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USA

Illinois

Real Estate


ILLINOIS: An Introduction to Illinois

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. Basel III and Dodd-Frank may impact commercial lending activity for bank and commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) financing sources, and consolidation in the banking industry may provide opportunities for portfolio-based non-bank lenders.

Chicago-area 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 five categories—office, multifamily housing, industrial/warehouse, retail and hotels—follows to provide a flavor of Chicago-area commercial real estate activity in early 2015.

Office  

Demand for high-end office space in the Chicago downtown market remained high at the end of 2014. Office vacancies in the downtown Chicago market had been on the decline, and the vacancy level was reported at the lowest level in six years, with the River North submarket exhibiting the lowest vacancy rate. Decreasing vacancies have resulted in a modest rise in rental rates. Trends that see increasing residential population in the downtown area, migrations of tenants from suburban areas and a growing technology sector may account for increasing office space demand. Some “value-add” investors might see the low vacancies as an opportunity and seek buildings with larger amounts of vacant space, hoping to capture tenants in need of space who are willing to pay higher rents. Despite the demand for downtown office space, some older office buildings have been repositioned to other uses such as student housing, hotels and multifamily. Vacancies in the suburban Chicago office market were also reported to be at their lowest level in six years.

Multifamily Housing 

The downtown multifamily housing market saw added units in 2014, and this trend of increasing units coming onto the market is expected to continue in 2015. This growth was fueled by perceived demand for rental housing as employment levels increased. The suburban multifamily rental market showed a rise in units added as well.

Industrial/Warehouse 

The Chicago-area market for commercial industrial space showed good tenant demand during 2014 as vacancies declined to the lowest level in 13 years. An improving economy and light construction during the recession may account for the decline in vacancy.

Retail  

Retail development has rebounded since the recession, but it is nowhere near pre-recession levels. Grocery store-centered retail development has accounted for much of the new development. Suburban development has been outpacing Chicago development.

Hotels  

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. The increase in the number of rooms on the market and those projected to be on the market may temper future development trends for hotels in the planning stages. Some are concerned that the supply may be outpacing demand.

Reports near the end of 2014 indicated that construction activity is at the highest levels in years, but is still lagging behind pre-recession levels. The commercial real estate business may be better than it has been in years, but it still trails pre-recession levels. The favorable interest rate environment and declining vacancies have encouraged some owners to sell. However, with some sectors showing the potential for supply outracing demand, there may be a future slowing in development.

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 market-leading practice providing great expertise across the entire breadth of real estate work, including corporate work and finance as well as related litigation. Clients vary from established national entities to REITs and other investment groups.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have great bench strength. Each lawyer is great at what they do."

"They hire smart attorneys who have business sense. They are really good negotiators."

Notable practitioners  

Mark Beaubien is described by clients as "an intelligent lawyer with a client service focus and high business acumen." His transactional practice takes in work with investment funds, REITs and other key players in the market.

Dennis Ferrazzano is an experienced practitioner across the full range of real estate transactions. He provides expertise relating to a variety of projects, including mixed-use, office, retail and industrial.

Howard Kirschbaum's transactional practice extends to joint ventures, leasing, disposition and development, among other areas. Clients express admiration for his knowledge of commercial real estate, saying: "You can call him up and he has the answer – he doesn't have to go and research it."

The deeply experienced Howard Nagelberg represents both public and private organizations, including developers, investors and lenders, in their real estate dealings.

Suzanne Bessette-Smith is cochair of the practice group and has a corporate real estate practice with a focus on publicly traded REITs. She is held in high regard by commentators for her real estate lending expertise.

Significant clients Ventas, KTR Capital Partners, First Industrial Realty Trust, LVMH, American Realty Advisors.

What the team is known for Strong presence offering clients the benefit of its international reach on significant real estate transactions. Acts on behalf of various players in the market, including lenders, developers and investors, while also providing advice to entities in the public sector, including government agencies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are terrific and very knowledgeable. Any issue that comes up will be adequately dealt with by their experience and responsiveness."

"They are able to accomplish our objectives without acrimonious engagements with opposing attorneys."

Work highlights Represented Lehman Brothers Holdings with regard to the $142 million sale of a large resort to Woodridge Capital Partners and Colony Capital.

