Real Estate Development

  • Holland & Knight's national Real Estate Practice is one of the largest in the U.S., with nearly 300 lawyers in more than two dozen U.S. offices in most major gateway markets. Our attorneys have extensive experience advising on all aspects of real estate projects for our developer clients.
  • The firm's nationally recognized land use and zoning attorneys are an integral part of our Real Estate Development Team, ensuring a seamless transition from initial permitting and site analysis to financing, acquisition of property, construction and occupancy.
  • Our experience is visible in every major city and includes iconic projects across the country, including master-planned communities, student housing, industrial and warehouse space, mixed-use developments, hotels and resorts, affordable housing, office buildings, multifamily projects and specialized uses, such as fulfillment centers, data centers, stadiums and healthcare facilities.
Steel beams at construction site

Overview

Holland & Knight's Real Estate Development Team provides turnkey services to clients on all types of projects across the United States. We offer complete business cycle services to developers beginning with strategic analysis and due diligence for projects and sites, and extending to permitting, entity formation, financing, land acquisition, construction, leasing and sales.

Our current developer clients have a number of active projects with an aggregate value in the billions of dollars. The firm's real estate practice is among the largest in the U.S. with nearly 300 attorneys, dozens of whom are ranked by Chambers USA in real estate and related practices. The development group works seamlessly with other practices in the firm, including corporate services, construction litigation, tax, environmental, government relations and other resources that developers may need to remove roadblocks and proceed efficiently on projects.

Our Real Estate Development Team has national reach and local depth. We are a real estate powerhouse in every major U.S. market, including New York; Central and South Florida; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; Atlanta; Boston; Dallas; Austin; Houston; Denver; Northern Virginia; and Washington, D.C. In all of these markets and others, our attorneys have counseled on the development of major high-profile projects. However, our real estate practice is not location-centric. Many of our clients are active throughout the U.S., and we follow their projects and handle all of their needs, regardless of geography.

Holland & Knight continues to add real estate resources. Our 2021 merger with Texas-based Thompson & Knight substantially strengthened our already leading national practice and bolstered our real estate capital markets capabilities, greatly expanding our finance presence in the important New York market.

Our developer clients have seen an influx of cross-border investment over the past few years, and we position them to leverage these alternative funding sources, including investments through the EB-5 program. More than 20 of our real estate attorneys speak fluent Spanish or Mandarin, and we often represent Latin American, Asian and European investors placing money into U.S. property developments.

The broad geographic footprint and experience in every type of development enable us to advise clients on emerging risks and trends, and to provide in-depth and timely analysis of prospective projects. We are partners with our developer clients and take pride in our ability to be nimble and provide clients with market intelligence in a business where assessing risks and making quick decisions is critical to success.

Land Use and Zoning

Land use and zoning is an integral part of Holland & Knight's real estate development services. While some law firms must turn to specialty local land use firms to navigate permitting and zoning, Holland & Knight has experienced land use attorneys in many of its offices.

Like all first-tier land use practices, we have cultivated connections with local government decision-makers, the result of building relationships and trust over many years. We understand the culture, politics and regulatory regimes of our communities, giving us the ability to often secure timely approvals or, when necessary, negotiate reasonable land use compromises that move projects forward.

We have one of the largest land use teams among law firms in California and Florida, represent many of the largest developers in New York, and have a robust presence in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Denver, all of Texas and other major markets. We have more than 50 land use lawyers nationwide, many of whom wrote the regulations governing development in their communities and who are nationally recognized by Chambers USA.

Our land use and zoning attorneys are well versed in local initiatives and incentives for affordable housing and other nuances that make each market unique. This includes environmental requirements and California's Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), New York's 421-a tax exemption and similar laws in other states that either incentivize or discourage certain types of development. In cities where residential growth, particularly multifamily housing, often is hotly contested, we have advised clients on winning approvals for thousands of residential units, as well as senior and affordable housing.

While land use is part of our practice's turnkey seamless portfolio of services to developers, we also work with clients on how deals are structured and provide an informed analysis of opportunities, risks and how to better achieve their business goals.

