Barak A. Wrobel

Senior Counsel
Barak A. Wrobel

Overview

Barak Wrobel is a New York attorney and member of Holland & Knight's Real Estate Practice and New York City Land Use Team. Mr. Wrobel's practice focuses on advising property owners, developers, lender, institutions and nonprofit organizations on a wide range of land use, zoning, regulatory and transactional matters affecting the development and use of real estate in New York City.

Mr. Wrobel has extensive experience with local, state and federal land use laws, planning policies, administrative processes, zoning restrictions and environmental review regulations. His practice includes regularly appearing on behalf of clients before governmental authorities responsible for approving development projects and land use entitlements, including the Department of Buildings, the Department of City Planning, the City Planning Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals, Housing Preservation & Development, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Empire State Development Corporation. He also appears on behalf of clients before local community boards and elected officials involved in the public review of land use applications and development proposals.

As a zoning and land use attorney, Mr. Wrobel works closely with architects, engineers, designers and environmental consultants to achieve coordinated results for clients. In connection with his land use and zoning practice, he regularly prepares analyses of real estate development potential, pursuant to zoning and other land use restrictions, to establish the highest value and best use of property for his clients. In addition, Mr. Wrobel drafts and negotiates restrictive declarations and other legal instruments required by government authorities in connection with approval of land use applications, entitlements and construction projects, and to facilitate the implementation of environmental mitigation measures. He also works on developments including affordable housing components.

Mr. Wrobel's land use practice includes preparing and prosecuting Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) applications. He has recently represented clients before the city toward the approval of ULURP applications allowing for the development of: a full block 1.2 million-square-foot mixed-use development on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; a full block 750,000-square-foot mixed-use development in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan; public access areas within the Special Hudson Yards District of Manhattan; and a special permit for an automated parking facility in SoHo. Mr. Wrobel also regularly prepares and obtains approvals for ministerial land use actions, such as public access area certifications.

In addition to his zoning and land use practice, Mr. Wrobel handles a variety of real estate transaction matters, including negotiating purchase and sale agreements, transfer of development rights, zoning lot development agreements (ZLDAs), zoning opinions and letters, easements agreements, ground leases, access agreements and construction contracts.

Prior to joining the firm in 2014, Mr. Wrobel served as a planner and attorney for the New York City Department of City Planning.

Experience

  • Won an appeal for our client to complete its 27-story hotel following an August 2017 Zoning Resolution amendment that requires hotels being built in the East Midtown area of Manhattan to obtain a special permit
  • Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Wrobel served as assistant general counsel to the New York City Department of City Planning and the City Planning Commission, where he also obtained valuable experience as a city planner in the department's Technical Review Division. During his service, Mr. Wrobel advised on a wide range of city and privately sponsored land use applications, including a number of large-scale, mixed-use projects with affordable housing components, zoning map and text amendments, special permits, authorizations and a variety of certifications and ministerial approvals necessary to facilitate developments. Mr. Wrobel gained a broad knowledge of the workings of city government, as well as a comprehensive understanding of New York City regulatory processes and administrative practices
  • As assistant general counsel, Mr. Wrobel worked on number of city-wide policy initiatives, including a number of city-sponsored text amendments such as Zone Green, contributed to the development of policies in the City's Waterfront Revitalization Program and revisions to the City Environmental Quality Review Technical Manual guidelines addressing climate change and sea level rise, and drafted city rules designed to streamline and shorten timeframes surrounding the City Planning land use and environmental review and approval process
  • Extensive experience drafting and negotiating provisions of restrictive declarations, easements, notices of certifications, memorandum of understanding, monitor agreements, permit notices, general project plans, scoping documents, environmental assessment statement and impact statements, zoning overrides, zoning lot development agreements, and other legal instruments and technical documents entered into or required in connection with private, city or state development projects in New York City
  • Regularly prepares and prosecutes applications for the grant of zoning map and text amendments, special permits, authorization and certifications from the City Planning Commission
  • Regularly appears before the Department of Buildings to obtain determinations of interpretations of zoning that facilitate client development projects

Credentials

Education
  • Brooklyn Law School, J.D.
  • Hunter College of the City University of New York, Master of Urban Planning
  • Western Washington University, B.A., Law & Diversity Program
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • New York
Memberships
  • Jewish Partisan Educational Fund, Board Member
  • New York City Bar Association – Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee, Member 2006-2014; Secretary 2008-2011; Member, Class of 2017-2019; Current Chairperson 
  • New York City Bar Association – Housing and Urban Development Committee, Member 2014-2017
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Land Use and Zoning Law, 2020

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News