Acted for Moran and Company on the creation of a joint venture worth over $110 million relating to a mixed use property in North Chicago.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Moran receives healthy endorsement from interviewees who "think the world of him" and describe him as "an outstanding attorney." His real estate practice takes in all elements of financing, development and leasing.

Eric Schiller has a national practice representing prominent clients. He focuses on real estate finance and is experienced in lending issues relating to a variety of projects, including retail developments, office buildings and apartment complexes.

Real estate finance practitioner Steven Davidson acts across the gamut of real estate projects. He handles a variety of transactional matters, including those relating to syndicated credit facilities and loan workouts. Clients appreciate his "sound business judgment in addition to expert legal advice." 

Linda White is an experienced attorney with a practice encompassing numerous areas of sophisticated real estate finance. She recently led the firm's representation of Lehman Brothers Holdings in relation to the $142 million sale of a large resort.

Mark Mehlman has a national practice in complex real estate financing transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions and joint ventures.

Significant clients JP Morgan, US Bancorp Community Development, KeyBank National Association, O'Donnell Investment, PNC Bank.

What the team is known for Standout practice with a powerful offering across the scope of transactional real estate alongside a leading land use and zoning team. Regularly involved in large, high-profile domestic and international projects for clients ranging from financial institutions and investment funds to retailers and educational establishments.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Innovative global thought leaders who are very deep in resources and very responsive to the clients and their needs."

"They are the most qualified and capable land use attorneys in Chicago. Their creativity, understanding of the ordinances and willingness to think outside the box set them apart."

"They successfully negotiate outcomes that move their clients forward and are good at navigating the political environment."

Work highlights Advised PCCP on the financing of a mixed-use tower in Portland, Oregon worth $118 million.

Acted for Navy Pier in relation to land use entitlements concerning a $150 million redevelopment project to coincide with its 100th anniversary.

Obtained approvals and entitlements in the $150 million redevelopment of a cold storage warehouse into a Google campus on behalf of developer Sterling Bay.

Notable practitioners  

Theodore Novak's leading position in the market is affirmed by his status as "the zoning dean" and "the most prominent land use attorney in Chicago" among commentators. He is praised for his ability to "anticipate issues and problems and then strategize the appropriate course of action."

The "excellent" James Beard's real estate practice takes in matters ranging from government procurement to lease preparation and joint venture formation. Clients endorse him as a "seasoned, experienced, capable and knowledgeable" practitioner. 

David Glickstein is described as a "very good lawyer" in sophisticated real estate finance transactions. He handles matters both at home and abroad on behalf of prominent owners and developers.

David Sickle is experienced in handling real estate transactions on behalf of financial institutions and REITs. His practice places significant focus on all aspects of retail development projects.

The "well-respected" David Reifman is known as a leading practitioner in zoning and land use matters. He acts across numerous project types, including residential, hotel and industrial developments.

Land use and zoning lawyer Richard Klawiter acts on numerous issues, including those centering around historic preservation and landmarks. Clients appreciate that he "thinks creatively and in a strategic way."

Esteemed practitioner Charles Edwards acts on matters relating to sophisticated commercial real estate, including development and partnerships.

Significant clients BP America, Related Midwest, Chicago Cubs, Hines, Harrison Real Estate Capital.

What the team is known for Provides a full-service approach to real estate, acting alongside the firm's corporate, bankruptcy and litigation groups where necessary to cover all bases for clients. Involved in the financing, development sale and acquisition of properties across all sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have great people skills, are extremely bright and have exceptional turnaround time."

"Responsiveness and knowledge are their main strengths."

Work highlights Acted for Fifth Third Bank on the arrangement of a construction loan worth $34 million to finance a Florida student housing development.

Represented PrivateBank and Trust in the $90 million refinancing of five Northbrook office buildings.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Kurtzon has a broad range of clients, including developers and investors, and his practice spans the full breadth of transactional real estate. One client notes: "I've never asked him a question he couldn't answer off the cuff."

Practice group leader Robert Linton acts in complex transactions involving numerous projects, including multi-use, residential and commercial properties. "His turnaround time is great, his drafting is solid and he is able to focus on the right issue," say clients. Commentators also note: "He has the ability to push for items in leases that are important to us while at the same time developing a relationship with opposing counsel."