Post-Development Services

Developers retain us knowing that we can support their projects throughout the life cycle of a project, including advising on operating, compliance and litigation issues and securing leases. For example, in the past several years, we have negotiated leases on behalf of hundreds of recognized national-brand companies and assisted clients in inventing new configurations, such as restaurants in senior centers or coffee shops in grocery stores and office buildings. We have the resources to stick with development projects long after the last brick has been laid.

Finance and Capital Markets

More than 120 Holland & Knight real estate finance attorneys serve clients making debt and equity investments in real estate at the highest level of complexity. We counsel on the full spectrum of commercial real estate financing and investments, from originations to sales and securitizations to workouts and foreclosures. We have advised major banks, national and local developers, investment funds and prominent companies on every type of financial arrangement, as well as tax credits, construction loans, bridge and mezzanine loans, public-private partnerships, bond issues, preferred equity lending, syndication, joint ventures, Sharia financing and commercial mortgage-backed securities. We have been one of the most active U.S. firms in pooled EB-5 investments, a major source of cross-border funding for developers.

The finance team plays a crucial role in acquisitions of property and has standing relationships with traditional financial institutions, as well as funds and private equity groups. We have helped clients find equity partners and, along with our corporate and tax groups, we can guide them through structuring and participation in joint ventures and other complex corporate structures.

Our well-regarded Real Estate Capital Markets Team gives our developer clients more access to nonbank financing. With a major presence in the New York financial community as well as the booming Texas market, our real estate capital markets attorneys are able to work with clients throughout North America to resolve their financing needs.

High-Profile Experience

Holland & Knight has been a key player in some of the most high-profile real estate developments in the U.S. over the past several years, many of them transforming central business districts, revitalizing neighborhoods, building entire communities or creating industrial space that is vital to the economy. These include:

  • numerous prominent developments in New York City
  • redevelopment of a Major League Baseball stadium in Miami that will result in a $3.8 billion investment
  • redevelopment of the former Fannie Mae headquarters site in Washington, D.C.
  • redevelopment of 116 oceanfront acres in Queens, New York
  • acquisition of multiple parcels of property in Miami's Edgewater neighborhood for the development of 710 Edge, a planned development that will include a 70-unit, 58-story condominium building, nine-story parking garage and more than 13,000 square feet of commercial space between two buildings
  • development of a 17-square-mile, mixed-use community in Orlando, Florida, one of the largest master-planned communities in the U.S.
  • continued development of Fisher Island in Miami, a tropical island paradise with the highest per capita income ZIP code in the U.S.
  • representation of a homebuilder in a $1 billion project
  • private development of campus housing with 30,000 beds across the U.S.
  • negotiation of a multiyear terminal management and lease agreement with Miami-Dade County for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a new mega-cruise ship terminal complex in Miami
  • development of a 36,000-acre farmland project
  • numerous projects in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, including the $1.5 billion Wharf development, $650 million Midtown Center and a 10-acre, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Washington that's home to retail, office and residential space, a luxury hotel, public park and central plaza
  • multiple acquisitions and financings of new developments in the city of Miami, including 275 Fontaine Parc, a luxury apartment complex
  • multiple property acquisitions in the city of Miami with the intent to develop, including existing retail centers and parcels of land
  • development of a 2,600-acre industrial site in the Southeast through a public-private partnership
  • representing the master developer of a 2,200-acre oceanfront, mixed-use resort community
  • a $3 billion redevelopment of 53 acres in downtown Tampa, Florida

The Holland & Knight Difference

As with all practices at Holland & Knight, our Real Estate Development Team fosters collaboration among attorneys as a core value. Unlike some law firms that silo offices and practices, our attorneys consult with colleagues on the opposite coast as easily as with ones across the hall. This ingrained culture of working as a team results in cost-efficient, timely resolution of client issues and immediate access to the finest legal minds at the firm on any topic, regardless of location. At Holland & Knight, partners truly are partners – with one another and with clients through every phase of development.

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