestry Licence (CFL) and Forestry Rights to Harvard University Pension Fund (which is managed in New Zealand by Kaingaroa Timberlands Partnership) and other investors including Central North Iwi. Advice required addressing integrated forestry access network, wāhi tapu rights, and coordination with adjoining Ngāti Awa hapū.
Helping Westpac negotiate new Head Office premises
Acting for Westpac in negotiating its agreement to build and lease 18,000 square metres GFA for offices accommodating its new Head Office and Operations Centre in Office Towers in Britomart Precinct Auckland.
Private Wealth and Trusts
Acting for a number of high net worth individuals on confidential asset planning and trust matters. One example includes acting for a Trust with substantial landholdings that have been rezoned and developed over time. Advice included structuring the Trust to ensure alignment of outcomes between family, beneficiaries and succession rights.
- 1974, New Zealand
- LLB, University of Auckland
- Acquisition and Compensation Claims under the Public Works Act 1981
- Commercial Leasing
- Major Projects
- Overseas Investment
- Private Wealth
- Property Acquisitions and Disposals
- Property Development
- Recognised in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific's Hall of Fame - Real Estate and Construction
- Member of MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ internationally recognised Tier 1 Real Estate team, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific