Real Estate

Overview

Our real estate lawyers have represented lending institutions, developers, principals, investors, mezzanine funds, opportunity funds, REITS, joint ventures, landlords and tenants in diverse real estate transactions throughout the United States and internationally. We have guided our clients through decades of ups and downs in the real estate cycle, working to create highly successful real estate projects for companies and individuals regardless of the economic climate. Our lawyers know real estate inside and out, and understand what drives the market. But what really sets us apart is our deep experience in all facets of real estate as described on the following pages.

Representative Matters

Acquisitions/Dispositions

Overview

Our firm’s real estate lawyers provide a full range of expertise in all the major areas of the real estate industry, including acquisitions and sales. We have assisted clients in the sale and acquisition (including 1031 exchange transactions) of major properties throughout the country, including a heavy concentration in the New York City area.

 

Representative Matters

For Sumitomo Corporation of America our real estate lawyers have handled the purchase and sale of several large office buildings across the country. Those transactions have included:

  • Purchase and sale of the Miami Center office building in downtown Miami.
  • Sale of the Phelps Dodge office building in downtown Phoenix.
  • Purchase of 1750 K Street in Washington, D.C.
  • Purchase and sale of one of the major Hayden Ferry tower buildings in downtown Tempe, Arizona.
  • Purchase of 200 Madison Avenue, sale of 801 Second Avenue, and the long-term ground leasing of 380 Madison Avenue, all major Manhattan office buildings.
  • Purchase of One Oliver Plaza, a Class A office building in downtown Pittsburgh.

Distressed Debt, Workouts and Restructurings

Overview

Our lawyers represent lenders, investors and borrowers in loan workouts and distressed debt transactions. In these challenging economic times, lenders rely on our team to restructure troubled loans through diversified means, including loan modifications, forbearance agreements and stipulations of settlement. When necessary, our lawyers seek expedited recovery of secured assets through foreclosure or deeds in lieu of foreclosure. Our investor clients turn to us for counsel in their acquisition of discounted distressed debt and subsequent asset recovery. Borrowers seek our guidance in restructuring their debt so they can retain their assets, or, when this is not possible, limit their loss and financial exposure.

Our team has broad transactional, real estate finance and bankruptcy experience. This provides our clients with a multidisciplinary approach to help identify problems and develop strategies to meet the client’s goals.

Representative Matters

  • Represented an investment fund holding a pool of distressed loans. In arduous and time-sensitive negotiations, we were able to quickly settle and resolve contested foreclosure actions. This allowed the client to obtain expedited title to the properties and recoup its investment in a timely and cost-effective manner. The work required using “out of the box” strategies to defeat the borrower’s and guarantor’s attempts to impede our client’s recovery of the property.
  • Successfully represented an institutional lender in numerous settlement discussions, forbearance agreements and foreclosure actions to allow a package of troubled loans to be sold to an investor.
  • Represented the owner of distressed commercial real estate in upstate New York in a successful negotiation and closing of a Deed in Lieu Agreement, in which the borrower and the guarantors received releases and other favorable terms from the lender.

Healthcare Facilities

Overview

Our real estate department works closely with healthcare providers on real estate transactions for skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We handle all aspects including sales, acquisition, financings (including HUD financing, Accounts Receivable financing, bridge financing), leasing/management agreements, operation transfer agreements and billing services agreements.

Representative Matters

  • Represented Millennium Management, LLC, a large Miami based owner and manager of skilled nursing facilities in the acquisition of a large portfolio of nursing homes, comprised of 19 facilities located throughout Florida and containing 2,088 beds. Our real estate lawyers also handled the subsequent refinancing of most of the portfolio in the largest HUD-financed nursing home loan transaction since 2005 and the largest HUD financing of skilled nursing facilities since the adoption of the new HUD LEAN program.
  • Represented the controlling member of a joint venture based in Miami, Florida in the acquisition of three skilled nursing facilities in Florida having a total of 480 licensed beds. The purchase price for this acquisition was in excess of $35,000,000 and the purchase was financed in part by a loan made by Regions Bank as a bridge to HUD-insured financing. Each of the acquired facilities was net leased to a different operator and our firm also handled the drafting and negotiating of all such net leases.
  • Represented a New York-based health care venture in the acquisition and financing of two assisted living facilities in Florida. Subsequently, our firm also was able to assist the client with the transition of these facilities to a new operator and associated negotiations with one of the senior lenders.

