USA

Illinois

Real Estate


Illinois : AN INTRODUCTION

Contributed by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Commercial real estate activity in the Chicago-area market is heavily influenced by US national and international factors. For example, mortgage loan maturities coming up in the next few years will likely require capital from a variety of mortgage, mezzanine, preferred equity and other equity capital providers. As a general proposition, commercial real estate leasing, sale and financing activity has grown since the conclusion of the recent recession, but has not reached pre-recession levels. New construction is also starting again on a limited basis, and loan refinancing and construction lending has increased, but remains below pre-recession levels.

Chicago-area market commercial real estate activity can be divided into the Chicago market (which, in turn, includes various submarkets) and the suburban Chicago market (which also includes various submarkets). Each submarket has unique characteristics that should be considered when analyzing real estate investment decisions in the Chicago area. Commercial real estate activity is, in many respects, driven by leasing activity that produces commercial real estate cash flow. A closer look at three leasing categories – office, multifamily and industrial building – follows to provide a flavor of Chicago-area commercial real estate activity in early 2014.

Demand for high-end office space in the Chicago downtown market remained high as of the end of 2013. However, overall vacancies in such office space rose slightly in the first quarter of 2014 from vacancy levels in the last quarter of 2013. Office vacancies in the downtown Chicago market had been on the decline, and the vacancy level reported as of the last quarter of 2013 was the lowest in several years. Some tenants are shrinking their space, as law firms and other office tenants seek to decrease space per employee. Some law firms are also seeking to move back-office functions, such as word processing, to less expensive locations. These factors, implying lower demand for office space, are, perhaps, balanced by reports of demand by technology-driven tenants to take office space in the Chicago market. Other tenants also have moved or are considering moves to the downtown Chicago area from suburban or downstate Illinois locations. Additionally, new office buildings are under development along the Chicago River after a dearth of office building development in downtown Chicago in recent years. Such development puts existing and potential tenants into play as landlords of existing office space try to tie their tenants down and potential tenants look at their options. Vacancies in the suburban Chicago office market were reported during the first quarter of 2014 as higher than pre-recession levels, and some view this market as soft.

In recent years, a large number of multifamily apartment unit projects were added to the market in downtown Chicago. This growth was fueled by perceived rent increases and demand for rental housing. However, the additional new product ultimately depressed rents or kept them flatter than developers might have otherwise anticipated. As a result, it is expected that the development of new multifamily product in the downtown Chicago area will slow in 2014 and will not reach recent development levels in the relatively near future. The suburban multifamily rental market appears not, as of March 2014, to be subject to the same perceived capacity issue that faces downtown Chicago multifamily product. One potential concern for both markets is that if confidence in the overall economy picks up, more renters might be willing to look at condominium unit purchases as an alternative to renting. This could fuel greater demand for residential condominium product.

The Chicago-area market for commercial industrial space showed good tenant demand during 2013 as vacancies declined.

Shopping center construction will continue its trend of increased development in 2014 and the amount of new shopping center operations will exceed new development in 2013, which itself saw an increase over 2012. However, the familiar story of not achieving pre-recession levels remains the case for shopping center construction as well. There may also be long-term concerns regarding the impact of e-tailing on “bricks and mortar” retail outlets.

There has been a building boom for hotel product in the Chicago area. Numerous hotel rooms are under construction and many more are in the planning stages. A number of high-level (four-star) hotels are scheduled to open in the near future in the Chicago area. However, room rentals slowed in 2013, as did revenue per available room in the last quarter of 2013. The increase in the number of rooms on the market and projected to be on the market may temper future development trends for hotels in the planning stages. It is anticipated that there will continue to be an active interest in the acquisition of hotel product in 2014, especially in the Chicago area.

Thus, while things may be better than they were, concerns about the quantity of product and the resulting pressure on rents, may, at least as of spring 2014, slow commercial real estate activity in the Chicago area.

Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.

Real Estate - Illinois

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What the team is known for A heavyweight in the Chicago market with considerable expertise in a range of areas including financing, transactional, leasing and acquisition work. Represents clients from numerous industries including financial services, telecommunications and luxury goods.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are very thorough and what differentiates them is that they can understand the business issues as well."

