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Real Estate, Development & Land Use

Today’s complex real estate market is more demanding than ever. The stakes are higher and the risks are greater, but so are the potential rewards.

CSG’s Real Estate, Development and Land Use Group combines experience, creativity and business acumen to skillfully navigate clients through the multitude of real estate and regulatory issues involved in the acquisition, financing, development, redevelopment, leasing and management of property. Our results-driven, transaction-oriented practice is equipped to take on the full spectrum of real estate matters facing our clients at every phase of the real estate cycle, from acquisition and financing, to large-scale development, to dispute resolution.

Active nationally, regionally and locally, our attorneys represent owners, investors, developers, asset managers, lenders, commercial and retail tenants, construction professionals and community associations. Our extensive real estate capabilities include:

  • Acquisition
  • Financing
  • Construction
  • Project development and redevelopment
  • Leasing and property management
  • Land use
  • Condominiums and planned real estate development
  • Environmental
  • Divestiture
  • Debt restructuring
  • Dispute resolution
  • Real estate litigation
  • Tax appeals

The scope of our practice extends well past the bounds of traditional real estate practitioners. Having the full range of disciplines necessary to execute complex transactions and address the full gamut of real estate-related issues allows us to offer clients counsel on such wide ranging matters as debt and equity offerings, environmental remediation, joint ventures and tax structuring, loan workouts and resolution of disputes among co-venturers.

We draw upon the knowledge of our experienced land use attorneys to obtain necessary approvals and variances as well as to resolve issues before agencies and boards at all levels of government. Our clients benefit from the counsel offered by our colleagues in our Corporate and Securities and Tax Groups regarding deal structuring and tax avoidance. Working hand-in-hand with our Environmental, Government and Regulatory Affairs and Litigation attorneys, we guide our clients through environmental and regulatory hurdles and carefully and efficiently deal with the variety of real estate-related disputes that may pose a threat to their assets.

The attorneys in our real estate practice take great pride in working closely with clients and delivering the highest quality legal services on a cost-effective basis. Our experience through all cycles of the real estate market, our blend of technical proficiency and business judgment, and our commitment to excellence allows us to provide the comprehensive array of legal services so critical in today’s competitive marketplace. In addition, we are recognized as having one of the leading Real Estate practices in New Jersey in the 2019 inaugural "Best Law Firms" rankings published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers.

 

Real Estate Acquisition, Sale and Asset Management

The attorneys in CSG’s Real Estate, Development and Land Use Group possess a diverse background that encompasses the acquisition, sale, financing, leasing and management of virtually every type of real estate asset. These assets include office, retail, hotel, gaming, entertainment, industrial, residential and mixed-use properties, as well as raw land, leasehold interests and air rights. With a unique combination of in-depth legal experience and a strong yet practical perspective, our ability to help clients maximize the value of the property they own, manage and lease is without parallel.

Redevelopment

Redevelopment is the legal process designed to restore economic vitality to blighted areas wherever they may exist. The process is governed by several state statutes designed to function in harmony. Using these legal tools to maximum advantage necessitates an in-depth knowledge of laws governing zoning and planning, contracts, taxation of real property, public finance and economic stimulus programs offered to incentivize redevelopment activities.

CSG’s real estate attorneys, together with our colleagues in the firm’s other practice groups, are at the forefront of redevelopment efforts of diverse types. The firm is privileged to act as redevelopment counsel to developers of many of New Jersey’s largest, highest visibility redevelopment projects. We offer top to bottom legal services, including the “area in need” plan, the redeveloper agreement, PILOT’S, redevelopment area bonds and the use of public incentive programs.

Likewise, our litigators, supported by the firm’s real estate group, have achieved notable success in matters where property owners have initiated legal challenges alleging the inappropriate use of redevelopment powers by municipalities, defending redevelopers against challenges by both private and public interests and acquiring property through eminent domain proceedings.

Leasing and Property Management

Our leasing practice encompasses a broad spectrum of asset types and transactions. Representing both landlords and tenants in markets nationwide, our practice includes not only conventional office, retail and industrial leases, but also ground, net and operating leases. We take pride in our representation of many well-known national and regional retailers and manufacturers.

