Land Use: New York

  • Holland & Knight's New York City Land Use Team has extensive experience counseling clients on all aspects of New York City development, including special permits, variances, landmarks, air rights, tax exemptions and incentives.
  • Our legal team also has one of New York City's most active affordable housing practices. We advise clients on how to make use of the Inclusionary Housing Program and other New York City, state and federal housing programs.
  • Our land use attorneys advise clients regarding zoning and entitlement issues for potential development sites, and perform due diligence for buyers and investors on land use issues.


With one of the most complex regulatory regimes in the country, development in New York City requires experienced and knowledgeable professionals to advise clients on how to bring a project to fruition. Clients have come to rely on the Holland & Knight New York Land Use Team's top-to-bottom understanding of the law, as well as its solid, ongoing relationships with elected officials, their aides and senior staff.

Members of our New York Land Use Team appear regularly before the New York City Planning Commission, the New York City Council, the Board of Standards and Appeals, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We also represent clients before other New York City agencies, including the Department of Buildings, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the Economic Development Corporation.

A Diverse Client Base

Our clients include major residential and commercial developers, property owners, hotel companies, lenders, investors, condominiums and co-ops, retailers and not-for-profit institutions, including schools, hospitals and religious organizations. We represent clients in a wide range of projects, from multi-building developments with millions of square feet to a single parcel or townhouse.

Broad Industry Know-How

Holland & Knight lawyers are not only highly experienced in addressing New York land use matters but also understand the business of development. Our team includes attorneys with prior business experience, as well as former senior New York City officials. Our New York Land Use attorneys are active in the industry in other important ways as well, as members of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), housing and zoning committees, and the board of directors for both the Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC) and the New York Housing Conference (NYHC).

Representative Engagements

The following are representative matters involving members of the Holland & Knight team:

  • prosecuting 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
  • prosecuted special permit applications before the City Planning Commission and City Council to reduce parking requirements applicable to existing buildings in order 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 Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) 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
  • represent 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
  • prosecuting zoning authorizations and certifications for various commercial and residential building owners allowing for development of waterfront property, changes to existing privately owned public spaces (POPS), and to allow outdoor cafes within existing plazas and new publicly accessible areas
  • secured 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 in connection with the Department of City Planning and Department of Buildings drafting and issuance of new rules pertaining to neighborhood level, last-mile micro-fulfillment delivery centers in New York City
  • represented a major landowner in Downtown Far Rockaway in connection with the Economic Development Corporation's Plan and Rezoning of Downtown Far Rockaway and in connection with the formation of the Downtown Far Rockaway Business Improvement District
  • 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
  • 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
  • securing all required land use approvals from the New York City Planning Commission and the New York City Council for the Riverside Center project – a 3 million-square-foot development on an 8-acre site on the Upper West Side of Manhattan
  • representing the Real Estate Board of New York on matters relating to the Section 421-a Program and the Affordable New York Housing Program
  • obtaining land use approvals from the New York City Planning Commission and New York City Council for a major national real estate company to develop a full block on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with approximately 1,000 dwelling units and three new high schools
  • representing a joint venture of two leading New York City affordable housing companies on the development of a full block in the East Harlem area of Manhattan
  • ongoing representation of a major real estate company on the development of a 4.5 million-square-foot, mixed-use project on the West Side of Manhattan
  • representing Yeshiva University on land use matters relating to its campus
  • spearheading the approvals for a $1 billion multi-agency, public-private partnership in the Halletts Point peninsula in Queens
  • prosecuting Board of Standards and Appeals variance applications that enabled the conversion and enlargement of three manufacturing buildings in Brooklyn's Fulton Ferry Historic District, as well as the conversion of a 70,000-square-foot warehouse to residential use
  • securing Landmarks Preservation Commission approval for the demolition of a non-contributing, low-rise structure and replacement with a 19-story, contemporary glass landmark building in Manhattan's Madison Square North Historic District
  • obtaining HPD approvals under New York City's Inclusionary Housing Program
  • providing land use due diligence work for construction lenders
  • representing buyers and sellers of development rights


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