Hospitality

Overview

Our transactional and litigation attorneys are recognized for their experience in representing clients in the growing hospitality industry. Since its inception, the firm has represented dozens of independent and franchise hotel owners, operators, managers, and restaurants on a large variety of matters. We have been involved in the purchase, sale and net leasing of many hotels and restaurants in the New York metropolitan area, as well as issues related to the financing of and investment in such projects. Our team of seasoned lawyers is often consulted for practical advice on issues related to development, lending, management, labor, intellectual property, leasing and litigation.

Representative Matters

  • Representing purchasers and sellers of hotels of various sizes in the New York metropolitan area.
  • Representing the lender in a workout and bankruptcy sale of a distressed hotel property located in New York.
  • Preparing hotel management agreements.
  • Negotiating long-term ground lease and financing agreements on behalf of hotel owners.
  • Representing hotel owners in connection with construction contracts and garage agreements.
  • Litigating and arbitrating partnership disputes among hotel owners.
  • Extensive representing hotel owners in commercial leasing and licensing issues.

Leasing

Overview

Wilk Auslander’s leasing group is a well-established and nationally recognized leader in leasing transactions. We represent both landlords and tenants in a broad-based leasing practice, regularly negotiating sophisticated and complex commercial leases in office buildings, shopping centers, industrial buildings and mixed-use projects, including “build to suit” leases, construction contracts and architect’s agreements. Commercial leasing is a highly specialized area of real estate law. Often overlooked, a commercial lease can be one of a company’s most critical (and costly) assets. Unlike most commercial transactions, which end when the contract is signed, the agreement between landlord and tenant is a dynamic, fluid relationship that can last for many years. To maximize value and minimize hidden costs and risk exposure, we negotiate lasting and durable lease documents.

We are pragmatic, practical-minded business lawyers, not just legal technicians. As a trusted advisor, our clients regularly consult us early in the leasing process to assist with legal questions as well as the structure and negotiation of the underlying business deal. Our effectiveness is based on our legal expertise and deep knowledge and understanding of our client’s businesses and the financial and operational impact that leasing decisions can have on our clients’ business operations.

For our landlord clients, we have developed forms over many years of representation, that provide clarity, consistency and uniformity in our leases. For our tenant clients, we have developed comprehensive approaches to real estate portfolio management, including implementing standard form leases, subleases, letters of intent, and requests for proposals, leading to consistency and overall cost-containment.

Representative Matters

  • Representing and serving as ongoing real estate counsel for one of the largest professional services firms in the U.S. in the leasing and disposition of office and other space throughout the United States.
  • Representing and serving as ongoing real estate counsel for one of the largest media and market measurement companies in the world in connection with all its real estate requirements including leasing and disposition of office space in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.  This included recent large leases in Corsico, Italy; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Sydney, Australia; and Singapore.
  • Represented a professional services firm in connection with the leasing of a 250,000-square-foot build-to-suit office building in Tampa, FL.
  • Represented a professional services firm in connection with the leasing of 280,000 square feet of office space in a major office building in Chicago, IL.
  • Represented a worldwide media and market measurement company in (i) acquiring, developing, financing, and leasing of a 39-acre, 600,000-square-foot worldwide technology center outside of Tampa, Florida, and (ii) negotiating a lease of 465,000 square feet of office space for its U.S. headquarters in New York City.
  • Ongoing representation of a prominent fitness club chain in a national leasing program.
  • Represented a preferred developer of a national chain drugstore in numerous acquisitions and ground leases of properties throughout the New York City metropolitan area for development and leasing to the drugstore tenant.
  • Represented a regional shopping center developer in a 75,000-square-foot lease with national retailer.
  • Represented numerous hedge funds and private equity firms in various leases of Class A Plaza District office buildings.
  • Ongoing representation of a regional supermarket in shopping center leases.
  • Primary leasing attorneys for New York City developer/landlord controlling more than 9,000,000 square feet of office, retail and residential space in Manhattan.
  • Assisted a major national retail clothing company in the leasing of approximately 350,000 square feet of office space in Midtown Manhattan for its global headquarters.
  • Represented a building owner in a lease for approximately 400,000 square feet of office and retail space in a downtown office building to a major investment banking firm for its new world-wide headquarters.
  • Represented a developer/landlord in the leasing of a retail shopping mall space to national, regional and local tenants in Washington DC and New York City.
  • Represented a New York-based bank in a national branch bank leasing program.
  • Assisted in the relocation of a European country's permanent mission to the United Nations to new office space in Midtown.