Significant clients Invesco Real Estate, Newmark Merrill Companies, Aspire Properties, McDonald's, Fulton Market Cold Storage.

What the team is known for Established team focusing on leasing work for residential, mixed-use, office, retail and entertainment properties. Also involved at all other stages of the real estate process, including financing, acquisition and related taxation and insurance elements.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I have found them to be exceptionally down-to-earth, personable and incredibly professional."

"Good quality of work and responsiveness. They don't get mired in unimportant details - they can understand our business and apply that to a deal."

Work highlights Acted for AFIAA U.S. Investment on the $200 million acquisition and financing of an office tower in central Chicago.

Represented Shelbourne Development Group in its move to resurrect the Chicago Spire project by negotiating the release of the property from bankruptcy proceedings.

Notable practitioners  

Mitchell Carrel is valued by clients for having "the experience and aptitude to analyze a complex zoning problem, and the common sense and contacts with local zoning authorities to get it solved." He handles a variety of zoning matters on behalf of public and private organizations.

Significant clients Garrison Investment Group, Zurich Insurance, Hilco Real Estate, McCaffery Interests, Tishman Speyer.

What the team is known for Known for its strength and expertise in real estate financing transactions, including mezzanine and midmarket structured financings. Focuses particularly on properties in the hospitality and healthcare industries, with dedicated expertise in loan syndications.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are experts at the legal points but are also able to balance legal risks with business issues and always keep the overall business goals as the priority."

"They are extremely responsive and technically very competent."

Work highlights Acted for New York Mercantile Exchange on its $200 million disposition and partial leaseback of One North End, the Manhattan tower that houses the exchange.

Represented Sherman Residential in the $36.7 million sale of the Ansley Falls Apartments multifamily development.

Notable practitioners  

James Rosenbloom focuses on real estate finance transactions. Clients laud him as "more than just a lawyer - he is a business confidant, an expert on the legal theory, a great sounding board and a reality check on business issues."

Significant clients NXT Capital Funding, PNC Bank, BMO Harris Bank, MidCap Financial, Cole Taylor Bank.

What the team is known for Uses its global platform to provide advice on international real estate transactions, as well as providing expertise in local and national matters. Handles issues across the spectrum of real estate work, regularly representing clients from the financial sector, including REITs and private equity firms.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very thorough and efficient, and think about deals from a businessperson's perspective."

"Greenberg Traurig consistently displays a combination of expertise, rigor, passion, responsiveness and practicality in approaching our matters."

Notable practitioners  

Chicago real estate practice cochair Michael Fishman is known to be "the kind of guy who likes to solve problems rather than create them and who frames risk in the right way." His practice takes in finance, fund formation and joint venture transactions.

Corey Light cochairs the firm's global real estate practice, focusing on the representation of lenders and developers. Clients say: "He is great at the big transaction - he's going to staff it correctly, issue it correctly and think of things that you haven't thought of."

What the team is known for Strong zoning and land use practice handling the full range of public sector and governmental entitlement issues on a regional and national footing. Operates alongside a prominent transactional real estate practice which advises clients on major transactions including acquisitions, dispositions and leasing.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They understand our business and they understand what we are going to need in our various contracts in order to get a good deal done."

"From the youngest associates to the most senior partners, the firm impresses with its responsiveness and broad and extensive expertise in real estate, government law, and zoning."

Work highlights Represented Illinois Teachers' Retirement System in the $215 million acquisition of a 500,000 sq ft commercial building in Denver, Colorado.

Acted on entitlement matters for the Clark Street Development, a mixed-use project involving more than 200 apartments, 26,000 sq ft of retail space and significant right-of-way work on surrounding roads.

Retained by Triple Five Group to conduct all of the leasing work for a major mall development in New Jersey.

Notable practitioners  

National land use practice head Steven Elrod is lauded by clients for his "excellent demeanor and strategy." He advises public and private clients on sophisticated land use entitlement matters, particularly those involving taxation issues.