As a result of our representation of retail tenants, we have earned a reputation as a leader in retail leasing around the country. Over the years, our leasing experience has extended to other specific areas and projects such as high-tech data centers, telecommunications facilities, production studios, entertainment/retail centers, theaters, theme restaurants, foreign missions, designer showrooms, garage and parking facilities, and the master leasing of signage rights.

The significant experience gained over the years through our close partnerships with owners, property managers and facilities professionals allows us significant understanding of all aspects of management and lease administration. For owners, this is part of our full-service capability. For corporate users of real estate, our experience is an integral part of their facilities management programs.

Project Development and Construction

CSG real estate attorneys are highly experienced in every aspect of project development, acquisition, design, governmental approvals, financing, construction, management and brokerage.

Our development work for clients encompasses both the public and private sectors and myriad asset types, including office, shopping center, residential, industrial, entertainment/retail, hotel and resort properties. We are particularly seasoned in matters involving large-scale development as well as mixed-use projects involving commercial, hotel and retail components. We regularly appear before local and state agencies to obtain the permits and approvals necessary to greenlight development projects.

Our construction background includes representation of developers, construction managers and contractors on major commercial projects as well as work on behalf of tenants in connection with the build-out of office and retail facilities. Through our experience in the construction process, we are well-qualified to negotiate the complex construction agreements required by major development projects.

Real Estate Financing and Loan Restructuring

We represent lenders and borrowers in connection with all phases of mortgage lending, including the financing of fee, leasehold and other real estate interests. We also gain competitive advantage from our ability to draw upon the experience of our colleagues in our Corporate and Securities and Public Finance Groups for assistance in structuring innovative debt and equity financing from investors in public and private markets.

Many of our projects include sophisticated financing mechanisms involving leasehold mortgage financing, sale/leaseback transactions, and other complex operating agreements such as equity and cash flow participating arrangements. Having experience in the ups and downs of real estate cycles, we are keenly aware of the financing issues facing owners and lenders.

Our attorneys have significant experience with both performing and non-performing loans and have represented lenders and borrowers in connection with loan workouts and restructurings, and the acquisition and disposition of non-performing loan portfolios. Together with our colleagues in our Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Group, we also advise our clients on prepackaged bankruptcies and the acquisition of assets from an estate in bankruptcy.

Land Use

Whether as part of a real estate acquisition and development team advising on a land acquisition, or appearing before a municipal board for an approval or variance, CSG’s land use attorneys are an integral part of our real estate practice. We regularly represent property owners and developers in front of municipal boards and agencies throughout New Jersey. We are known for guiding our clients through the complex land use process with diligence, timely determination and cost effective advocacy.

Condominiums and Planned Real Estate Development

We represent developers and sponsors of residential, commercial and mixed use planned real estate projects from inception through sales. Our attorneys prepare offering materials for the registration of projects with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and regularly advise clients regarding state and municipal regulatory matters concerning condominiums and other types of planned real estate projects.

Dispute Resolution and Real Estate Litigation

We have extensive experience in joint ventures and often address and resolve disputes that arise among co-venturers in real estate projects. For ventures with intractable issues, we pursue a variety of courses, from winding down a venture and distribution of assets, to exploring bankruptcy alternatives. Together with our Litigation colleagues, we litigate commercial lease disputes, zoning and land use controversies and condemnation proceedings.

Tax Appeals

CSG’s real estate tax appeals attorneys apply a thorough knowledge of state and local property tax laws, appraisal methodology, and valuation formulas to help achieve our clients’ long- and short-term goals. With capabilities across the spectrum of real estate transactions, real property taxation and litigation, we employ a comprehensive approach to each client’s tax appeal. Our attorneys represent both municipalities and property owners before federal and state tax courts and the various county tax boards in New Jersey and provide legal counsel in a wide array of tax appeal proceedings.