"They are extremely knowledgeable, dynamic and they have a wealth of experience. They are very effective in helping us to achieve our goals."

Notable practitioners  

Suzanne Bessette-Smith handles a range of matters including REITs. Other areas of expertise include commercial development matters and the formation of joint ventures between developers and financial institutions.

Co-head of department Howard Nagelberg has a practice that includes advising REITs in a wide range of corporate and transactional matters, in addition to representing developers, lenders and other parties in connection with co-investment structures.

Mark Beaubien is described by market sources as a "solid lawyer" and "easy to deal with." Beaubien handles a range of matters including acquisitions and dispositions, commercial development and secured financings.

Dennis Ferrazzano is "a great expert on the US market - he knows all the key developers and knows our company and culture well," notes one impressed client. Ferrazzano's expertise includes acquisitions, dispositions and leasings.

Howard Kirschbaum is a well-recognized lawyer in the market. He is described by one client as "intelligent, thorough, business orientated and enjoyable to work with." Leasings and restructurings form a significant part of Kirschbaum's practice.

Significant clients Ventas, First Industrial Realty Trust, DCT Industrial Trust, American Realty Advisors, Bank of America.

What the team is known for A front runner in the Illinois market with significant experience in financing, development and regeneration matters. Marked out for its representation of developers, institutional investors and contractors, and with particular strength in the representation of financial institutions in sophisticated real estate financings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The things that stand out are client service and responsiveness - which is better than anything - and their attention to detail."

"An excellent performance: solid business skills - with no over-lawyering - and responsiveness to deadlines." 

Work highlights Acted for JPMorgan Chase in relation to syndicated construction loans for the financing of two downtown Chicago apartment buildings.

Advised Metropolitan Life Insurance on its $162 million financing of a Chicago hotel.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Moran is a highly regarded member of the Chicago real estate community, with one interviewee describing him as an "excellent lawyer." Moran has extensive experience in leasing, development and finance work.

Described as "very well qualified" by one market source, Mark Mehlman specializes in financing and transactional work. He is particularly noted for his knowledge of the hotel and hospitality industries.

The "fantastic" Eric Schiller is a highly experienced real estate attorney whose practice covers a wide range of financing and transactional matters. He recently represented RBC Capital in connection with a $200 million acquisition loan to Brookfield Properties.

Steven Davidson has "good legal knowledge" and is "good at convincing opposing counsel of the merits of our position," reports one impressed client. Davidson concentrates his practice on real estate financings.

Transactional matters, including acquisitions and dispositions are a particular focus for key partner Linda White. White is highlighted as "extraordinarily skilled" by one market commentator.

Jana Cohen Barbe is "adept at negotiating constructively but aggressively - she really knows how to advocate for the client," relates one observer. She specializes in tax credit-related real estate work.

Significant clients JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Metropolitan Life Insurance, KeyBank, Launchpad Development.

What the team is known for Extensive expertise in transactional matters, including acquisitions, restructuring and workouts, and with a particular presence in the real estate finance space. Represents clients in the energy and finance industry. Also considered a market leader in zoning and land use matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"A top-notch performance across the board."  

Work highlights Represented BP in the $2.5 billion sale of its Southern California refining business to Tesoro.

Advised ECD in the $90 million refinancing of The Wit Hotel in downtown Chicago. 

Notable practitioners  

Richard Klawiter gains considerable praise from a client who notes: "He is wonderful to work with and is very strategic." Klawiter focuses on zoning and land use work and his clients include Related Midwest and DePaul University.

Described by one contemporary as "the leading land use and zoning attorney in Chicago," Theodore Novak has recently advised Navy Pier and McCaffrey Interests. Novak has over 35 years of experience in the area and handles transactional and zoning matters.

The "very quick" and "very astute" David Reifman is recognized for his handling of land use and zoning matters.