Peter Friedman represents a wide variety of clients, including developers, government agencies and private equity firms. Sources say: "Peter is a problem-solver with an extensive knowledge of real estate, zoning, and government law. He is a hard worker with a deep commitment to his clients."

Significant clients Illinois Medical District, Cahill Rosewood, UBS Realty Investors, Capri Capital Partners, Saddle & Cycle Club.

What the team is known for Covers the full breadth of real estate transactional work, with additional strength in structuring trusts, partnerships, joint ventures and other investment vehicles. Represents clients including financial institutions and developers on a nationwide basis.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They know what they are doing, they have great experienced attorneys and they are always in control."

"A very deeply experienced team, very knowledgeable and they work very hard. They are willing to go the extra mile and give great legal advice."

Work highlights Acted for Hertz on the purchase and development of a Florida site that will house its new headquarters.

Represented Gulfstream Aerospace in its $500 million net and synthetic leasing of numerous hangars and associated facilities across the country.

Notable practitioners  

Donald Resnick is held in high regard by his clients for being "creative, with a great bedside manner in negotiations." His practice encompasses real estate financing and other transactional work for local and national clients.

Significant clients GE Asset Management, Guggenheim Investment Partners, Jupiter Realty, Equity Residential, Tishman Speyer.

What the team is known for International practice offering a platform from Chicago to a network spanning across the country and beyond for significant cross-border real estate transactions. Strong in real estate capital markets and private equity work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Jones Day has very experienced real estate attorneys who have expertise and judgment in real estate transactions as well as fund and tax work."

"They are very precise in complicated matters." 

Work highlights Advised Mapletree Investments on the formation of a $1.4 billion private equity real estate fund to invest in office and mixed-use developments in China.

Acted for the city of Detroit on the restructuring of the city's real estate assets as part of its Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing. 

Notable practitioners  

Global practice cochair Robert Lee has "a very agile mind for complicated transactions and structures," according to sources. His practice has a strong focus on private equity transactions in the real estate sector.

Significant clients Meyer Bergman, R.R. Donnelly & Sons, Goldman Sachs, Orion Capital Managers, Navistar International.

What the team is known for Top-quality practice with a significant national footprint advising on all aspects of real estate, with all-encompassing expertise in related tax, bankruptcy and litigation issues. Handles the full range of finance transactions, including corporate, securities and private equity deals, along with an additional focus on public finance.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They give proactive advice and keep the client’s business needs in focus."

"They are incredibly strong real estate attorneys." 

Work highlights Advised Callahan Capital Partners and Ivanhoe Cambridge on the acquisition and sale of interests in office properties as well as related joint venture formation and financing worth a total in excess of $2 billion. 

Represented Allstate Insurance in the establishment of a joint venture with MetLife aimed at investing an initial $400 million in real estate. 

Notable practitioners  

Alvin Katz is an experienced and high-quality practitioner acting in the investment, development and financing spaces on behalf of significant private equity clients. One client notes: "I like working with him because I am confident he is thinking of things I have failed to think of."

Chicago real estate chair David Dlugie focuses his practice on real estate debt financing transactions. He is experienced in acting on behalf of developers, landlords and tenants as well as institutional lenders.

Mark Simon represents large banks and other financial institutions in their real estate finance activities. He often advises on structured matters, including syndicated transactions.

Seth Madorsky's practice focuses on real estate investment, advising funds and sponsors on their involvement in real estate developments. He also provides expertise in acquisition, sale and leasing transactions.

David Bryant is described as "experienced, knowledgeable and excellent" by one impressed client. His recent clients include Ivanhoe Cambridge and Callahan Capital Partners, which he has advised on a number of acquisitions and JVs.

Significant clients iStar Financial, GE Capital, Carlyle Group, Greenfield Partners, US Bank National Association.

What the team is known for National corporate powerhouse able to advise on the most complex real estate private equity transactions across the country. Acts for clients including large private equity funds and REITs, alongside other large institutional investors. Provides further expertise across the full range of real estate transactions including acquisitions, dispositions and financings. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They were fantastic in structuring the transaction in a really creative way and helping us to execute it."

"They really know their stuff and are extremely fast and extremely responsive to every need we have on a deal."

