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Steven Henderson, Partner

Steven Henderson


Head of Real Estate - Middle East



Practice areas

  • Corporate Real estate
  • Data centers
  • Hotel and Leisure
  • Real estate
  • Real estate development and regeneration
  • Real estate dispute resolution
  • Real estate finance
  • Real estate investment
  • Real estate litigation
  • Real estate planning
  • Real estate sector
  • Retail

Practice notes


Steven is a partner and head of our real estate and hospitality practice in the Middle East. He is a New Zealand and UK qualified lawyer who has been working in the Middle East since January 2006, building leading real estate practices in the region for both Clifford Chance and Baker McKenzie.

Steven has extensive real estate (including pre-lets, leasing, acquisitions, disposals), development and hotel related experience. He is ranked by Chambers (Band 1), Legal 500 (Leading Individual) and highly recommended by PLC Which Lawyer.

A selection of Steven’s experience prior to joining Eversheds Sutherland includes advising:


  • one of the world’s largest oil companies based in the UAE on its landmark and market leading US$5.5bn monetization of its real estate assets - the transaction involved modified sale and leaseback of the assets, adapted to work within the regulatory and foreign ownership restrictions in Abu Dhabi
  • one of the UAE’s leading real estate development companies on a joint venture with a large multinational ports owning and operating company headquartered in the UAE to undertake a AED26bn re-gentrification project of the Mona Rashid area within Dubai
  • one of the UAE’s leading real estate development companies in relation to the acquisition of a number of development plots within the newly reclaimed Dubai Harbour
  • a leading regional PE equity on the US$170m acquisition (and leaseback) of three leading schools in Dubai
  • a leading online delivery company on the lease and development of its cloud kitchens in Dubai as well as the roll out of leases for its delivery hubs in the UAE
  • a US Private Equity Firm on one of the largest asset portfolio acquisition deals in the UAE (US$1.4bn), undertaken as a hybrid acquisition and debt instrument that has a very novel investment and security structure created by Steven with the client and relevant regulators
  • a UAE Free Zone on a significant refinancing deal that included both conventional and Islamic debt which relies on innovative Islamic financing structure based on the underlying Real Assets of the Free Zone
  • a leading regional family-owned business on its joint venture with Emaar Properties to construct affordable housing in the Middle East - as part of the mandate, Steven sat on the Joint Task Force representing the client in relation to the feasibility and structure of the joint venture
  • a large UAE property development and management company on the first sale of a portfolio of mature real estate assets in Dubai, with an aggregate value of approx US$1bn
  • a boutique apartment-hotel hospitality company on its new 350+ room property in Downtown Dubai, operating under a unique model
  • a leading UAE family business in relation to its first hotel transaction in Dubai
  • advising an unsuccessful bidder (to an advanced stage of negotiations) on the acquisition of five luxury hotels in Dubai from Emaar PJSC
  • assisting a leading international hotels group on its joint venture with one of the leading Dubai-based property developers in relation to a new five-star 550+ key development in Dubai
  • a UAE Government Related Entity with its management agreements appointing MGM as operator of two new hotels in Dubai, an MGM and a Bellagio - the development also includes MGM branded residences, a museum, theatre, retail facilities and a large entertainment/adventure zone, bringing the 'Las Vegas' style resort to Dubai
  • one of the UAE’s leading real estate developers on its first nine hotel deals, including an Anantara and several brands operated by Marriott and Hilton properties