The "very strong" David Glickstein recently represented L88 Companies in connection with the purchase, lease and financing of the Radio Free Europe headquarters in Prague. Glickstein's practice covers a range of areas including financings, joint ventures and leasings.

The highly experienced Charles Edwards is well regarded within the real estate community in Chicago. He specializes in transactional and development work.

James Beard is described by one client as "a very levelheaded, straight-shooting, honest and business-oriented lawyer." Beard recently represented Ventas in connection with the $284 million acquisition of several office buildings.

Key partner Lee Smolen has recently advised Wells Fargo and Mesa West Capital in relation to hotel financings. Smolen represents clients in the banking, insurance and pension fund arenas.

The "very attentive and responsive" David Sickle is praised by clients as "knowledgeable and very helpful." Sickle focuses on a range of issues including transactional and financing matters.

Significant clients MassMutual, Brookfield Real Estate, Hines Interests, Chicago Clean Energy, BP America. 

What the team is known for Particular focus on real estate lending and leasing matters, notably with respect to the representation of the owners of office buildings. Also handles a full range of acquisitions, dispositions and land use matters. Additional strength in the affordable housing space.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are excellent listeners. They look to you as the client to make the business decisions and they stick to the legal issues."

"They have demonstrated over time the ability to consistently be nimble, creative, thoughtful, very detailed and very adaptive to changing structures and changing elements of risk."

Work highlights Advised Fifth Third Bank in relation to a $54 million syndicated loan for a retail and residential development in Texas.

Represented Hub Group on a due diligence investigation and negotiations in its $40 million relocation of headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Kurtzon has over three decades of experience in the real estate space. Kurtzon specializes in advising institutional lenders in a range of transactions and is highlighted as "adept at problem recognition and problem solving."

Robert Linton heads the team and is noted by one client for being "timely in his response and good at assessing priority." Linton offers advice in relation to real estate transactions and has recently represented Invesco Real Estate.

Significant clients Invesco, McDonald's, The Private Bank, Aspire Properties, Hub Group. 

What the team is known for Commended for its focus on the representation of developers in connection with office and retail leasing transactions and corporate real estate matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"A very strong performance. Superior industry knowledge, excellent customer service and rapid response. The highest quality of work and attention to detail."

Work highlights Represented McCaffrey Interests in a series of lease negotiations with major retailers relating to space at a major retail development in Chicago.

Represented the Trump Organization in connection with the division of the Trump Towers, Chicago into discrete, saleable parcels.

Notable practitioners  

The "very strategic" Mitchell Carrel advises public and private companies on land use and zoning matters.

Practice co-head Dov Pinchot has a particular focus on leasings in commercial, retail and industrial real estate. Sources attest that Pinchot is "proactive, diligent, creative and reasonable with rates and timekeeping."

Significant clients CIII Asset Management, Cloverleaf Group, FD Stonewater, Rockbridge Capital, SkyVenture. 

What the team is known for Recognized for its midmarket mortgage expertise. Frequently represents financial institutions in structured mortgage and mezzanine financings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"Goldberg Kohn has been an outstanding partner in helping us grow our business in a measured, risk-mitigating manner."

"They are fast, efficient, pragmatic, and identify risks and issues, but bring practical solutions to keep transactions on track."

Work highlights Represented the Bank of Montreal in relation to the financing of the acquisitions of multiple assisted-living facilities.

Notable practitioners  

James Rosenbloom has a particular focus in advising investors and institutions in relation to financing transactions. He recently advised the Bank of Montreal in connection with an acquisition financing for a portfolio of assisted-living facilities.

Significant clients NXT Capital Funding, PNC Bank, MidCap Financial, Bank of Montreal, Cole Taylor Bank. 

What the team is known for Well-regarded team that is proficient in commercial, residential and recreational real estate. A broad practice that offers advice in relation to leasings, workouts and financings among other areas. Impressive client base includes REITs, developers, investors and lenders.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their performance was very solid, complete, effective and efficient. I consider the group to be extremely reliable."

"Excellent command of the real estate business, and in particular the ability to deal with difficult buyers, sellers, lenders and servicers."

