Barak Wrobel

Barak A. Wrobel


Barak Wrobel is an attorney in Holland & Knight's New York City office and a member of its Land Use Practice. Mr. Wrobel also is a regional co-chair of the firm's national Land Use and Government Team.

Mr. Wrobel has extensive experience appearing before and securing approvals from agencies and officials involved in the regulation of land in New York City, including the Department of Buildings, Department of City Planning, City Planning Commission, Board of Standards and Appeals, Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Economic Development Corporation, Empire State Development Corporation, New York City Law Department and New York City Housing Authority.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Wrobel served as a city planner and assistant general counsel to the New York City Department of City Planning and the City Planning Commission.

Representative Experience

  • Conducting zoning due diligence and analysis and issuance of zoning memorandum prior to acquisition of, developing or lending upon property, including identifying highest and best use of land and improvements
  • Appearing before city and state agencies, public authorities and elected officials involved in regulating and legislating the use and development of land with regard to a range of discretionary approvals necessary to facilitate the development of publicly and privately sponsored projects
  • Advising clients surrounding New York state and city environmental review regulations and procedures
  • Prosecuted applications involving changes to land that require review under New York City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), including for large-scale development special permits and zoning map amendments to allow for construction of new residential projects in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York neighborhoods of Brooklyn, the development of a 1.2 million-square-foot mixed-use development on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and the development of a 750,000-square-foot mixed-use development in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan
  • Prosecuted special permit applications before the City Planning Commission and City Council to reduce parking requirements applicable to existing buildings to facilitate new affordable housing developments, and to allow for floor area exemptions in connection with an automated parking facility within a new luxury condo development in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan
  • Represent developers and the state in connection with applications for changes to the City Map to facilitate the development of a film production studio in Brooklyn and new subway infrastructure improvements undertaken by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
  • Represented a developer before the Empire State Development Corporation with regard to the approval of a Land Use Improvement Project and General Project Plan allowing for the development of 35-acre surplus parcel of formerly state-owned land in the Bronx with approximately 2 million square feet of new medical office use
  • Successfully prosecuted various zoning authorizations and certifications allowing for development of waterfront property, changes to existing privately owned public spaces (POPS), outdoor cafes within existing plazas and new publicly accessible areas and District Improvement Bonuses in Hudson Yards in connection with a 4.3 million-square-foot office complex in the special district
  • Drafts and prosecutes zoning text amendments to facilitate development projects requiring modifications to the Zoning Resolution
  • Drafting and negotiating restrictive declarations, notices of certification, environmental disclosure documents and other legal instruments required in connection with approval of land use applications, large-scale development projects and to facilitate the implementation of environmental mitigation measures required in connection with the issuance of city and/or state discretionary entitlement approvals
  • Issuance and review of zoning opinions in connection with financing of development projects
  • Drafting and negotiating Zoning Lot Development Agreements involving the transfer of development rights, Declaration of Zoning Lot Restrictions, easements and license agreements and other documents necessary to facilitate assemblages and construction of real property
  • Obtained various approvals from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals, including a special permit to facilitate the construction of a new 137-unit building affordable to seniors in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, a variance to allow for the construction of a 21-unit supportive housing project in Astoria Queens and to allow for the completion of a 27-story hotel in East Midtown Manhattan following change in the zoning resolution requiring such use to obtain a special permit
  • Advise and represent a national retailer before the New York City Department of City Planning and Buildings surrounding compliance with and drafting rules pertaining to neighborhood level, last-mile micro-fulfillment delivery centers in New York City
  • Advise and represent a major landowner in connection with the city's Economic Development Plan and Rezoning of Downtown Far Rockaway and in connection with the formation of the Downtown Far Rockaway Business Improvement District
  • Represent a national solid waste and recycling service provider in the repositioning of 13 acres of waterfront land requiring multiple city and state approvals
  • Represent a developer in the acquisition, design and construction of various last-mile delivery distribution centers throughout Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx with a combined total of more than 2 million square feet
  • Experience working on city-wide policy initiatives, including zoning for sustainability (Zone Green and Carbon Neutrality), the New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP), the City Environmental Quality Review Technical Manual, drafting City Planning rules in order to bring greater predictability to timeframes surrounding city planning land use and environmental review and approval processes
  • Obtained Zoning Resolution Determinations (ZRD1) from the New York City Department of Buildings, including allowing for the development of building in Coney Island Brooklyn to include 300,000 square feet of additional zoning floor area, allowing for a new development in Brooklyn Heights to be constructed without the need for a new subway stairway, that prior large-scale residential development restrictions are not applicable to a development site in the Bronx, and to aggregate signage allowances along a super block development to allow for a large scale media screen to be located on the façade of commercial building in Hudson Yards
  • Draft and advise developers surrounding obtaining Mayoral Zoning Overrides in connection with publicly sponsored development projects, including with regard to a development of a 57-story tower located along the waterfront of Hunter's Point South in Queens, and multiple Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) projects throughout the city
  • Advising a client surrounding parkland alienation Public Trust Doctrine issues
  • Represent a global investment firm in its acquisition of a extensive portfolio of townhouses in Brooklyn and Queens

  • Served as member of the Stakeholders Group that provided feedback and recommendations to the New York City Building and Land Use Approval Streamlining Taskforce, which resulted in the publication of New York Mayor Eric Adams' "Get Stuff Built" Report
  • Served as member of Stakeholders Group that provided feedback and recommendations to the Department of City Planning surrounding City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality zoning text amendment
  • Served as member of Stakeholders Group that provided feedback and recommendations to the Department of City Planning Green Fast Track City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Type II rules
  • Department of City Planning Applicant Working Group member


  • 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
  • Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, Board Member, 2017-Present; Current Member
  • New York City Bar Association, Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee, Member, 2006-2014; Secretary, 2008-2011; Member, Class of 2017-2019; Chairperson, 2019-2022; Current Member
  • New York City Bar Association, Housing and Urban Development Committee, Member, 2014-2017
  • Department of City Planning Applicant Working Group, Member, 2017-2023; Current Member
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Land Use and Zoning Law, 2020, 2021
  • Lawyers Alliance Pro Bono Cornerstone Award, 2020
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2019, 2020


Speaking Engagements