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi’s Real Estate, Development & Land Use Group has worked with clients on numerous important matters, including:

  • Represented Tulfra Real Estate and The Hampshire Cos. in connection with 15-year lease with Damascus Bakery Inc. at 65 Industrial Street South in Clifton, NJ. The leased 204,000 square feet building is a former 50-year-old manufacturing plant and will be redeveloped into a new industrial space for the bakery. 
  • Represented developers in many of New Jersey's major real estate projects, including Panasonic Corporation's North American headquarters and its eventual sale to KFH Capital Investment Co. for $165 million; the $35 million Newark Courtyard by Marriott hotel; the Newark Hotel Indigo; seven historic building conversions on Market Street developed into 35,000 SF of retail with over 80 residential units in a $35 million mixed-use project; an 11-acre property being developed into Springfield Avenue Marketplace, a mixed-use development in Newark; Richardson Lofts, an eight-story, 96,000 SF conversion of a former jewelry factory into 67 residential rental lofts; a senior citizen complex with 154 residential units in Belleville; Studebaker Lofts, an affordable housing community in the City of Newark's North Ward neighborhood; and Packard Lofts, luxury housing located at 1002-1008 Broad Street.
  • Represented the largest condominium development in the history of the City of Newark approved by the State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
  • Represented developers in affordable and emerging market unit condominium projects in Jersey City, Newark, Bloomfield and Orange
  • Represented clients in the acquisition and transfer of liquor licenses into Newark's Downtown Family Restaurant and Entertainment District
  • Represented nationwide insurance company in the redevelopment and historic approval process for a two-block mixed use development project totaling over 1.4 million square feet in gross floor area in Newark, NJ.
  • Represented one of the world’s largest investment and construction groups in securing redevelopment and land use approvals for two independent mixed-use projects totaling 22,500 in retail square footage and 431 residential units in Jersey City, NJ.
  • Represented one of the largest self-storage services in the U.S. to attain rezoning, historic and land use approvals to convert a full-block historic warehouse building into a self-storage facility with ground floor retail in Jersey City, NJ.
  • Represented developer in procuring development approvals for the first high rise residential building in Newark in 50 years. The project proposed over 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail along with 245 residential units in Newark, NJ.
  • Represented national extended stay hotel operator in connection with the acquisition of land use approvals in order to rehabilitate a vacant office buildings into a 124 room hotel with ground floor leasable office space in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ.
  • Represented electrical power generation facility during the initiation and designation of its property as an area in need of redevelopment through the zoning and land use approval process for expansion of its facility in Bayonne, NJ.
  • Represented national big box retailer to obtain land use approvals for new construction and store expansions in Edison, Cinnaminson, Union and Freehold, NJ.
  • Represented urban property management company to initiate and designate its property as an area in need of redevelopment and adoption of a redevelopment plan in Bloomfield, NJ.
  • Represented national developer in connection with a mixed use redevelopment project totaling over 1.5 million square feet of residential, retail and hotel space in Fort Lee, NJ.
  • Represented national developer in the conversion of a vacant 11 acre tract of land into a mixed-use redevelopment project with over 150,000 square feet of retail space and 160 residential units in Newark, NJ.
  • Represented national developers in obtaining various retail development approvals in Edison, NJ.
  • Represented developer in securing redevelopment and land use approvals for a full-block mixed-use redevelopment project with retail and residential space in Bloomfield, NJ.
  • Represented master redeveloper in rehabilitation and reuse of iconic entertainment venue in Asbury Park, NJ.
  • Represented a developer in a $125,000,000 acquisition and construction financing for a residential project in New York City
  • Represented a developer in a $93,000,000 syndicated construction financing for a residential project in Southern California
  • Represented a landlord in a $30,000,000 portfolio financing involving 18 shopping centers in 10 states
  • Represented a developer in financing and closing on 200 acres in New Jersey consisting of approximately 1,000,0000 square feet of industrial space
  • Represented a developer in financing and closing on a 20 acre industrial and office campus in New Jersey that was redeveloped into a shopping center
  • Represented a developer in financing and closing various industrial parcels that were redeveloped into a 334,000 square foot shopping center in New Jersey
  • Represented a national landlord in leasing more than 1.5 million square feet of space in big box anchored retail projects
  • Represented a land owner in the leasing of two vacant parcels of land to a developer for the construction of two "lifestyle" shopping centers
  • Represented a national retailer in the disposition of more than 80 surplus locations
  • Represents New Jersey Turnpike Authority in right of way acquisitions, surplus property dispositions and related real estate matters
  • Represented purchaser in the acquisition and financing of a 220 unit apartment complex in New Jersey
  • Represented the New Jersey Turnpike Authority in negotiation of 205,000 square foot headquarters lease
  • Represented Lennar Corporation in its purchase and partnering with Roseland Properties on a portfolio of more than a dozen sites on New Jersey’s Hudson River “Gold Coast”
  • Represented Garden Commercial Properties in its acquisition and repositioning of the former Johnson & Johnson campus in North Brunswick, NJ, consisting of approximately 200 acres and more than one million square feet of existing buildings
  • Represented New Jersey Transit Corporation in its effort to privatize the operation of approximately 100 structured and surface parking facilities
  • Represents several national retailers, and has represented developers of factory outlet centers including Manchester Designer Outlets in Vermont
  • Represented a major developer and its related entities in obtaining land use approvals for various projects, including the Marriott Courtyard Hotel and retail space, and a mixed residential/commercial space encompassing an entire City block, in Newark, NJ
  • Represented a commercial developer and its related entities in obtaining land use approvals for various projects, including the building which houses the world headquarters for Panasonic
  • Represents a residential developer in the acquisition, obtaining of land use approvals and construction financing for numerous condominium projects in Jersey City and Bloomfield, including subsidies for low and moderate financing from the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
  • Represented a lending institution in a $70 million commercial loan transaction to a leading medical group in New Jersey
  • Represents a developer in obtaining land use approvals and construction financing for a new boutique hotel in Newark
  • Represents a developer in obtaining the required land use approvals for a 300,000 SF refrigerated warehouse in Newark
  • Represented a joint venture in connection with its acquisition of a former federal building
  • Represented a machining and engineering company in the disposition of its real property to a Fortune 50 company
  • Represented an institutional lender in the $41 million financing of a mixed-use property containing 671 residential units and 4,100 SF of commercial space
  • Represented a joint venture, as landlord, in connection with the leasing of a Class-B office building
  • Represented both buyers and sellers in connection with the sale and purchase of commercial real property as a like-kind exchange under Section 1031 of the IRS Code
  • Represented a landlord in connection with a cellphone tower lease
  • Represented an institutional lender in connection with the $29 million construction loan financing of a 16 story, 50 unit, multifamily residential rental building with 15,018 SF of retail space
  • Represented a real estate company in connection with the disposition of a 112,000 SF office building
  • Represented a New Jersey state agency in connection with the disposition of surplus properties throughout the State of New Jersey
February 27, 2019