Notable practitioners  

Practice cochair Michael Fishman is described by clients as "very entrepreneurial and business-oriented." Fishman is noted by market sources for his work with developers.

Corey Light is praised by one client for "responding to all of the company's needs diligently and thoroughly." Light is experienced in advising developers, owners and lenders on matters pertaining to joint ventures and transactions.

Milos Markovic is highlighted by one observer as having "terrific real estate experience." Markovic's practice encompasses acquisitions, dispositions and equity investments.

What the team is known for Significant aptitude in matters relating to zoning and land use law, and well versed in commercial real estate matters including leasings and transactions. Also noted for its handling of government and public sector real estate work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"Their work is timely, and they are deal-focused - lawyering to further our business position instead of lawyering just to lawyer."

"Their subject matter knowledge and their attention to detail was fantastic."

Work highlights Represented Triple Five Group in relation to leasing matters for the $3 billion American Dream Meadowlands shopping mall in New Jersey.

Represented the city of Akron, Ohio in the sale of Bridgestone Americas headquarters to the city. The team also advised the city and Bridgestone in a public-private partnership agreement to build a research and development centre.

Notable practitioners  

Steven Elrod is "knowledgeable, efficient and brings a good business perspective to the practice of law," relates one market observer. Elrod is the head of the firm's national land use and government department and is noted for his expertise in the full range of land use and zoning law.

Victor Filippini specializes in land use and zoning matters. Filippini is described by one observer as "a wonderful lawyer and a wonderful person. He's very creative, very fair and very intelligent and he does a great job representing his clients."

Peter Friedman's clients include the City of Des Plaines, for which he anchors the firm's work after it was selected as general counsel for land use matters on a multiyear, open-ended engagement. Sources name him "a very intelligent lawyer." 

Significant clients Governor of the State of Illinois, UBS Realty Investors, Public Building Commission of Chicago, Manulife Financial, Clark Street Development.

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its transactional work in the real estate space. Strong in representing clients in design and development agreements for residential, commercial and industrial projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"Jenner & Block is simply the best legal firm I have worked with and possesses by far the most knowledge related to real estate law of any firm I have used."

"They are very responsive, practical and cost conscious." 

Work highlights Advised Gulfstream Aerospace on design and negotiation agreements in relation to the $500 million expansion of a facility in Savannah, Georgia.

Notable practitioners  

Donald Resnick heads the real estate department. Resnick's clients include General Electric and Tishman Speyer and he is proficient in matters relating to leasings, financings and transactions.

Significant clients Equity Residential, Jupiter Realty, General Dynamics, Hertz, Inland Real Estate. 

What the team is known for A strong team noted for its focus on real estate financing and joint venture work with private equity fund clients. Noted cross-border capabilities, recently advising on matters in South America and Europe.

Work highlights Advised Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan Chase in a $313 million bond offering related to a $1.4 billion toll road project connecting Petersburg and Suffolk, Virginia.  

Represented Veolia Environnement in the $1.9 billion sale of its solid-waste business to Star Atlantic Waste Holdings.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Lee is a highly regarded practitioner who is noted by one market commentator as "one of the top guys in Chicago." Lee heads the group and has significant experience in transactional real estate matters.

Significant clients LaSalle Investment Management, Hyatt, Ohio State University, Wells Fargo, Orion Capital Managers.

What the team is known for Impressive presence in the Illinois market, with a deep bench of talent excelling in a full range of matters including acquisition, disposition, financing, and development of real estate. Clients include lenders, investors, owners and developers. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The overall performance was fantastic. I have worked with a lot of law firms and this team stands out because it is very practical and knowledgeable."  

What's new? New client wins include Blue Vista Capital Management, JPMorgan Chase and Callahan Capital Partners.

Work highlights Advised Senior Lifestyle in its high-value financing and development of a living facility in Blue Island, Illinois. This matter involved the implementation of tax-exempt bonds and low-income housing tax credits.

Advised General Electric Capital in a $400 million sale of real estate owned properties and mortgage loans.

