Our Real Estate Practice Group draws on a unique combination of institutional knowledge and cutting-edge models and mindsets – as well as years of seen-it-all experience – to deliver practical, creative legal services and strategies. Our lawyers provide a real-world understanding of our clients’ industries, their businesses and goals, the problems they encounter, and opportunities they hope to seize. We always give clients full access to our responsive and collaborative partners who lead lean teams of top-notch attorneys working efficiently to gain optimal results.
By collaborating closely with our colleagues, we augment our legal acumen with the know-how and experience of the lawyers in many of our firm’s practice groups, including Environmental, Corporate, Litigation, Tax, Trusts & Estates, Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Insolvency & Creditors’ Rights/Bankruptcy Transactions. Because of our firm’s tight-knit culture, our attorneys work together very well and that cooperation pays dividends that benefit our clients.
We apply our multidisciplinary skill sets to craft and implement innovative approaches in handling transactions, sales and acquisitions, mortgage and mezzanine loans, condemnation proceedings, landlord-tenant matters, joint ventures, stock sales, and corporate acquisitions. Our team represents private clients, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations in wide range of matters, including leasing, development, ownership, and management of commercial and residential real estate.
Why our experience is the right fit
More Than Just Assets, Real Estate Lives and Breathes
Our team fully understands that real estate means much more to our clients than an asset on their balance sheets. For a user, real estate is a key manufacturing facility, corporate headquarters, luxury hotel, or health care facility. For an owner or purchaser, it’s a source of revenue to meet budgets and generate profits, a property unlike any other that must be managed and protected. For a lender, it’s security. We see real estate in the same light and work hard to maximize and protect the value it brings to our client’s enterprise, whatever that may be.
Our attorneys also recognize that clients lie awake at night worrying about the vicissitudes of global and national economies, as well as the various markets within them, caused by recessions, wars, pandemics, wide-spread protests, natural disasters, and other disrupting events. We maintain mechanisms and resources that we activate quickly to help them navigate around and past the obstacles that manifest during these downward cycles.
Because of our group’s diverse collective experience, we bring a full spectrum of perspectives. Our lawyers have worked alongside C-suite leaders as well as in-house lawyers within corporate law departments. We’ve represented clients in state and federal courts, including appellate and state Supreme Courts, and before many different municipal boards. In the public service arena, we’ve held a variety of positions in state and local government.
Our team has partnered with a wide array of professionals, including appraisers, real estate developers, engineers, construction cost estimators, environmental consultants, and architects.
We’ve served on several real estate-related committees, including the Committee on Real Property Law of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; Construction Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; and Condemnation Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers’ Association.
While we work to meet the needs of a national and international client base, the members of our groups also focus on working with many New York City agencies, including the:
- Board of Standards and Appeals
- City Planning Commission
- Economic Development Corporation
- Department of Housing Preservation and Development
- Landmarks Preservation Commission
- Office of the Mayor
- New York City Council
Our Innovative Approach
Choosing Creative over Cookie-Cutter Ways of Working
Welcoming Innovation. We encourage our clients to open themselves up to the inventive spirit that sparks new ideas and enhances their organizations and, often, their communities as well; if they want to try something different, no matter how unorthodox it may seem initially, we do our best to determine how they can make that innovation work.
Simplifying Complexities. Some transactions for the tax-exempt organizations we represent involve joint ventures with private developers on the construction of office or condo buildings on these tax-exempt institutions’ land. With such deals come unique tax complications and other challenges, requiring us to forge new, creative ways to unravel the complexities and move the project forward.
Staying Right-Sized. We practice within a firm that consciously maintains the right number of attorneys so we can stay nimble enough to move quickly, demonstrate flexibility, and embrace innovative service-delivery models, alternative pricing arrangements, and proper staffing. We never overstaff a matter, always thinking of our clients’ budgets and bottom line, and we only raise those issues that are worth consideration and not those that slow down progress on a matter.
Clients retain and refer our real estate lawyers for our experience and knowledge in many areas, including:
Owners: Our attorneys represent some of the major landlords in Manhattan – institutions that are among our longest-standing clients – in negotiating and finalizing commercial office and retail leases and long-term ground leases. We have assisted these clients in major office leases to financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and The Bank of New York, in retail leases to leading chain operators such as CVS, and in long-term ground leases to real estate developers.
Tenants: Our leasing group has provided tenant representation to financial institutions and business corporations in some of the largest leasing transactions in the New York City area in recent years. We fully understand the special needs and interests of such clients, including uninterruptible power supplies and other back-up systems, leases of roof space for communications equipment, data centers and rights to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We negotiate “work letters” and other construction-related agreements. We also represent tax-exempt organizations in leases of health care facilities, day care centers and other such facilities. We also advocate for tenants in negotiations with New York State, New York City, and the State of New Jersey for tax abatements and other incentives regarding leasing transactions.
BUYING & SELLING
Our team members assist clients in buying and selling properties throughout the United States, with a focus on office, retail, and mixed-use buildings in Manhattan and elsewhere in the City of New York. We help close deals in the purchases and sales of actively managed office buildings, residential apartment complexes, retail portfolios, net-leased office buildings, joint venture transactions, air rights transfers, and transfers of controlling interests.
We represent both taxable and tax-exempt entities, advising them on the tax treatment of sales, acquisitions, joint ventures and financings. We handle tax-free exchanges and defeasance transactions and represent royally chartered entities in connection with real estate transactions.
REAL ESTATE FINANCING & DEVELOPMENT
We counsel clients on a wide range of real property development activity, including joint ventures, assemblages, obtaining subdivision and other regulatory approvals, ground leases and air rights transfers. In performing this work, many regulatory issues arise. For example, we deal with SEQRA and CEQR compliance and litigation, ULURP applications, franchises (including bridges across city streets), franchise renewals, and street demappings. We have represented lenders and borrowers in loans secured by interests in real property, including defeasance transactions.
Our practice includes the preparation of construction contracts, generally representing the owner, and construction access agreements between owners of adjoining properties. We separately represent owners (including a New York suburban county), contractors and subcontractors in connection with lien filings and discharges, Lien Law diversion of trust fund actions, and legal proceedings or arbitrations among owners, contractors and architects for breach of construction contracts and delay damages.
Our lawyers also assist clients that are constructing public infrastructure in obtaining access agreements, including drafting permanent and temporary easements and construction work permits and licenses.
With an active condemnation practice, we represent governmental entities in major condemnation matters. This work includes advice and representation in connection with governmental projects and proceedings, community and government relations, relocation of tenants, advice on litigation strategy and active prosecution of litigation.