Real Estate Finance

Overview

We represent institutional lenders, debt funds and borrowers in the full gamut of conventional and nonconventional real estate financing transactions. We handle all types of commercial, multifamily, construction, bridge and mezzanine financing.

Our lawyers have vast experience in complex loan originations, loan participations, intercreditor agreements, preferred equity transactions and multimillion-dollar financings. We gain a thorough understanding of the economic underpinnings of each transaction, and our team maintains constant focus on our clients’ goals to assure a successful outcome for each situation. We guide our clients through every step of the process, from the inception of the transaction through a successful closing.

Representative Matters

  • Represent a debt fund in unconventional financing consisting of mortgage and mezzanine debt for all types of commercial and residential property. Since borrowers often come to our client after being unable to secure conventional financing, our team’s mastery of multidisciplinary related practice areas, including bankruptcy and foreclosure, are invaluable in providing our client with comprehensive cost-effective representation.
  • Represent numerous institutional lenders in acquisition and construction financings of commercial, residential, retail, multifamily and mixed-use properties.
  • Represent Opportunity Fund in complex acquisition, bridge and permanent financing for diverse commercial properties throughout the United States.
  • During the recent credit crunch, represented the owner of one of the premier shopping centers in the country in a multimillion-dollar refinancing, and secured favorable loan terms.
  • Represent a skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities company in HUD financing, accounts receivable financing and bridge financing.
  • Represent a national developer in acquisition and construction financing of shopping center properties.

Title/Riparian Rights

Overview

Our real estate title lawyers work closely with our owner, developer and investor clients to resolve complicated title issues encumbering our clients' real property. By clearing title, we help clients increase the value, marketability and financeability of their property.

We resolve boundary-line disputes and clear up defects in the chain of title. Our attorneys help beat back or assert, as the case may be, claims of adverse possession and prescriptive easements of adjoining property owners. We work with our clients to remove mechanic’s liens, ancient mortgages, and other title defects affecting their property.

We have particular expertise handling title matters related to waterfront property built on fill (land formerly underwater) and other issues related to riparian rights of upland owners and others to the waters adjoining waterfront property. Our lawyers advocate on behalf of our clients before the New York State Office of General Services (“OGS”) to resolve disputes as to title to filled-in lands. We use a myriad of innovative methods, including dogged research of the law and historical record, to clear title to disputed portions of waterfront property. When necessary, we negotiate with OGS to secure Letters Patent and Certificates of Compliance to clear title to the filled-in lands.

Representative Matters

  • After extensive research of title and historical records dating back 150 years, obtained significant financial savings for a Fortune 500 global food service company by clearing title to prime waterfront property that was once underwater. The work involved successfully challenging a title claim by New York State, which was initially supported by the record and by the title company.
  • Through tenacious efforts to track down an unrecorded deed in a prior counsel’s file, represented a developer in the acquisition and successful development of a commercial property by resolving a title defect to a portion of the property necessary for development of the site.