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Heather Picken

Phone: 905.452.6891
Fax: 905.451.5058
hpicken@lawrences.com

Heather chairs the firm’s Real Estate Group and is the co-managing partner of the firm. Her practice is focused on commercial real estate and real estate land development, especially for residential, commercial and industrial subdivisions and condominiums. She has an extensive practice in commercial, industrial and farm real estate purchases, sales and secured transactions, zoning and land use planning, real estate development and financing, joint ventures, real estate remedies and determination of real property rights. She is also a seasoned residential real estate practitioner, having completed thousands of purchases and sales over her career, with particular expertise in cottage transactions and family conveyancing and co-tenancy agreements between generations.

In Heather’s land development practice, she has represented large and experienced builders and land developers as well as business owners, entrepreneurs, and investors who are interested in developing land for the first time. She has guided clients from initial land acquisition, through official plan amendment and rezoning, severances, minor variance applications and site plan/subdivision plan or condominium application approvals. She is exceptionally skilled in coordinating the efforts of all the important contributors to the client’s development throughout the municipal planning process, including the surveyor, planner, architect, real estate agent, property manager and builder. She has appeared before Municipal Councils, Committees of Adjustment, the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the Ontario Municipal Board in the course of her land development practice. Her team approach to projects is organized, thorough, timely, and cost-effective for her clients.

Heather has completed numerous condominium development projects throughout the GTA, from land acquisition and disclosure document preparation, through the planning approvals process, to occupancy closings, condominium registration and final closings of units to purchasers. She has organized the first Boards of Directors for newly incorporated Condominium Corporations and completed the turnover meetings to them. She also advises many Condominium Corporations with their ongoing governance issues.

Heather also heads the firm’s leasing practice, specializing in commercial, industrial and shopping centre leasing for Landlords and Tenants. She is also a member of the firm’s Business Law Group, where she focuses on business acquisitions and sales and secured transactions.

Representative Work

  • Retained as outside real estate counsel for large Municipality, acting on the land assembly of private lands for a municipal parking facility, the acquisition of a property from a major bank for road/intersection improvements, the negotiation and completion of easements over private properties for municipal services, and the sale of surplus municipal lands for other institutional and private sector uses.
  • Acts for Hydro One Brampton (now Alectra Utilities Corporation), preparing easement documentation to secure access and maintenance rights for its utility lines located in Brampton.
  • Represents many Condominium Corporations, guiding Boards of Directors through governance issues including declaration and bylaw interpretation, lien enforcement and budgetary issues and interpretation of rights and obligations under the Condominium Act.
  • Completes sales, acquisitions, financing and leasing of properties throughout Ontario for large and small commercial, industrial and farm clients.In particular, for such clients, Heather has:
    • successfully negotiated and completed the sales of numerous farm properties to developers with significant negotiations entailing title and planning difficulties, financing, joint venture and profit sharing arrangements.
    • successfully negotiated and completed the purchase, sale, and financing of commercial and industrial properties as clients sell their businesses and purchase larger or smaller facilities.
    • negotiated and completed long and short-term leases for business operations in stand-alone properties and retail/commercial plazas, telecommunications towers and roof-top leases, pylon sign leases, and interpretation of lease provisions for landlords and tenants, including related enforcement proceedings.
  • Completes sales, acquisitions, financing and leasing of properties for many not-for-profit (NFP) organizations.NFPs can have particular governance issues and approvals processes, sometimes requiring extra time and attention and the formation of creative resolutions. In particular, for NFP clients Heather has:
    • successfully negotiated the relocation of one client’s facility with the municipality in which it was located. Funding was contributed by area developers and the municipality.
    • completed the purchase, sale and financing of numerous properties used for developmentally challenged adults and their families.
    • negotiated and completed the challenging sale of one client’s property to a developer, where a divided membership threatened completion of the sale.The file required an open and transparent approvals process and communication through the Board of Directors to the membership, with information to satisfy and defuse a simmering adversarial position, resulting in a sale for the benefit of all.
    • completed the legal work necessary to obtain the planning development approvals and the construction and financing of new church/temple facilities for three different religious institutions in the City of Brampton.
  • Acts for clients throughout the GTA in the development of commercial condominium shopping centres and industrial condominium projects that total over $100 million of investment.
  • Represents clients who have purchased and financed multi-tenant shopping centres in Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton, totalling an investment of over $75 million. Provides leasing services for clients with tenancies in these plazas, including the negotiation of leases with anchor tenants such as Tim Horton’s, Burger King, the Toronto-Dominion Bank and Imperial Oil.
  • Successfully negotiated and closed joint venture agreements for golf course developments, shopping centres and residential housing developments in Ontario.
  • Acted for many clients who have developed industrial and residential subdivisions in the Regional Municipalities of Peel, Halton, Muskoka and in the City of Toronto.

