Simon Crawford is shortlisted by every major Canadian and international legal guide, including Chambers Global, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Euromoney Expert Guide and Best Lawyers in Canada, as one of Canada's leading real estate lawyers, and is listed in the 2018 Lexpert ALM 500 comprehensive guide to Canada’s top legal talent, as one of the 500 most frequently recommended lawyers across Canada, in any ranked discipline, as determined by annual peer survey.
He is among a small handful of lawyers in Canada who are called upon regularly to lead and structure the country’s largest and most complex real estate bids and transactions, and has been a key advisor and strategist in developing, trading, financing, and tailoring the ownership and joint venture structures for many of the country's landmark office, commercial, retail, sports and entertainment, infrastructure and residential projects and portfolios.
"Simon Crawford is a highly respected lawyer with a broad commercial real estate practice. He has an excellent track record handling a range of high-profile mandates, including purchases and lending. Interviewees laud his solution-driven approach and say: 'He's creative and very responsive,' adding: 'He's excellent with clients.'"
In 2017, Simon was the lead advisor on transactions valued in excess of $4 Billion, including the acquisition of approximately $1.2 Billion in commercial mortgages from Home Capital/Home Trust. In 2016 he was the lead advisor in connection with the acquisition of one of Toronto’s landmark skyscrapers, Scotia Plaza. In 2015, he was the lead real estate advisor to a significant landlord group in connection with the insolvency proceedings related to Target Canada, the largest Canadian retail insolvency in recent history. Simon was featured in the September 2014 issue of Lexpert magazine as lead counsel to a consortium in respect of 2013's largest commercial real estate transaction, the acquisition of all Primaris Real Estate Investment Trust properties. In 2012 he acted as counsel to the purchaser of a $2 Billion industrial real estate portfolio comprised of more than 400 properties.
Simon advises many of Canada's most sophisticated real estate investors on private equity matters, fund formation, joint ventures, income trusts, the purchase and sale of real estate assets and real estate companies, property development, banking and mortgage lending, structured finance and asset securitization, corporate finance, mezzanine and participating debt structures, infrastructure, public/private partnerships, mortgage and loan servicing and enforcement, and on real estate issues in bankruptcy and insolvency.
In recent years, Simon has acted as senior advisor on some of Toronto’s more notable new developments and financings, including Cumberland Terrace, the Bay-Adelaide Centre, the Trump Tower, and the 75-storey Aura condominium project, which is currently the tallest residential building in Canada. Across the country, Simon has also acted on large portfolio transactions, including the acquisition and financing of ING's industrial portfolio and the privatization of both Atlas Cold Storage and Versacold.
"Simon Crawford is noted as an 'excellent lawyer' by sources, who go on to say: 'He's highly responsive, pragmatic as opposed to dogmatic, and helps to get things done.'"
Complementing Simon's real estate practice is extensive deal experience in public/private partnerships, the creation of pension-fund eligible investments, and the financing and trade of regulated facilities such as gaming, infrastructure healthcare and long-term care projects. In addition, Simon has acted for government or quasi-government interests, including most notably, as advisor to Waterfront Toronto in connection with the development of Toronto's waterfront lands.
Simon has represented clients in the financing or sale of a significant number of Canada's landmark office, commercial, entertainment and retail properties, including Toronto's 2 Bloor and Cumberland Terrace, Bay Adelaide Center, Trump Tower, Primaris Shopping Centre portfolio, Scotia Plaza, Brookfield Place, TD Centre and First Canadian Place, Montreal's Eaton Centre, Ottawa's Rideau Centre, Saskatchewan's Midtown Plaza and Calgary's Scotia Plaza and Palliser Square. Simon has also represented lenders or purchasers in connection with various sports and recreation facilities including in connection with the 2010 Olympic games, Toronto's Ricoh Centre and Niagara Falls Casino.
Simon is called upon regularly to moderate panels for the commercial real estate community, is a prolific writer and speaker on developments in real estate law, is a frequent lecturer for the Law Society of Upper Canada for the continuing education of the real estate bar.