Work highlights Acted for Golden Gate Capital on its purchase of Red Lobster from Darden Restaurants and the related sale-leaseback of more than 500 restaurants to American Realty Capital. The deals had a combined worth of more than $3.5 billion.

Represented Principal Real Estate Investors in the financing of its $370 million purchase of a mixed-use development in Washington, DC.

Notable practitioners  

Daniel Perlman acts for numerous real estate investors including hedge funds, REITs and pension funds on a range of issues, such as venture formation and sophisticated financings. Clients say: "He is a technically great lawyer and he thinks like a businessperson."

Andrew Small focuses his practice on transactional real estate work, with particular expertise in fund formation and financing deals. He regularly handles such matters on behalf of lenders. 

The "very commercial and ruthlessly efficient" Rachel Brown is praised by clients for having a "very good ability to prioritize what matters for us and the business points that are important." She acts for both lenders and borrowers in real estate finance transactions.

Joshua Hanna has an increasingly prominent presence in the real estate market and is described by his clients as "a rising star who's super-confident and gets things done." His practice covers a range of real estate issues, with notable expertise in the hospitality sector.

Significant clients Equity Group Investments, Garrison Investment Group, Värde Investment Partners, KKR, LaSalle Investment Management.

What the team is known for Strong in a variety of areas, including acquisition, joint venture and financing transactions. Advises a variety of clients, from REITs and other institutional investors to developers and operators on projects of all kinds.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They understand how to identify and solve material legal issues in a transaction."

"They provide a balance of great legal counsel within the framework of a business transaction."

Work highlights Advised GEM Realty Capital on the formation of a joint venture and its subsequent acquisition and financing of Napa, California resort Carneros Inn.

Represented Phillips Edison in the sale of nine REITs that own shopping center developments across the country.

Notable practitioners

Gary Axelrod is lauded by clients as "a problem-solver who is able to use his experience and knowledge to defuse issues." He represents large real estate investors in complex financing transactions.

Robert Buday acts across a range of commercial real estate transactions for large investors. Clients appreciate that he "understands every detail of every transaction and at the same time is very good at just zeroing in on the points that matter."

Significant clients Safeway, MCR Development, LaSalle Investment Management, Loews Hotels, Qatari Diar.

What the team is known for Significant practice across development, financing, joint venture and leasing transactions across the United States, as well as acquisitions and dispositions. Clients include REITs, owners/operators in both office and residential space, and developers, with particular expertise in the condominium and manufactured housing areas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very efficient and their practical application of the legalities into the real estate world is very strong."

"They are very responsive and they understand the business side of the deal."

Notable practitioners  

David Berzon handles sophisticated transactions involving joint ventures, financings and acquisitions. Sources appreciate that he "knows his way around all the issues and is able to cut through the baloney and find a middle ground to resolve an outstanding issue." 

Tom Jaros is respected by clients for his ability to "work well with opposing counsel and obtain respect from everyone." He has expertise in a range of financing transactions, as well as related workouts and foreclosures.

Brian Kozminski is lauded as a "very intelligent, calm negotiator" who "finds creative solutions that bring the parties together without diluting his client's rights." He focuses on leasing work on behalf of landlords and tenants, particularly in the office building space.

Significant clients Harbor Group International, Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Columbia Property Trust, Syndicated Equities Group, Next Realty.

What the team is known for Acts on a nationwide basis across a wide range of real estate sales and acquisitions. Also involved in all aspects of financing, including loan origination. Represents a wide variety of clients, including numerous prominent financial institutions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provide business-minded legal counsel that has the ability to keep deals on track and protect my interests."

"The team is able to take large, complicated deals and do them in an efficient manner."

Work highlights Acted for Harel Insurance on its $122 million acquisition of a 29-story office building in the Chicago central business district via a joint venture with Beacon Investments.

Represents George Lucas and Skywalker Properties in their attempt to develop a $700 million museum in Chicago.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Louis Cohen has an international transactional practice with notable expertise in the development of sports arenas. According to a client, "he is very experienced and familiar with the market - I feel I am in good hands." 

Significant clients AEW Capital Management, AJ Capital Partners, China Cinda Asset Management, City of Atalanta, Hulco Real Estate.