Affiliations

  • Canada Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Peel Law Association
  • The Canadian Condominium Institute

Involvement

  • Director of Hydro One Brampton Networks Inc. 2012-2015
  • Member of Property and Finance Committee, Hydro One Brampton Networks Inc., 2012-2014
  • Participant and Fundraiser, “The Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer”, 2012- 2014
  • Chair and Director, Stepping Out for Brampton Inc., 2011-2012
  • Director, William Osler Health Centre Foundation, 2011-2012
  • Chair and Director, William Osler Health Centre Foundation, 2009-2011
  • Member of Finance Committee, William Osler Health Centre Foundation, 2009-2011
  • Member, Mayor Susan Fennell’s Gala Event and Community Fund, 2008-2011
  • Vice-Chair and Director, William Osler Health Centre Foundation, 2000-2008
  • Governor, Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, 2001-2006
  • Vice-Chair, Board of Governors, Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, 2005-2006
  • Chair, Property and Finance Committee, Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, 2004-2005
  • Member, Executive Committee, Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, 2003-2006
  • Member, Economic Development Committee, City of Brampton, 2000-2001
  • President, Brampton Board of Trade, 1999–2000
  • Community Business Teacher, Junior Achievement of Peel, 1999–2000
  • Member, City of Brampton Downtown Brampton Task Force, 1998–2001
  • President-Elect, Brampton Board of Trade, 1998–1999
  • Vice-President of Policy, Brampton Board of Trade, 1997–1998
  • Director, Brampton Board of Trade, 1994–2001
  • President, Caledon Co-operative Nursery School, 1992
  • Executive Committee, Caledon Co-operative Nursery School, 1990–1993
  • United Way of Peel Fundraiser 1987–1993

Awards

  • Business Person of the Year Award, Brampton Board of Trade, 2016
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for volunteer work, 2013

Speaking/Teaching Engagements

  • Speaker at Junior Achievement of Peel, Rotary Club of Brampton, Progress Club of Brampton, Zonta, Brampton Real Estate Board, Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
  • Spoke at numerous community organizations on issues related to business, the economy, real estate and environmental law while President of the Brampton Board of Trade

Publications

  • “Commercial Leases: Getting Rid of the Nightmare Tenant", The Lawrences Letter, Fall 2015
  • "Disputes Over Boundary Trees: Who Owns That Tree?” The Lawrences Letter, Winter 2014.
  • “The Importance of Disclosure Documents in New Commercial Condominiums”, The Lawrences Letter, Winter 2013.
  • “Condo Conversion: Not Just for Apartments”, The Lawrences Letter, Fall 2011.
  • “Lawrences in Brampton: From Flower Town to Multicultural Metropolis”, The Lawrences Letter, Fall 2009.
  • “New Rules for Client Identification and Verification. Know your Client: It’s the Law,” with Michael Luchenski. The Lawrences Letter, Spring 2009.
  • “If Only We’d Thought of That: Negotiating a Commercial Lease”, The Lawrences Letter, Spring 2007.
  • “Title Fraud and Identity Theft: Have you sold or mortgaged your home without knowing it?” The Lawrences Letter, Winter 2007.
  • Monthly President’s Column, Trade Talks, Brampton Board of Trade, 1999 to 2000.
  • Monthly Column, President of the Brampton Board of Trade, Brampton Business Times, 1999 to 2000.
Sep 15, 2015 | Article

Commercial Leases: Getting Rid of the Nightmare Tenant

A landlord's commercial tenant is habitually late with rent, makes partial payments, fails to make required repairs, and causes disruption to other...

Dec 01, 2014 | Article

Disputes Over Boundary Trees: Who Owns That Tree?

The saying that “good fences make good neighbours” may not extend to trees after a recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice d...

Dec 01, 2013 | Article

The Importance of Disclosure Documents in New Commercial Condominiums

Whether you are developing a commercial condominium or buying a unit within one, the condominium’s disclosure documents require careful attention, since they describe important features of the proposed condominium. Disputes can arise if buyer and seller do not clearly understand their obligations.

Oct 01, 2011 | Article

Condo Conversion: Not Just for Apartments

Ten years ago, Paul purchased a Brampton strip plaza of 30 small commercial stores. At first, the plaza vacancy rate was low, but increasingly he has had to deal with defaulting tenants and maintenance issues. Paul would like to retire and has considered selling the plaza, but his real estate agent says it will be difficult to find a buyer in these economic times.

Oct 01, 2010 | Article

Notice to Farmers and Developers of Farm Lands: The Bobolink

The bobolink, an Ontario bird that nests in hayfields, has been added to the list of threatened species under a new regulation of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act that came into effect on September 28, 2010. Since the bobolink and its habitat are now protected, this has implications for farmers and developers of farm lands. There are substantial fines and even jail terms for contravening the Act by disturbing the birds’ habitat.