Land Use Update

December 12, 2018

The Land Use Institute

September 27, 2018

RealShare New Jersey

March 28, 2018

Land Use Update

March 19, 2018

Newark's Stock is Rising

February 28, 2018

Land Use Update

January 22, 2018

NJBIZ: Center of the Action

December 13, 2017

The Land Use Institute

September 19, 2017

RealShare New Jersey

February 15, 2017

2017 Land Use Update

February 22, 2011

Landlord-Tenant Law

February 2010

Negotiating the Lease

June 2008

Coah Update

 
Mitchell S. Berkey

Mitchell S. Berkey

Member
Chair, Real Estate, Development & Land Use Group
Phone (973) 530-2085NY Phone (212) 324-7228mberkey@csglaw.com

Jeffrey M. Gussoff

Jeffrey M. Gussoff

Member
Practice Group Leader, Real Estate, Development & Land Use Group
Phone (973) 530-2015NY Phone (212) 973-0572jgussoff@csglaw.com

Fredric P. Lavinthal

Fredric P. Lavinthal

Member
Chair Emeritus, Real Estate, Development & Land Use Group
Phone (973) 530-2008Fax (973) 530-2208flavinthal@csglaw.com

John R. Lloyd

John R. Lloyd

Member
Practice Group Leader, Property Taxation Group
Phone (973) 530-2098Fax (973) 530-2298jlloyd@csglaw.com