Real Estate Law

Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP serves clients across a full range of sophisticated real estate transactions. Our clients include commercial banks and other institutional lenders, investment banks, private lenders, institutional and private investors, public and private companies, landlords and tenants, and developers. Our highly regarded professionals include former developers, city planners, accountants, business owners, general counsel, and an entire Chambers-ranked real estate practice from a predecessor firm.

Our attorneys advise on transactions relating to office/industrial buildings, residential apartment and condominium communities, golf courses, hotels, shopping centers, resorts and multi-use developments. We have a particularly deep understanding of cooperative and condominium laws, representing many sponsors and boards on related matters.

Our commercial bank clients call on us to handle many of their traditional residential and business mortgage loans. We represent major real estate industry players as well as families and wealthy individuals in connection with acquisitions, land assemblages, joint ventures, partnerships, sales, financing, leasing, construction and other development issues. We also assist clients in buying and selling distressed real estate-based loans (on an individual and portfolio basis) and in strategizing to maximize their investments. In our acquisition and development work, we carefully consider tax implications, governmental regulatory matters, construction, zoning, land use and environmental issues, drawing on the experience of attorneys from practices across the firm.

The successful completion of any real estate transaction requires sensitivity to the importance of timing, technical knowledge of the financing of the transaction, a thorough understanding of the applicable law (including relevant tax and other regulations) and an appreciation of the business goals of the transaction. The diversity of our attorneys’ experience positions us to partner with our clients and their other advisors to consummate transactions creatively, practically and cost-effectively.

We use technology intensively to manage costs and reduce time to completion. We are committed to providing the highest quality legal services in a responsive and focused manner, on time and on budget. In addition to serving real estate industry clients, our attorneys advise on a broad range of real estate transactions incidental to other businesses.

Select examples of our attorneys’ past work include:

  • Representing the developer of the world’s tallest condominium project in connection with regulatory analysis and contracting for international marketing and brokerage services worldwide.
  • Serving as national counsel for a major U.S. financial institution, handling over 100 transactions that include ground, office and retail leases, acquisitions and dispositions, and easement agreements.
  • Counseling a registered investment advisor in connection with a series of real estate equity funds totaling $550 million, formed for the purpose of investing in mineral assets, wetlands and conservation mitigation banks.
  • Representing a private equity firm in the $210 million acquisition and leaseback of a portfolio of five office properties to an international life insurance company, and the negotiation of a $136.5 million acquisition loan from a large institutional lender.

Real Estate Financing

Our assistance on financing matters includes:

  • Advising clients with regard to the structure and costs associated with a proposed financing transaction.
  • Drafting and negotiating documentation during all phases of a loan, from applications and commitments to mortgages, pledge, and other security instruments, promissory notes, loan agreements, guaranties, environmental indemnity agreements, opinions of counsel, subordination and attornment agreements, and tenant estoppel certificates.
  • Gathering and reviewing due diligence documentation such as title commitments, title exception documents, surveys, leases, land use and zoning compliance documentation, building permits, environmental assessments and contracts with and certifications from architects, contractors, and engineers.
  • Handling workout, recovery, and bankruptcy situations, including commercial foreclosures for our lending clients when the need arises.
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