Notable practitioners  

Alvin Katz is described by one market observer as "a fantastic statesman in the Chicago real estate law community and his experience is nearly unparalleled." Katz represents investors and developers in a range of matters including acquisitions, dispositions, leasings and financings. 

David Dlugie chairs the Illinois real estate team. He advises borrower and lender clients in real estate financing transactions. Sources name him "an excellent lawyer." He recently represented General Electric Capital in connection with its $400 million sale of mortgage loans and real estate owned properties.

National head of real estate, David Bryant has a clientele that includes developers, pension funds and private equity companies. Bryant specializes in commercial real estate matters. He has advised Callahan Capital Partners and Ivanhoe Cambridge on a number of matters including the formation of joint ventures and the acquisition of interests in office buildings.

Mark Simon is recognized for his work for lenders, investors and developers in relation to financing and investment transactions.

Seth Madorsky is noted by one client as "more then just a technician - he is a good adviser and counselor." Madorsky enters the rankings after receiving strong feedback for his work advising clients from a broad range of industries on commercial real estate matters.  

Significant clients iStar Financial, Greenfield Partners, Callahan Capital Partners, BMO Harris Bank, The Carlyle Group.

What the team is known for Considerable strength in advising real estate investors such as private equity firms and REITs in joint ventures, restructurings and transactions. Also noted for its handling of real estate private equity fund formations and REIT formations and a range of financing transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"Every experience we had with them was perfect." 

"They really know their craft. They're unbelievably dedicated." 

Work highlights Advised MSR Resort Golf in its $1.5 billion sale of four golf courses. This complex matter involved a plethora of issues in relation to bankruptcy, litigation and property management.

Advised Summit Mountain Holding in its $40 million acquisition of Powder Mountain in Utah, the largest ski resort in the country.

Notable practitioners  

Key partner Daniel Perlman covers a broad range of matters, including dispositions and acquisitions. Perlman is praised by a commentator for his ability "to bring an able business approach." 

Andrew Small is noted by one industry insider as "a pleasure to work with." Small recently advised Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co on joint venture, management and lease agreements in relation to the securing of a loan for the acquisition of the Colonie Centre in Albany, New York.

The "very knowledgeable" Rachel Brown is particularly recognized for her borrower representation in real estate financing matters, which she handles as part of a broader transactional practice.

Significant clients Equity Group Investments, Square Mile Capital Management, Philips Edison & Co, Garrison Investment Group, GGPLP.

What the team is known for Recognized for its capabilities in finance, restructuring and transactional real estate matters. Industry-specific experience pertaining to a range of sectors including healthcare, hospitality, gambling and retail. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"I am very impressed with the quality of service, client relationship and knowledge."

Work highlights Advised Sprint Capital Realty on its $7.1 billion merger of equals with Cole Credit Property Trust. The deal involved adjustments to $2.6 billion of secured debt which affected around 1,500 properties.

Advised GEM Capital on its formation of two joint ventures with a REIT. The joint ventures are designed to enable the acquisition and development of student housing facilities.

Notable practitioners  

Gary Axelrod is described by one observer as "an extremely astute real estate attorney who is able to navigate his clients through complex joint ventures." Recent matters include advising Starwood Capital Group Global on a joint venture formation for the development of a Florida resort.

Robert Buday handles significant matters for clients such as Sprint Realty Capital. He is described by an industry insider as "a fantastic lawyer." Buday focuses his practice on commercial real estate transactions.

Significant clients American Golf, Hyatt Hotels, Walton Street Capital, LAMB Partners, Safeway.

What the team is known for A prominent presence in the development, acquisition and disposition sphere. Strong real estate client base and significant experience in representing REITs.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have a lot of talented attorneys who have a great understanding of the sector they work in and are very time-efficient."

Notable practitioners  

David Berzon is "very practical and knows how to get a deal done," affirms one industry insider. Berzon handles a range of commercial real estate matters including financings and transactions.

Tom Jaros wins praise for being "efficient, knowledgeable, responsive and business minded." Jaros's areas of focus include acquisitions and dispositions pertaining to residential, industrial and commercial real estate.

