Real Estate, Zoning & Public Finance

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Overview

We offer the depth of legal service and extensive business and legal experience needed to successfully represent real estate clients in projects and transactions including land development, regulatory challenges, public/private financing, title clearance, commercial sales transactions, commercial leasing, closings, and much more.

Our attorneys represent public and private clients, including land developers, residential and commercial builders, developers specializing in new urbanism and mixed-use projects, investors in real estate, banks and financial institutions in real estate lending transactions, as well as special purpose taxing districts.  Real estate dispute resolution, including litigation and arbitration of contract disputes, construction defect cases, zoning matters, eminent domain, and representation in title disputes arising from adverse possession claims and other title matters, are all part of the variety of litigation services offered to our real estate clients.   

Transactional Services

Our attorneys have extensive experience working with real estate clients on transactional matters. Recent representative matters include:

Development Work

  • Subdivision development from acquisition of the underlying property through construction; drafting of subdivision declarations or indentures; sale of homes; business entity formation for developers and homeowners associations, including advisory representation regarding administration and elections; addition of future phases to subdivisions; trademark and licensing issues related to real estate developments; use or sale of display homes; and management of common ground and subdivision amenities including water features, swimming pools and lakes, and drafting of documents related to liability issues arising from development amenities.
  • Negotiation of annexation of property and development agreements with municipalities including zoning, development incentives and municipal services, as well as public/private development projects, redevelopment projects and tax incentive projects, including TIF, CID, TDD and TAD projects.
  • Preparation and negotiation of easements required for purchase of real estate for development and for construction related to subdivision development and easements related to permitting limited use of client/owner’s real property by others.
  • Condominium development, including initial acquisition of underlying property, drafting Declarations of Condominium, certification of condominium projects for HUD approved (FHA) financing by purchasers, management and/or amendment of common elements or limited common elements during development of additional phases, and the design and formation of business entities for the management of condominium homeowners associations.
  • Zoning and entitlement representation.

Purchase and Sale Transactions

  • Negotiation and preparation of contracts of purchase and sale, with due diligence investigation and inspection for investments.
  • Closing of investment transactions, including commercial (industrial and mixed-use) and residential properties.
  • Representation of clients in the purchase and sale of agricultural, mixed-use, commercial, and residential property and subsequent leasing and management.
  • Handling of IRS Code Section 1031 exchange transactions, Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer and Distress for Rent statutes, and Illinois Cook County and City of Chicago security deposit laws and ordinances.
  • Representation of purchasers of real property at real estate tax sales, including subsequent perfection and clearance of title.

Property Management and Leasing

  • Property rental contracts and property management, including extensive experience with complex lease negotiations with office and commercial tenants.
  • Representation of both shopping center owners and retailers in lease negotiations, including percentage rent, expense stop, and other forms of lease transactions.
  • Advice on risk assessment and management of property liability issues for a wide array of property types and users.
  • Representation of clients in Missouri and Illinois in real estate taxation appeals.

Construction

  • Preparation and negotiation of terms of commercial building contracts for office, restaurant, retail and mixed-use projects.
  • Preparation and negotiation of terms of residential building construction contracts for both custom and residential tract builders.
  • Preparation and negotiation of traditional design build contracts.
  • Management of construction loan disbursements for purposes of title, including obtaining mechanics lien waivers and making disbursements.
  • Preparation, filing and enforcement of mechanics liens in Illinois and Missouri.

Workouts, Foreclosures, and Enforcement Actions

  • Negotiation and preparation of workout and forbearance agreements on behalf of both debtors and creditors in commercial transactions.
  • Representation of debtors and creditors in foreclosure of real property related to deeds of trust, enforcement of judgments, and mechanics liens.
  • Representation of lien holders in various enforcement actions, including judicial and non-judicial foreclosures, mechanics lien foreclosures, contract for deed enforcement actions and creditor proceedings including Chapter 11 reorganizations.

Title Matters

  • Title examination and chain of title review for the purpose of issuing title commitment and policies for a title insurance company in Illinois.
  • Examination of real estate title insurance commitments and policies in Illinois.
  • Preparation and review of closing documents and conduction of closings of real estate transactions in Illinois and Missouri and issuance of title insurance policies in Illinois.
  • Title examination in connection with representation of banks in foreclosure of commercial properties (some residential).
  • Negotiation, review, and analysis of issues related to clearing real estate title, including purchase and sale, contracts, inheritance matter, estate and trusts transfers, easements, encroachment, and other title-related disputes.


Litigation Services 

Our diverse and experienced real estate attorneys have represented clients in both traditional litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings including mediation and arbitration relating to the following types of real property disputes on behalf of commercial, residential, and public clients:

  • Breach of contract
  • Fraud and misrepresentation
  • Unlawful Merchandising Practices Act violations
  • Construction and property defect cases
  • Boundary disputes
  • Adverse possession and prescriptive easements
  • Title defects
  • Nuisance
  • Covenant violations
  • Eminent domain and valuation
  • Commercial lease disputes (rent, premises violation, maintenance disputes)
  • Brokerage commission disputes
  • Housing discrimination
  • Trespass
  • Abandonment
  • Environmental contamination
  • Zoning and subdivision disputes


FULL CAPABILITIES 

Title / Survey Examination and Review

  • All aspects of examination of title including grantor / grantee index searches
  • Torrens searches
  • Surveys – ALTA, IL/MO Minimum Standards, Topographic: option selection, review and analysis, certification
  • Resolve title issues appearing on surveys or plats

