Chris Wheeler

Chris Wheeler

Chris is the lead real estate, construction and infrastructure partner in the Canberra office of King & Wood Mallesons, where he specialises in commercial, property and development projects as well as construction, planning and environment law. Chris has established a leading reputation in the business, government and education sectors, advising in relation to major property projects, innovative sustainability developments and commercial matters, participating in significant and complex transactions and conducting seminars on a variety of property, construction, leasing and planning and environment topics.

He and his team are renowned for their holistic and one-stop shop approach to their client's projects. They will often assist clients from the very early stages in strategising about the best options to take forward and structure projects, then following and carrying out all aspects of the project from birth to ultimate commercial maturity.

Chris has been involved in many significant and high profile developments (commercial, retail, residential, industrial, infrastructure, mining) as well as major property acquisitions and disposals.
Through his senior roles within the Property Council, the Law Society, the Green Building Council and as Chair of the KWM in the Community Board, he takes a leading role in representing the interests of the property, sustainable development, legal, community, education and other sectors in liaising with government and advocating policy and law reform.

He has twice been awarded the Property Council ACT Property Professional of the Year Award and has been listed as a leading individual in the areas of Construction/Infrastructure, Land Use & Zoning and Real Property in Best Lawyers.

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Recent matters

  • ANU Exchange - development of the ANU to the City precinct (designed for 4000 employees and 2000 students) including four student accommodation complexes (two as PPs including the first in the ACT) along with other various commercial projects and infrastructure
  • UC Campus Development Project - the multi-million dollar development of the UC Campus to maximise the potential of the University’s major asset including many individual projects located in a strategic part of north Canberra
  • UC Public Sub-Acute Hospital - creation of a new health precinct on the UC Campus with the centre piece being the $400 million ACT Government controlled sub-acute hospital
  • 121 Marcus Clarke - development and disposal of the ANU created 5 Green Star office building comprising 30,000m² and 600 car space public carpark
  • Canberra Centre/Central Canberra expansion project - the $1billion 250,000m² commercial and retail mixed use expansion of the Canberra Centre and new office and residential precinct
  • ACT Government Gungahlin Office Project - - the successful tender for and negotiation of the deals to provide the 10,000m² 5 Green Star new government office complex in Gungahlin
  • Nishi Development - the ground breaking 6 Green Star/8 NATHERS office, cinema, hotel and residential project (a project pioneering many green building initiatives including an extensive PV array)
  • Barrandi Centre - development of a 15,000m² 5 Green Star rated office showcasing many innovative green building principles
  • National Green Lease Handbook - preparation and release of a detailed and comprehensive guide for lawyers and property practitioners including detailed analysis of the relevant tools, types of green leases and risks. This was a project of the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change
  • Edmund Barton Building - re-development, leasing and disposal of $250 million AFP Headquarters (4.5 Star NABERS) for Stockland
  • Section 63 - acquisition and planning of 200,000 m² development site for Leighton Properties and Mirvac including investigative work on the sustainable development options for the site and its various sub projects
  • QIC - $750 million 200,000m² mixed use development of section 56 Civic Canberra Centre Expansion Project (various 5 Star NABERS projects)
  • Colonial First State - development of new national green lease schedule for use across the whole of their national property portfolio
  • Googong Dam, Cotter Dam and Murrumbidgee to Googong projects- securing the long term lease over Googong Dam for the ACT and advising in relation to the establishment of the ACT’s new Cotter Dam and the Murrumbidgee to Googong pipeline project
  • AMP Office Trust - establishment of the $400 million listed property trust and its acquisition of six blue chip office buildings around Australia.


  • 2012: Member, KWM Partnership Board
  • 2010 - present: Chair, KWM in the Community Board
  • 2009 - present: Member, KWM Diversity Council
  • 2005 - present: Member, KWM partner admission committee
  • 2007 - 2013: Director, Canberra Glassworks Limited
  • 2007 - 2008: Member, ACT Government Territory Plan Review Taskforce
  • 2006 - 2012: Member, ACT Law Society Pro Bono Clearing House Management Committee
  • 2006 - 2007: Member, ACT Government Planning and Development Act Review Taskforce
  • 2002 - 2005: Member, Canberra Biennial Advisory Board
  • 2002 - present: Treasurer of the Property Council of Australia (ACT Division)
  • 2002 - present: Chair, Economic Development Committee of the Property Council of Australia (ACT Division)
  • 1998 - present: Member, Divisional Council of the Property Council of Australia (ACT Division)
  • ACT Government working party reviewing the commercial and retail leases code of practice
  • 1995 - present: Member, Property Law Committee of the ACT Law Society
  • 1995 - 2000: Member, Legal Education Committee of the ACT Law Society
  • 1995 - 2004: Member, Tenancy Code Committee of the ACT Law Society
  • Various sub-committees of the Property Council of Australia (ACT Division)
  • Convenor of the Continuing Professional Development Program, Canberra office
  • Vice President of the Australian National University Sports Council (1989-1998)
  • Director, 1996 Australian Universities Games Pty Limited
  • Director, Mallesons Stephen Jaques Superannuation trustee company (1994-1998)
  • Property Professional of the Year 2002 and 2006 - Property Council of Australia (ACT Division)
  • Listed as a leading individual in the areas of Construction/Infrastructure, Land Use & Zoning and Real Property in Best Lawyers 2012.


  • 2012: Member, KWM Partnership Board
  • 2010 - present: Chair, KWM in the Community Board
  • 1999 - Present: Partner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques/King & Wood Mallesons, Canberra
  • 1995 - 1998: Senior Associate, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Canberra
  • 1989 - 1995: Solicitor, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Canberra
  • 1988: Solicitor, Baker and McKenzie, Sydney
  • 1986: Bachelor of Laws (Hons), Australian National University
  • 1984: Bachelor of Economics, Australian National University.


Legal insights

The ACT Government announced on 1 September 2021 the introduction of the Leases (Commercial and Retail) COVID-19 Emergency Response Declaration 2021.

02 September 2021

From 10 to 13 August 2020, the Aged Care Royal Commission held hearings as part of an investigation into the response to COVID-19 in aged care homes across Australia.

02 October 2020

On 10 September 2020 the ACT Government announced the extension of the Leases (Commercial and Retail) COVID-19 Declaration 2020 to assist commercial tenants affected by the pandemic and experiencing...

15 September 2020

This article was written by Chris Wheeler and Lachlan Forrester. After much anticipation, the ACT Government has announced a new (and short-term) 50% remission to the Lease Variation...

26 June 2020

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