What the team is known for Strong real estate practice with experience on regional, national and international planes acting for large financial institutions and other institutional investors. Significant quality in joint ventures, financings and restructurings, among other transactional matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are extremely responsive, very practical and really able to give you a real-world view of legal issues that can be very technical."

"They are very quick to study the problem set in front of us or the other party, understand what the other party is saying and help us craft a solution."

Work highlights Acted for L&B Realty Advisors on its $37.25 million purchase and financing of Lake Calhoun Apartments in Minneapolis.

Notable practitioners  

Ivan Kane acts for a range of large clients on acquisitions, financings and other real estate transactions. Clients describe him as "an expert in real estate finance who brings calm and evenhanded leadership to our deals."

Firm real estate practice leader Jeffrey Usow advises on sophisticated transactions for a variety of clients. One client notes: "He is a very smart lawyer who is excellent at providing me with fast, thoughtful counsel."

Paul Meyer is the head of the Chicago real estate group and has experience across the gamut of the real estate industry, including work on industrial, residential and mixed-use properties. According to sources, he is "hard-working, diligent, responsive and practical, and never loses his cool."

John Gearen is "nothing short of brilliant," according to clients, who say he "understands real estate finance transactions inside and out." He is deeply experienced in the representation of financial institutions.

Significant clients LCS-Westminster Partnership, AMLI.

What the team is known for Represents large owners, operators and investors in office, retail and multifamily developments in acquisition, disposition and financing transactions. Clients include REITs, financial institutions and prominent national corporations. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're efficient, knowledgeable, good at anticipating our needs and reasonably aggressive but sensible at the same time."

"They are exceptional transactional attorneys - they have both strength on the legal side and intelligence on the business side."

Notable practitioners  

Douglas Lubelchek acts on a national basis for REITs, developers, banks and other large institutions on their real estate activities. Clients describe him as "an incredibly sharp and efficient real estate attorney with a keen business sense."

What the team is known for Offers particular expertise in handling acquisitions and sales of distressed debt portfolios alongside a focus on real estate finance and related private equity fund investment. Has an additional specific focus on domestic and international data center transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are excellent draftsmen and extremely sensitive to the pace of a transaction."

"They are spectacular: responsive and knowledgeable in the field with a good breadth of insight across the entire data center area."

Work highlights Acted for Starwood Capital Group on the financing of a large mixed-use development, the Liberty Centre in Pittsburgh.

Represented Christopher House, a Chicago charter school, in its financing and development.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Gregory Spitzer handles the full range of real estate transactions, including M&A, structured finance and private equity deals. Clients say: "He's great on a contentious transaction - he brings all sides together."

Significant clients Acadia Realty Trust, Citibank, Aterian Partners, Salesforce, Henry Street Partners.

What the team is known for National and international real estate boutique with a focus on complex acquisition, structuring, sale and leasing transactions for commercial use properties. Clients regularly include REITs and other real estate investors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"A very good group with quality in depth." 

Notable practitioners  

Chicago managing partner Eugene Leone "provides great client service and real practical advice," according to market commentators. He is held in high regard for the strength of his commercial real estate practice.

Significant clients Walton Street Capital, Starwood Capital Group, The Blackstone Group, Equity Office Properties, GEM Realty Capital.

What the team is known for Provides particular expertise in niche areas of real estate, including solar and medical building and data center leasing. Advises a range of financial service entities on financing and investment in properties across various sectors, including hospitality and renewable energy.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They have exceptional subject matter knowledge, are able to negotiate favorable terms for their clients and are extremely responsive."

"They approach matters with an eye towards accomplishing goals quickly, efficiently and in a cost-effective manner without increasing their client's exposure."

Work highlights Represented the City of Chicago in a significant leasing of car rental facilities at O'Hare International Airport, worth in excess of $800 million.

Advised Comcast on its $250 million lease for a 7.6 MW data center in Ashburn, Virginia.

Notable practitioners  

Ted Yi is widely recognized for the quality and sophistication of his leasing practice. Both clients and fellow practitioners recognize his expertise, with sources noting: "He's the guru of office leasing and knows how to tackle even the most unique issues."

Robert Messerly has a national transactional practice that spans numerous areas of real estate, from industrial to residential properties. He is an "expert on purchase and sale agreements, and is always willing to help explain any unusual covenants or representations."

