Pepper Hamilton’s Real Estate Practice Group represents clients throughout every stage of development projects — from controlling land to leasing a completed building. We frequently serve as a project coordinator for our clients in development projects, working with engineers, architects, brokers, surveyors, local government officials and other parties to guide a project throughout the entire life cycle.
Our development experience is broad, and we have advised clients on a wide variety of projects, including industrial complexes, mixed-use projects, office buildings, energy and power plants, natural gas processing plants, shopping centers, warehouses, health care centers, college and private school facilities, resorts and amusement parks. While we frequently work with some of the country’s largest real estate development companies, we also represent clients in other industries that are seeking to expand their property footprint.
In all development projects, we utilize a team-based, client-centric approach to provide efficient and cost-effective services tailored to the client’s needs. In addition to drawing on the full Pepper real estate team, we work closely with our colleagues in the firm’s construction, tax, financial services and environmental practices to ensure every step of a development project is executed smoothly and in the client’s best interests.
Major Areas of Practice
Land Control and Acquisitions
We represent clients in all aspects of controlling and acquiring property for development projects — from working to identify the most appropriate location to drafting and negotiating letters of intent, options, purchase agreements, ground leases and joint venture agreements to managing the closing process. We have experience with acquisitions large and small, including sites spanning thousands of acres and those owned by multiple parties.
Land Use Approvals
Each community and project is unique, and we work with clients to navigate local land use and zoning ordinances for development projects. We are in touch with city and municipal authorities from the earliest stages of a project to ensure all approvals are obtained and clients are protected if there are future appeals. When appropriate, we also partner with local land use counsel, combining our comprehensive development experience with their region-specific knowledge. Our attorneys are also experienced in steering projects through the complex regulations of county, regional and state agencies governing development impacts to wetlands, flood hazard areas, transportation and utility service.
We assist clients in forming partnerships with municipalities and other governmental agencies in the redevelopment of abandoned and blighted industrial sites into new and vibrant uses. We handle the designation of our clients as redevelopers, the negotiation of redevelopment agreements and financial (payments in lieu of taxes) agreements, and provide guidance on seeking available tax credits and other financial incentives.
Condominium and Reciprocal Easements
For properties with multiple owners or tenants or that would otherwise benefit from a condominium regime or similar, we work with both the developer and current or prospective property owners to negotiate and draft easements and declarations governing use of the development. From small office complexes to large shopping centers, we have experience in navigating the demands of many stakeholders and negotiating agreements that protect our clients’ interests.
Leasing and Disposition
Our work on development projects does not end once construction is complete. We continue to represent clients as the development is leased to tenants, including negotiating and drafting lease agreements, as well as in final dispositions of the property, representing clients in every aspect of a sale of the development.