M. James Spitzer

Partner

Overview

M. James Spitzer Jr. is a New York real estate attorney and a member of the firm's Real Estate practice. His clients include national real estate equity funds; hotel developers, owners and operators; and local, national and multinational developers and investors. During his extensive career, he has acted as lead counsel in a variety of complex transactions, including preferred equity investments and mezzanine loans, development and financing of hotels, hotel management agreements, leasing and joint ventures of food and beverage operations, the sale of a publicly traded REIT, the sale to an UPREIT of a multifamily portfolio owned by multiple partnerships and net lease transactions.

Representative clients and transactions include:

  • Clarion Partners (and its predecessor and affiliates) in preferred equity and mezzanine debt transactions, including for the development of luxury condominiums, multi-family rental buildings, office buildings
  • $400 million first mortgage and mezzanine loan financing of 24 multi-family properties located in several states for a major public corporation, entailing the reorganization of its ownership structure and resolution of numerous tax issues
  • Refinancing eight hotels in Manhattan for a combined $350 million for BD Hotels
  • $300 million redevelopment of a Manhattan hotel to a new apartment building, including reorganization of ownership entity, formation of a partnership with a developer, negotiation of partnership agreement, guaranty of development and development agreement
  • Acquisition of portfolio of land development projects from a public company and the debt and equity financing for purchase and future development activities, including a joint venture agreement with large investor, the syndication of general partner interests, and acquisition and development debt financing
  • Development of a pod-style hotel on New York's 42nd Street containing more than 650 rooms in a joint venture with two families that owned the land, as well as negotiation of the joint venture agreement and hotel management agreement
  • Leases and joint ventures for restaurants and bars operated by well-known chefs and operators, including the 22,000-square-foot TAO restaurant and lounge and 13,000-square-foot Mario Batali restaurant

Among the high-profile hotels that Mr. Spitzer has represented are the Mercer, Chambers, Maritime, Bowery and the Greenwich Hotels in New York. He represents his clients in acquisition of the properties, negotiation of joint venture structures for ownership and equity financing of the properties, negotiation of documents required in connection with the development/construction of the properties, and construction and permanent financing, including the closing of securitized debt on the properties. He also represents both the hotel operators and owners in negotiation of management agreements for the operation of the hotel and the owner/operators on franchise agreements.

Until 2001, Mr. Spitzer served as outside general counsel to a large, publicly traded Dutch real estate company where he was responsible for assembling, through a variety of partnership transactions, a U.S. real estate portfolio valued in excess of $800 million, comprised of commercial properties throughout the United States, and later for liquidating the portfolio.

From 1974 to 1988, Mr. Spitzer served as real estate counsel to U.S. affiliates of Lend Lease Corporation Limited and its founder Dick Dusseldorp in matters that included a shopping center REIT. From 1980 to 1990, he served as counsel to the U.S. affiliate of Haseko, a Japanese public company, which was a residential developer and syndicator.

Credentials

Education
  • New York University School of Law, LL.M.
  • Columbia University Law School, J.D.
  • Kenyon College, A.B.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • New York
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2016, 2018-2020
  • The Legal 500 USA, Real Estate & Construction: Real Estate, 2012

Publications

News