Significant clients Manulife Financial, John Hancock Life Insurance, UBS Realty Advisors, McKinsey, MillerCoors.

What the team is known for Represents prominent financial institutions, retailers and developers as part of a broad client base in the full range of acquisitions, dispositions and corporate real estate transactions. Able to act on complex, high-value transactions across the country.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They give strong client service, thoughtful and knowledgeable advice and have deep experience."

"They have a good depth of experience and expertise." 

Work highlights Acted for the PrivateBank and Trust Company regarding a collaboration with nine other lenders loaning more than $200 million for 14 Californian healthcare entities.

Represented real estate investor L3 Capital in the $35.5 million purchase of Market Square, a shopping center in Lake Forest.

Notable practitioners  

The deeply experienced Joel Rubin is known as "one of the deans of Chicago real estate" among market commentators. He represents local and national clients including pension funds and REITs in their real estate activities.

Alvin Kruse's practice covers a wide range of sophisticated real estate financings, including mezzanine loans and restructurings. According to a client, he is "generally the smartest guy in the room and a deal-breaker who turns big issues into small ones."

Significant clients SK Realty, Bank of America, Equity One, Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, 7-Eleven.

What the team is known for Stellar Chicago presence providing expertise across the nation in complex transactions involving real estate capital markets, as well as the acquisition, development and leasing of property. Clients include financial institutions, homebuilders and hotel companies. Additional strength in real estate litigation.

Work highlights Represented Deutsche Bank in the $105 million financing of a portfolio of hotels across 17 states.

Advised German American Capital on securing $480 million in financing for a nationwide portfolio of rental residential real estate.

Notable practitioners  

Chicago real estate group head Anthony Aiello acts across the full gamut of real estate work, including financing, leasing and development. "He is able to identify the critical business and legal issues and explore the options for addressing them," say clients.

"Talented lawyer" Charles Schrank acts for clients including REITs, developers and financiers on complex real estate transactions. He has played a key role in the firm's recent representation of Deutsche Bank in real estate portfolio financing transactions.

Significant clients Wells Fargo Bank, Aviv Healthcare Properties, Citigroup Global Markets Realty, JP Morgan, KKR.

What the team is known for High-quality zoning and land use team held in high regard for its prominent presence across the Midwest. Provides private sector clients seeking approvals with key experience in dealing with municipal authorities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their intimate knowledge of the code and the internal workings of the City of Chicago are definite strengths."

"They hire lawyers who have significant longstanding relationships with the City."

Work highlights Acted on behalf of DP Fox Ventures in gaining development approval for a new Ford/Lincoln dealership.

Advised Noble Street Charter Schools on obtaining the necessary approvals for the development of a 4.1 acre site, including a soccer field and seating for 300 people.

Notable practitioners  

Edward Kus provides expertise in resolving sophisticated issues around land use and zoning. Clients appreciate that he is "very conversant with the nuances of the zoning code."

"Very prominent zoning attorney" Jack Guthman has experience across a wide range of matters. He represents a variety of clients, including developers and nonprofit institutions.

Significant clients Intrinsic Charter Schools, Mesa Development, DRW Holdings, Pizzuti Development, Tishman Realty.

What the team is known for Handles leasing, financing and development matters, often in transactions involving industrial, mixed-use and commercial buildings. Acts for clients at all levels of real estate activity, from large firms taking part in one-off transactions to sophisticated investors in the real estate market.

Notable practitioners 

Christopher Murtaugh has a national practice with a focus on development, finance and investment. 

Other Ranked Lawyers 其他上榜律师

"Very good" land use and zoning law specialist Victor Filippini recently founded Filippini Law Firm.

Thomas Homburger of K&L Gates focuses his practice on development, investment and financing. He offers clients the benefit of his particular expertise in sale and leaseback transactions.

Langdon Neal of Neal & Leroy LLC is known among commentators to be "a go-to guy in zoning." He has experience and expertise in representing various municipalities and private entities.

The "outstanding" Terrence Budny of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP focuses his practice on real estate finance and development on behalf of various participants in the market. He is known by clients to be "very efficient, responsive, knowledgeable, experienced and pragmatic."

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.