Key partner Brian Kozminski is "an exceptional drafter and a great negotiator," say sources. His clients include the Piedmont Office Realty Trust.

Significant clients Columbia Property Trust, Syndicated Equities Group, Ryan Companies, Tier REIT, Trilogy Real Estate Group.

What the team is known for Adept at representing public and private clients in a range of matters including acquisitions, dispositions and restructurings. Continues to build a impressive roster of clients, advising those in sectors such as financial services, sports and insurance.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"Locke Lord has provided fantastic service at a reasonable rate. They are our go-to real estate firm."

"They are very focused on client service and have exceptional experience in the real estate sector."

Work highlights Represented AJ Capital Partners in connection with the acquisition of a downtown Chicago building intended for conversion into a luxury hotel.

Advised the City of Georgia in relation to bond financing and development matters for a retractable roof in the new Atlanta Falcons football stadium.

Notable practitioners  

Louis Cohen is chair of the firm's international banking, finance and real estate practice. Cohen is particularly noted for his real estate financing and development work pertaining to the sports sector.

Significant clients City of Atlanta, Oaktree Capital, Tishman Speyer, New York Life, Mandalay Baseball Properties.

What the team is known for Notable real estate expertise that spans the transactional, joint venture and workout spheres. Advises public and private clients from an extensive range of industries. Additional expertise from the firm's property and transfer tax management group handling real property assessment and tax challenges.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their client service is very good and they are always available for calls. Their knowledge of the US real estate sector and market standards is excellent."

"They are a proactive legal firm. What I like about them is that they always adopt a commercial and flexible approach to getting deals done."

Work highlights Advised Belmont Village Partners in the acquisition of senior living facilities in a $530.63 million joint venture with Health Care REIT.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Meyer heads the department. Meyer has extensive experience in a range of areas, including advising developers and investors. Sources attest that he is "very focused on protecting the client."

Jeffrey Usow is described by sources as "tireless, with a great work ethic." Usow is a practice leader for the firm's global real estate group and is well versed in transactional matters representing investment funds and trusts.

John Gearen is recognized by peers as a "top-tier attorney." Gearen has over 40 years of experience in the field and is considered a figurehead of the Illinois real estate Bar.

Ivan Kane specializes in transactional work in the commercial real estate space. Kane's clients include developers and investors.

Significant clients Alinda Capital Partners, Allianz Real Estate of America, Clarion Lion Properties Fund, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Starwood Capital.

What the team is known for Strong expertise in a range of matters including joint venture, acquisition and commercial leasing work, in addition to noted strength in real estate tax matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"They are very business friendly, practical, and very, very knowledgeable."

"They are very responsive, they do what it takes to get a deal done even with rigid timelines."

Notable practitioners  

Douglas Lubelchek is described by one commentator as "a thorough tactician who understands the nuances of how to make deals happen." Lubelchek heads the real estate practice in Chicago and advises clients such as insurance companies, developers and REITs. 

Significant clients Equity Residential, Zell Credit Opportunities Master Fund, McDonald’s, Pritzker Realty Group, Macerich.

What the team is known for Respected strength in matters relating to financing transactions, dispositions and acquisitions. Particular expertise in representing private equity funds in connection with a broad spectrum of real estate matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Overall they are excellent - they have an exceptionally wide breadth of expertise in a number of areas."

"They navigated all the issues and came to a great conclusion. They managed to present complex matters in a simplified manner." 

Work highlights Advise Starwood Capital, Hyatt Hotels and Haberhill in relation to a $50 million loan for the renovation and expansion of a Hyatt Hotel in Minneapolis.

Advised Aterian Partners on the sale and leaseback of the corporate headquarters of Burner Systems International, one of its portfolio companies.

Notable practitioners  

Gregory Spitzer heads the team and is described by sources as "very accommodating, very knowledgeable and intelligent." Spitzer's broad practice includes the real estate aspects of M&A deals.

Significant clients Acadia Realty Trust, Aterian Partners, Balboa Retail Partners, Citicorp, Henry Street Partners. 

