The real estate development team at Alston & Bird understands that you want creative solutions that protect and advance your goals—without sacrificing unnecessary time and resources. In other words, you need to get your deal closed on time.
We have an established commercial real estate development practice, representing clients in sophisticated development transactions nationally, regionally, and locally. Our development practice covers a broad range of property types, including office, retail, industrial, multifamily, hotel, resort/hospitality, and mixed-use developments. Our lawyers and professionals are dedicated solely to our clients’ real estate development needs.
Our clients include developers, merchant builders, retailers, logistics companies, lodging companies, and others. We also represent institutional equity sources (including REITs, pension funds, insurance companies, and private equity funds) seeking investment and joint venture development opportunities with operating development partners.
We walk you through all phases of the real estate development process, including purchase options and rights of first refusal, land acquisitions, construction, protective covenants, easement agreements, leasing, government economic incentives, joint ventures, and much more.
Over the course of a development project, we often work closely with other lawyers at Alston & Bird who focus on land use regulation, construction, environmental, state and local tax, federal tax, and public/private incentives.
Equity players seeking investment in development opportunities turn to us to handle joint venture agreements, forward commitment contracts, fund formation, and other investment structures for investing in real estate developments. Our investor clients value our knowledge and understanding of the development process because it helps facilitate transactions between them and developers.
Commercial Real Estate Development
Your development transactions shouldn’t be held up because of obstacles. Our real estate development team focuses on protecting your interests without losing momentum to close the deal. Using creative solutions customized to the sophisticated issues you face, we get you to where you want to be.
- Counsel to the developer of the multiphased "12th & Midtown" master mixed-use development in midtown Atlanta totaling almost $1 billion in deal value through the fourth phase of development. The four mixed-use projects currently comprising the master development have varying sources of joint venture equity and construction financing. The master development contains a total of approximately 1150 residential units (approximately one-quarter of which are residential condos), a 414-room "Loews"-branded hotel, approximately 725,000 rentable square feet of office space, approximately 135,000 square feet of retail space and related parking facilities. We are involved in all aspects of each phase of the master development, from land acquisition to joint venture formation and construction financing, tax planning, zoning, economic incentive planning and implementation, planning and implementation of condominium regimes (both at the master and residential levels) and other governance documentation, negotiation of project management and leasing agreements, and lease-up. Three additional phases of the master development are slated for the future, with ultimate deal value expected to be well over $1 billion.
- Represented the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball team in its partnership with Emory Healthcare where we handled all aspects of the ground lease, construction financing, site development, building construction, and leasing of a two-story, 90,000 square foot facility in Atlanta containing both the official training and practice facility of the Hawks and the hub of Emory University’s Sports Medicine program and Sports Science and Research division. The Hawks’ Player Development Facility is the first in the NBA to be located within a sports medicine center, allowing for immediate treatment and on-site access to diagnostic equipment, rehab and sports performance training.
- Represented the developer in the acquisition of a 108-acre undeveloped parcel in Orlando for the development of up to seven industrial buildings (950,000 sq. ft.). Negotiated a joint venture agreement between the developer and a commingled fund of pension investors, which included a take-out commitment by the fund upon substantial completion of each building and an earn-out for the developer. Also negotiated a development agreement and a property management and leasing agreement between the JV and the developer. Negotiated a $20 million acquisition/development loan for the first two buildings, including a tri-party agreement with the lender, developer and fund (take-out buyer). Also established a reciprocal easement scheme between each parcel and a conservation easement over the common area and created the owner's association. Negotiated leases for the first two buildings.
- Represented a regional hospital based in Atlanta in a (a) development agreement with a major REIT for the $270 million redevelopment of the hospital and (b) joint venture with the REIT for development and ownership of a 300,000 sq. ft. medical office building and air rights above the new hospital. In additional to the joint venture agreement, the major documents included a development agreement, a management agreement and a leasing agreement between the REIT and the joint venture.
- Represented the developer in a 1.5 million sq. ft. industrial distribution center build-to-suit lease in the greater Atlanta area, to a Fortune 500 food company. At the time, this was the largest LEED Gold certified industrial building in the U.S. and the second largest in the world. We were involved in all aspects of this development, from land acquisition, rezoning, securing state economic incentives and grants, entering into a bond/sale-leaseback financing with the local economic development authority, negotiating a railroad sidetrack agreement, creating reciprocal easement agreements and finally negotiating a joint venture to bring in a 75 percent equity investor after completion and negotiating of a loan secured by the JV’s leasehold interest.
- Represented a major life insurance company as the equity investor in a $42 million forward-development joint venture transaction with a developer of a senior housing facility in Naples, Florida. The development was on a former landfill site that required extensive work by our environmental group. We also worked closely with our health care regulatory group regarding licensing and other health care regulatory issues involved in senior housing developments. We negotiated the management agreement for the developed facility. The development also included a construction loan and we negotiated a tri-party agreement between the lender, borrower and the life insurance company (as take-out buyer).
- Represented a private industrial developer in forming three industrial property funds with an aggregate value of $260 million, to acquire 30 industrial distribution facilities located in seven states. The transaction was financed with $160 million in loans from three institutional lenders. The developer then “rolled-up” the partnership interests and sold a one-half interest in the fund to a commingled fund of pension funds and other tax-exempt entities.
- Represented the private foundation that developed the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest, from conception to completion and through expansions and enhancements that total $400 million in invested capital. Our attorneys advised on all aspects of the development, from site selection to permitting, from environmental diligence and insurance to construction agreements to the bond financing of a public parking facility adjacent to the attraction. We negotiated the long-term ground lease for the aquarium, as well as reciprocal easement and operating agreements for the multi-attraction site in downtown Atlanta.
- Represented the plan sponsor in the formation of joint ventures with a national developer to develop five office buildings in major metropolitan areas valued at $800 million.
Alston & Bird Strengthens Real Estate Finance & Investment Group with Addition of Partner Stephen D. Peterson
Alston & Bird has strengthened its Real Estate Finance & Investment Group with the addition of partner Stephen D. Peterson in Atlanta. Peterson brings more than 25 years of experience advising clients on commercial real estate capital raises, development, and finance.