Oct 01, 2009 | Article

Lawrences in Brampton: From Flower Town to Multicultural Metropolis Part Two

When Bill joined his father in practice, the population of Brampton was around 15,000 people. The firm was located at 7 Main Street South, where Scotiabank now stands at Main and Queen Streets. The premises were very small and Bill’s office had no heat. Bill convinced his father that they had to find a larger office, so they bought a building and moved to the “country”–less than a block away!

Oct 01, 2009 | Article

Lawrences in Brampton: From Flower Town to Multicultural Metropolis Part One

When I think of Bill Lawrence, the word “mentor” immediately comes to mind. He has had a major impact on so many lawyers who have worked at Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP over the years since he joined his father’s firm in 1957. Bill’s example of skill, integrity, practical common sense and client service is one from which I have certainly benefited during my 22 years of practice.

Apr 01, 2009 | Article

New rules for client identification and verification

As a result of global concerns about fraud and money laundering, the federal government asked the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to create a national standard for client identification and verification, to safeguard law firm trust accounts.

Dec 01, 2007 | Article

Have you sold or mortgaged your home without knowing it? Part Two

Take these simple steps to help prevent identity theft and title fraud.

Dec 01, 2007 | Article

Have you sold or mortgaged your home without knowing it? Part One

Susan Lawrence of North York has owned her home for the past 30 years. Last summer she found that her identity had been stolen: the thief had transferred the title to her property to a third party and remortgaged her home for almost $300,000. When the mortgage went unpaid, the mortgage company sued Lawrence for possession of her home and won, although the decision is under appeal.

Apr 01, 2007 | Article

If Only We'd Thought of That: Negotiating a Commercial Lease

Mr. and Mrs. Old, the sole shareholders of Oldco, want to retire from their business to travel. They operate Oldco from leased premises and recently signed a new, 10-year lease in the company’s name. Mr. and Mrs. Old plan to sell all their shares in Oldco to Mr. and Mrs. New, who like the location of Oldco’s premises and the added benefit of a longterm lease.

News

Mar 06, 2017

Important Changes to the City of Toronto Land Transfer Tax

The City of Toronto has changed its Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) rate structure and rebate eligibility criteria and structure, effective March 1, 2017.

Nov 28, 2016

Important Changes to Land Transfer Tax

The Ontario government is making changes to the Land Transfer Tax that come into effect on January 1, 2017. Land Transfer Tax (LTT) is payable on ...

Mar 11, 2016

Heather Picken Named 2016 Business Person of the Year

Everyone at Lawrences was delighted when the Brampton Board of Trade recently named our co-managing partner, Heather Picken, as its Business Person of the Year for 2016.

There's no doubt in our minds that the work Heather Picken did to correct the title to our home, helped pave the way to closing a trouble-free transaction.  Thank you and best wishes for continuing success in solving real estate puzzles.   

Tom and Marilyn Brydges

Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP provided me with tremendous support, knowledge, and experience in handling the sale and dissolution of our corporation, and ultimately satisfying its 200 plus members.  I felt confident and had trust in the legal guidance and responses of Heather Picken and Michael Luchenski in handling the corporate and real estate issues at all times.  I can highly recommend this team to any corporation seeking similar legal services.

Bruce McClure
Peel Seed Co-operative Inc.
President

“Watson Properties Since 1879 Limited has had the pleasure of being a client of Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP since January 2013. More specifically, Watson Properties has worked directly with Ms. Heather M. Picken who is the Chair of the firm’s Real Estate Group.

The level of professionalism, dedication, hard work, and creative thinking that Ms. Picken uses on all of our real estate deals is a testament to the entire Real Estate Group at Lawrences. We have completed numerous deals very successfully due to Ms. Picken’s tenacity—everything from smaller one-off single properties, deal financing, leasing work, to an extremely complex deal involving 17 different parcels of land totalling over 1,000 acres sold to a single buyer that took more than a year to negotiate and complete.

We are extremely thrilled to have Ms. Picken as our sole real estate lawyer. This has allowed us to exercise efficiencies and cost savings, given that Ms. Picken can handle everything from acquisition to complex lease formulations through to dispositions.

Watson Properties has no reservations about recommending Ms. Picken and Lawrences as a whole. I would be happy to speak personally with anyone who would like to know more about how valuable they have been to me personally and to our Corporation.”

Cierra Watson
Watson Properties Since 1879 Limited
Executive Vice-President of Development and Acquisitions

“We have been dealing with Heather Picken for our commercial condo development project and some other real estate acquisition transactions. Her knowledge, professional advice, and approach to client service has made this a great experience for us. Her pragmatic approach to tackling issues and her experience in dealing with many complex transactions are definite assets for clients entering into any real estate or other transactions.”

Satish Thakkar
Airport & Lacoste Developments Inc.
President

© 2015 Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP

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43 Queen Street West, Brampton, ON, Canada L6Y 1L9
Telephone: 905.451.3040 Fax: 905.451.5058 Email: lls@lawrences.com

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