What the team is known for Highlighted for its handling of a full range of matters pertaining to the hotel, retail and office sectors. Areas of expertise include financings, transactions and development matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team is highly competent and experienced in their field. I would identify their experience in the specific field of commercial real estate as their greatest strength."

Work highlights Advised Strategic Hotels & Resorts in the $362.3 million acquisition and $18.3 million conversion of a hotel in Central Park, New York.

Advised Storage Upreit in relation to its $200 million purchase of LifeStorage, an operator with 39 self-storage facilities across several states. 

Notable practitioners  

Alexandra Cole handles real estate matters as part of a broader practice that also encompasses construction law. She is particularly noted for her work in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

Significant clients Maritz Wolff & Co, DiNapoli Capital Partners, Optima, Sun Development & Management, Broadreach Capital Partners. 

What the team is known for Handles a range of matters including the sale, leasing and financing of commercial property. Experience in handling matters throughout North America, Europe and Australia. Also noted for its handling of real estate litigation. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They know when to push items and know when to strike a deal - a good balance which is difficult to find in a transaction legal team."

"They always provide top-notch legal representation and make me feel like they care personally about my matter." 

Work highlights Advised Starwood Capital in connection with the purchase of seven shopping centers across the USA with a combined worth of over $1 billion.

Represented Canyon Johnson Urban Fund in connection with the $150 million purchase of a retail centre in Chicago.

Notable practitioners  

Managing partner Eugene Leone recently advised Starwood Capital group on its $1 billion acquisition of a portfolio of regional shopping centers. Sources say: "We trust him to guide us through the most complex negotiations and to draft the most protective documents."

Significant clients Walton Street Capital, The Blackstone Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Zeller Realty, Mesa West Capital.

What the team is known for Recognized for its broad expertise including transactional and commercial finance matters. Advises clients from a range of industries including the insurance, healthcare and hospitality sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 
"Their performance is outstanding across the board; insightful, intelligent, responsive, thorough, detailed and accurate."

"Compelling expertise delivered in a confident, service-oriented manner with a thorough command of the governing law."

Work highlights Advised the City of Chicago on the preparation and negotiation of a lease and license agreement for an $800 million car rental facility at Chicago O'Hare international airport.

Advised Loews Hotels in relation to the negotiation of a purchase agreement for a $180 million portion of a high-rise building in Chicago.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Messerly is a key partner in the team and has recently represented Prudential Real Estate Investors in connection with a mixed-use development in Glenview, Illinois. Messerly also handles a range of matters including those pertaining to acquisitions, dispositions and finance.

Head of department Ted Yi is described by sources as "a solid lawyer - one of the best leasing lawyers." Yi is particularly noted for his expertise in commercial leasing transactions.

Michael Rechtin brings "a special touch to the negotiating table - his calm and dignified approach is refreshing in any field, but especially in the legal world," comments one observer. Rechtin handles a range of commercial real estate matters.

Significant clients UBS Realty Advisors, McKinsey & Company, MillerCoors, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Manulife Financial. 

What the team is known for Demonstrates strength in the representation of lenders in workouts and investors on transactional issues. Well regarded for its work with pension funds, REITs and institutional investors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are creative and outside-the-box thinkers and they put themselves in our shoes in order to effectively accomplish our goals."

"Seyfarth Shaw has the breadth and depth of experience to provide sound advice and excellent execution across a range of real estate and other matters."

Work highlights Advised Stockbridge Capital on several acquisitions including the purchase of a $37 million industrial portfolio in California.

Continued to serve as general counsel to GK Development, recently advising the company in relation to the acquisition of a regional mall in Michagan.

Notable practitioners  

Joel Rubin "can find ways to structure transactions to get them done" and is "great on complicated matters," say sources. Rubin's clients include RREEF and L3 Capital and he is well versed in advising clients in connection to real estate investments.

Alvin Kruse is "known throughout the Chicago lending community as a go-to legal mind for complex transactions," according to one market observer. Kruse has significant experience in loan transactions in connection to real estate projects.

