Steve Aitchison

Special Counsel

Qualifications: BA, GDip Legal Practice


In over 33 years in the profession, Steve has accumulated a wide range of skills and extensive experience in commercial law and in particular, in all aspects of real estate and property development.

Steve has acted for clients in both the private and public sectors (state and local government) in real estate transactions, development projects and PPPs. Steve’s experience includes preparing and advising on construction contracts, project delivery and operation agreements (including PPPs), development management agreements, joint ownership structures including joint venture agreements, trust deeds, unitholders and shareholders agreements and co-ownership agreements, as well as major real estate acquisitions and disposals. Steve also advises on Stamp duty and land tax which are often key issues in private sector transactions.

As property investors and developers well know, leases are a critical part of the equation because they deliver the income and the security that underpins the viability and growth of the investment. Over many years Steve has prepared and negotiated countless leases including ground leases, development leases and major commercial and retail leases.

Steve also has extensive experience in relation to financing property and development projects having acted for a mezzanine lender in the development sector and also represented a major private developer in relation to numerous construction funding deals as well as overall portfolio term facilities.

Steve has been recognised in The Best Lawyers in Australia in Real Property Law and Leasing Law for 2019 and 2020. His wide experience and knowledge of all aspects of the commercial real estate industry, and his commercial approach to getting the deal done, make him an indispensable asset to his clients.


  • Real property and development
    • Acting for the traders in relation to the relocation of Melbourne Wholesale fish markets, including negotiations with government bodies and with the private developer for construction and leasing of new facilities in West Melbourne.
    • Acting for the Victorian Department of Human Services in a major mixed public and private housing development in Broadmeadows including negotiations with the local council, the private developer and the not for profit operator of new aged care facilities .
    • Negotiation of development agreement and long term lease for a specialised galvanising facility integrated with specialist plant manufactured in Germany.
    • Representing ANZ as tenant in a purpose designed contact centre for ANZ in South Melbourne, with integrated fitout.
    • Acting for the developer in establishment of the Epworth Eastern hospital in Box Hill, with specialist fitout integrated with base build and leasing of adjoining medical centre.


    • Preparation and negotiation of design and construct contracts for Embassy apartments (Adelaide), 11 Exhibition Street and 460 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne and for Epworth Eastern in Box Hill and a wind farm in South Australia.
    • Preparation and negotiation of the construction management agreement for the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide.
    • Advising Spanish naval shipbuilder Navantia in relation to the contractual arrangements with the Australian Department of Defence for the delivery of two LHD (landing helicopter dock) vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.

    Property financing

    • Preparation of finance and security documents for a mezzanine lender for a number of commercial and residential development projects in the Melbourne metropolitan area, including subordination arrangements with senior lenders
    • Representing Cbus Property in relation to debt funding of a range of major commercial and residential development projects and the establishment of a club facility for a portfolio of real estate assets.
    • Representing the owner of a major residential development project on the refinancing of existing project debt and ongoing development finance.


    • Representing the State of Victoria in relation to the following PPP projects:
      • film and television studios in Docklands;
      • Royal Melbourne Showgrounds redevelopment.
    • Advising the Department of Primary Industries in relation to various aspects of the Biosciences Research Centre.
    • Providing various advices to private contractors and sub-contractors in various PPP projects in Victoria.