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Real Estate Development and Construction

K&L Gates has extensive experience in all areas of real estate law and transactions, and handles matters related to each phase of real estate development. We represent developers, landowners, equity investors, and institutions in every type of matter involving real estate assets.

Our lawyers have extensive experience in property acquisitions and dispositions, real estate financing, securities, and tax implications relating to the ownership and operation of real estate, entity selection, environmental compliance, and land use and zoning regulations.

The scope of our services includes:

  • Assemblage of multiple parcels and acquisition of both improved and unimproved properties.
  • Acquisitions, sales, exchanges (including Section 1031 exchanges), and other dispositions of income-producing properties, undeveloped land, and other interests in real property.
  • Real estate development, beginning with contracting for or optioning of raw land, tax analysis, and assistance with all other aspects of development, including governmental permits and approvals, subdivision, land use and zoning matters, environmental compliance, complicated titling (including strata) arrangements, construction contracts, and leasing and management agreements.
  • Entity selection, including development partnerships, joint ventures, limited liability companies, grantor trusts, and other types of holding and operational entities.
  • Private and public syndications involving real estate assets, including real estate investment trusts and other types of securities offerings.
  • Sale-leaseback transactions, master leases, synthetic leases, long-term ground leases, and other lease transactions from both the landlord and tenant perspectives.
  • Representation of owners, developers, and municipalities in public-private real estate projects.
  • Mixed-use developments incorporating retail, residential, and commercial components in inner-city and suburban locations.
  • Lot development, federal and state interstate land sales, and other regulation relating to land sales.
  • Zoning, subdivision, adequate facilities, and other land use matters, including assistance in seeking rezoning, variances, special use permits, and changes in zoning ordinance interpretations from governmental authorities.
  • Assistance in a variety of matters involving state and local transportation departments, including condemnation actions and requests for roadway improvements and environmental and contamination issues.

areas of practice

Acquisitions and Dispositions

We regularly advise our clients on structuring, financing, investigating, and completing a wide variety of real estate acquisitions and dispositions. In addition to the legal aspects of an acquisition or disposition, we are able to advise and add value regarding negotiating tactics, strategy, and project management. Our understanding of the dynamics and practicalities of real estate transactions and the needs and expectations of our clients enables our team to provide a solution tailored to each client's specific circumstances and requirements. We also routinely advise clients on the tax and other implications of alternative transaction structures, cross-border and multi-jurisdictional investment transactions, and Sharia-compliant transactions.

Development and Construction

We have substantial experience in the development and construction of a variety of property types, including office buildings, retail and mixed-use developments, distribution centers, industrial plants, leisure developments, residential developments, retirement and assisted care centers, and medical and hospital facilities.

We always strive to tap the full spectrum of firm resources by integrating the experience of our real estate lawyers with that of lawyers in other practices, such as environmental, planning and zoning, entitlements, construction, energy, transportation, and litigation. We focus not only on traditional development issues and due diligence, but also on specific issues such as air quality, toxic mold, and owner-architect contractual issues.

Public-Private Partnerships

Public-private cooperation in infrastructure development has become more common as governments turn increasingly to public investment to help develop strategically important improvements and infrastructure and combat recessionary economic trends. Our lawyers have advised municipal and private sector clients in the formation and management of large and complex public/private joint ventures, including the development of major cultural and sport facilities and large-scale urban redevelopment programs throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia.

Our lawyers are intimately familiar with structuring, documenting, and implementing numerous public/private transactions, including exclusive negotiating rights agreements, participation agreements, development agreements, disposition and development agreements, operating agreements, reimbursement agreements, restrictive covenants, tax increment financing, and conditions of approval with municipalities and redevelopment agencies. 

We understand that effective land use representation requires both a thorough knowledge of the relevant legal, intergovernmental, and political environment, as well as a practical, results-oriented approach. We are knowledgeable and often active in business and local governmental affairs and have the breadth and depth of experience necessary to address the multitude of issues that can arise. We routinely provide strategic advice on permitting real estate developments; obtaining zoning, site plan, subdivision, and other required development approvals; negotiating and obtaining approval of complex development and vested rights agreements; advising clients on sustainability; and handling various other land use, planning, and zoning-related matters for domestic and international clients.

Land Use, Planning, and Zoning

We also negotiate, draft, and obtain approval of public/private partnership agreements that provide incentives for development and help finance infrastructure required for that development. When negotiations fail or when governmental entities seek to condemn our clients' property, our land use litigators have the experience and skills required to produce a favorable outcome in such disputes. 

Environmental Matters

We provide advice regarding a wide range of environmental issues, from compliance with government regulations to insurance coverage litigation to issues relating to toxic mold, contaminated land, and air quality. We take a practical approach to environmentally sensitive and tainted properties, focusing on mitigation of risks and coordinating with governmental agencies to obtain a practical resolution of potential environmental liability. Our lawyers have negotiated favorable remediation plans and consent orders with numerous environmental agencies. Our team of real estate and environmental lawyers has substantial experience in brownfields projects at complex industrial sites. We also have extensive experience in litigating environmental issues, such as representing parties in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act litigation, defending against Environment Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and local government orders, decisions, and citations; and defending clients in criminal cases involving alleged violations of environmental laws.

Eminent Domain

We represent property owners in the context of government condemnation and eminent domain and compulsory purchase. Our experience in this arena also includes claims for inverse condemnation and condemnation for rights-of-way and easements. The team represents clients whose property is being acquired for public works, negotiating and litigating claims for just compensation and compulsory purchase. We also represent municipalities in all phases of eminent domain and property acquisition for government-assisted housing and other development matters.

Hotel and Leisure

We have extensive experience in mergers, acquisitions, and financing in the hotel and leisure industry and also advise clients on hotel management contracts and licensing agreements, catering contracts, concession agreements, and other licensing. We have significant experience in securing planning permission and zoning for new hotels and expansions of existing hotel and leisure projects to provide additional accommodation for conferences, sports, and leisure and gaming facilities.

Mining, Timber, Minerals, Natural Gas, and Oil

K&L Gates has a long history of representing investors holding interests in natural gas and oil, timberlands, coal, and other mineral properties. We represent public utilities with respect to a variety of legal issues affecting their businesses, from regulatory proceedings to the development and exploitation of mineral holdings through drilling and mining activities. We also represent the deregulated affiliates of utility companies and regularly advise them on natural resource issues.

Real Estate Disputes and Litigation

In addition to our environmental litigation experience, we frequently represent landlords and tenants in connection with disputes and related litigation ranging from the applicability of exclusivity clauses and other restrictive covenants to economic defaults, as well as actions for ejectment, forfeiture and repossession, security of tenure issues, contested rent reviews, and service charge disputes.

We also represent both general partners and investors engaged in disputes involving securities law issues and alleged breaches of fiduciary duties. Our practice includes instituting or defending mortgage foreclosure, forfeiture, and enforcement actions. Further, we have settled or litigated numerous construction disputes on behalf of contractors, lenders, and owners. 

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