Significant clients DEXUS Property, Equity One, Bank of America, 7-Eleven, The Private Bank. 

What the team is known for Substantive expertise in commercial real estate matters, acting for financial institutions, institutional investors, owners and developers in contentious and noncontentious real estate matters. Additional expertise in workouts space.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their performance is excellent and they are easy to work with and attentive. Personal attention and quality of work stand out."

"Sidley provides exceptional client service. The work product is first rate."

Work highlights Advised Deloitte in the drafting and negotiation of an office lease for a building in Seattle.

Advised Wells Fargo on a $140 million loan for the purchase of an office building in Chicago.

Notable practitioners  

The "extremely intelligent" Charles Schrank's clients include Deustche Bank and Citigroup. Schrank concentrates on representing clients in joint ventures, equity investments and securitization programs.

Anthony Aiello is a key partner at the firm. He specializes in representing REITs and financial institutes in transactional work. Sources describe Aiello as "an excellent lawyer and very effective negotiator."

Significant clients JPMorgan Chase, Starwood Capital, Maersk, Illinois Facilities Fund, Citigroup Global Markets Realty.  

What the team is known for Impressive reputation in matters pertaining to zoning and land use law. Strong track record in obtaining governmental approvals from the City of Chicago and other jurisdictions.

Notable practitioners  

Highlighted as a "knowledgeable attorney," Edward Kus is recognized for his expertise in matters relating to zoning and land use law. 

Anthony Licata is managing partner of the Chicago office. Licata is noted for his expertise in land use matters, which he handles as part of a broader commercial real estate practice.

Jack Guthman is described by one industry insider as "the most detail-oriented zoning lawyer there is." Guthman previously served as chairman of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals.

What the team is known for Considerable expertise in a wide array of matters including financings and transactions. Clients include financial institutions and institutional investors such as pensions and insurance companies. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They identify the right things. The key aspects. They have a very practical and educated approach."

Work highlights Advised Alere Property in relation to the $135 million purchase and financing of a portfolio of industrial properties.

Advised ML Realty Partners in connection with the $100 million refinancing of a portfolio of properties in Texas and Illinois.

Notable practitioners  

One client commends Christopher Murtaugh for "running circles around his competition," also noting that he is "deal-maker and extremely ethical." Murtaugh is noted for his broad transactional real estate practice.

Mark Henning is noted for his practical to commercial real estate matters. Henning represents clients such as banks and private equity firms in complex transactions.

Significant clients Ashley Capital, Quadrangle Development, US Equities Realty, Stockbridge Capital, 737 North Michigan Avenue Investors.

Other Ranked Lawyers 其他上榜律师

Thomas Duffy of Edwards Wildman Palmer is praised for having a "broad knowledge base." Duffy is a key partner at the practice and represents developers in all aspects of real estate development.

Thomas Homburger of K&L Gates is a "smart and seasoned attorney" who focuses on transactional real estate work.

Langdon Neal of Neal & Leroy LLC is highlighted by an industry insider as "a fantastic lawyer." Neal is well regarded by the industry for his condemnation work.

Terrence Budny of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is praised by market sources for his highly responsive approach. He focuses on real estate financing, investment and development matters.

Nancy Olson of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates is "always available, efficient and thoughtful," say sources. Olson leads the Chicago real estate team and focuses his practice on REIT formation and financings.

Foreign Experts

Foreign Experts are individuals with expertise in a different jurisdiction to the one they are based in. These individuals are particularly highly regarded for international and cross-border work. Usually, they will be identified in the jurisdiction in which they are based and in their country of expertise.

Senior Statesman

A 'Senior Statesman' is a lawyer who no longer works hands-on with the same intensity but who, by virtue of close links with major clients, remains pivotal to the firm’s success.

Eminent Practitioners

'Eminent Practitioners' are highly influential lawyers in a particular practice area who, due to managerial or client relationship commitments, are less active in day-to-day work but remain key players in the team.

Other Noted Practitioners

Other Noted Practitioners are individuals who have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.

Other Noted Firms

Other Noted Firms are firms that have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.