Dennis R. Hughes is a real estate attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office and a member of the Mid-Atlantic Land Use Group. Mr. Hughes represents private developers, institutions, trade associations and individual landowners in matters involving land use, zoning, historic preservation, construction code and municipal law and regulation.

In the District of Columbia, Mr. Hughes has appeared before the Council of the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia Zoning Commission, the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA), the Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), the Office of Administrative Hearings, the Public Space Committee, the Old Georgetown Board, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission. He regularly consults with staff of these organizations as well as the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the Office of Planning, the Office of Attorney General, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Department of Energy and Environment.

Another active part of Mr. Hughes' practice is the documentation and processing of development credits and combined lot development allocations in the District of Columbia. He has been involved in the vesting and transfer of several million square feet of density across all quadrants of the District of Columbia.

Mr. Hughes counsels developer, institutional and government clients in multiple jurisdictions on matters related to federal historic preservation controls.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Hughes provided legal advocacy and archival research for the Historic Charleston Foundation in South Carolina and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation in Virginia. 

Representative Experience

  • Drafts and secures amendments to the District of Columbia Zoning Regulations and Map
  • Processes planned unit developments to allow development of apartment buildings, office  buildings, hotels, senior assisted-living, large-scale retail and institutional uses
  • Guides colleges, universities and public charter schools through the campus planning process
  • Prepares and analyzes formal opinions relating to zoning, building code and historic landmarking issues 
  • Negotiates development agreements, allocation of development agreements, development credits and combined lot development allocation, inclusionary zoning covenants, code-required easements and preservation easements

  • Qualified as an expert in architectural history by the District of Columbia's Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation and the Rockville, Maryland, Historic District Commission 
  • Counsels clients on matters involving federal historic preservation law, including the Section 106 review process and rehabilitation tax credits 

  • Processes street and alley closings, real estate tax abatements and exemptions, transfers of jurisdiction of property and honorary street namings before the District of Columbia Council
  • Has drafted proposed text of legislation and regulations implementing $10 million residential tax abatement program
  • Obtains code modification approvals to allow parking vault and above-grade projections into public space


  • Tulane University Law School, J.D., Certificate in Environmental Law, cum laude
  • Vanderbilt University, B.A., Political Science and History
  • University of Virginia, M.ArchH, Certificate in Historic Preservation
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • D.C. Bar's Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section
  • District of Columbia Building Industries Association
  • The L'Enfant Trust, Board of Trustees
  • Society of Architectural Historians
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • American Institute of Architects
  • D.C. Bar Pro Bono Community Economic Development Project
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Real Estate Law, 2018-2023


Speaking Engagements