Title Insurance

  • Ordering of title insurance commitments and satisfaction of Schedule B-1 requirements
  • Examination of Schedule B-2 exceptions and negotiating and obtaining removal or waiver of exceptions to title
  • Prepare objection letters based upon preliminary title reports
  • Prepare closing instruction letters
  • Review final title policy when issued for proper form and endorsements
  • Negotiation and obtaining title insurance endorsements, including all ALTA endorsements
  • Prosecution and defense of claims

Sale Contracts

  • Negotiate and prepare Purchase/Sale Contracts
  • Negotiate contingencies and conditions to closing
  • Arrange and review due diligence, including survey, title, soil tests, inspection of improvements, environmental site assessments
  • Evaluate issues related to warranties
  • Examine and approve legal descriptions of the property and any easements
  • Prepare and review closing documents including deeds, financing documents, easements, tenant documents or leases, and closing statements
  • Coordinate closing and issuance of final title policies
  • Conduct and attend closings
  • Pursue closing or other remedies in the event of default

1031 Exchanges

  • Negotiate and prepare bilateral exchange agreements
  • Negotiate and prepare Starker Three Corner Exchange Agreements
  • Negotiate and prepare Reverse Three Corner Exchange Agreements
  • Prepare Escrow Agreements
  • Advise clients on suitability of exchange structure

Real Estate Tax

  • Advise clients on tax ramifications of acquisition structure
  • Advise clients on alternative entities for acquisition of property
  • Negotiate and litigate tax disputes
  • Prepare related organizational documentation
  • Assist clients with commercial real estate tax appeals

Brokerage

  • Advise, negotiate and prepare listing agreements, including open listings, exclusive agency agreements and exclusive right to sell agreements
  • Advise, negotiate and prepare Buyer’s Agency Agreements
  • Advise clients on statutory and regulatory requirements for real estate brokers and agents
  • Coordinate preparation of related employment agreements

Property Management / Owner’s Associations

  • Negotiate and prepare property management agreements
  • Form non-profit corporations or trust based owners associations, including obtaining EIN’s
  • Prepare contracts, leases, releases, or other documents related to management of HOA’s
  • Prepare documents related to development amenities and advice regarding issues related to amenities
  • Advise management regarding maintenance issues and disputes
  • Prepare governing documents including declarations or indentures, rules, and restrictions
  • Advise clients on owner’s association governance issues and interpretation of governing documents
  • Advise clients and conduct meetings for transfers of board control upon development conclusion
  • Advise clients regarding change of or additional builders or developers
  • Advise clients regarding elections and preparation of documents related to the holding of elections
  • Prepare and file liens, and enforcement actions to collect liens, including foreclosures
  • Prepare amendments for the purpose of updating or revising existing indentures, declarations, and restrictions
  • Advise and prepare documents related to special concerns of mixed use developments
  • Advise clients regarding compliance with applicable state, federal and local civil rights laws

Shopping Centers

  • Prepare and negotiate reciprocal easement agreements
  • Prepare and negotiate anchor lease agreements
  • Prepare, negotiate, and coordinate tenant leases
  • Advise clients regarding defaults and enforce/defend landlords and tenants in default situations
  • Oversee and review plat and survey preparation related to legal issues
  • Advise clients regarding compliance with applicable state, federal and local civil rights laws

Industrial / Cell Tower / Office / Warehouse Leases

  • Prepare and negotiate leases for landlords and tenants, including sub-tenants
  • Prepare environmental covenants / indemnity agreements
  • Prepare documents related to collection and maintenance of security deposits
  • Enforce leases including removal of tenants upon default
  • Cell tower agreements

Land Development

  • Negotiate and prepare annexation agreements
  • Represent clients in contesting involuntary annexations
  • Negotiate and prepare development agreements
  • Advise clients as to applicability of statutes and ordinances and possible agreements to obtain exceptions to same
  • Represent clients in subdivision proceedings before local governmental bodies, including re-subdivision within existing developments
  • Represent clients in zoning proceedings before local governmental bodies
  • Represent clients in variance proceedings before boards of adjustment and boards of zoning appeals
  • Negotiate and represent clients in public financing transactions
  • Negotiate, prepare and obtain easements of all kinds, including, ingress/egress, utility, cross access, reciprocal easements
  • Represent clients in site plan proceedings before local governmental bodies
  • Prepare declarations of covenants and rules
  • Work with engineers and surveyors regarding preparation of plat and other development drawings and coordinate submission
  • Advise clients regarding compliance with applicable state, federal and local civil rights laws
  • Work with engineers and surveyors to resolve environmental issues related to real estate development
  • Work with engineers and surveyors in connection with traffic studies and the impact of new development in a community including traffic concerns
  • Negotiate and draft builder agreements and subcontractor agreements
  • Negotiate and draft documents related to dedication of roads, including agreements with government entities and other parties
  • Hold meetings and initiate conversations with community members regarding the impact of developments to gain support for approval by governmental bodies

Real estate Litigation

Successful prosecution and defense of claims pertaining to:

  • Adverse Possession, Prescriptive Easements, and Avigation Easements
  • Boundary disputes
  • Brokers’ commissions
  • Condominium Associations
  • Contract disputes
  • Defects and misrepresentation
  • Easement disputes
  • Eminent domain
  • Foreclosures
  • Landlord/tenant disputes
  • Lien priority disputes
  • Local code requirements
  • Mechanics liens
  • Nuisance
  • Partition
  • Pollution
  • Quiet Title (ownership disputes)
  • Rescission sales by or to trustees, receivers, assignees, and debtors in possession
  • Soundproofing
  • Specific performance trespass
  • Water and mineral rights
  • Wills and estates
  • Zoning


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