• Real Estate

    Real Estate and Land Use 2014 TombstoneLaying a Sound Foundation for Real Estate Deals
    Real estate development—that’s what happens between the groundbreaking and the ribbon cutting, right? Seasoned real estate professionals know otherwise. A lot of issues have to be successfully managed to lay the groundwork for that moment when the shovel hits the dirt.

    Structuring a real estate project has become increasingly complex, especially in a changing economy. The challenges facing the world’s top developers, owners, investors, financial institutions and funds demand experienced and intelligent legal representation.

    Experience Built From the Ground Up
    Manatt has one of the largest Real Estate groups in the United States and our lawyers are, individually, among the top advisors in the nation. At every stage of the development process—from acquisition, financing and entitlement to construction and disposition—we put our transactional know-how, market insight and relationships to work to ensure the success of our clients’ projects.

    Our Real Estate team includes legal and nonlegal professionals who have themselves been commercial property owners, developers and mortgage banking executives; served as city attorneys, planning board members and local government regulators; worked in state governments; and served in federal agencies. This wealth of real-world experience better positions us to provide solutions to your greatest challenges.

    Our experience handling complex and cutting-edge matters, as well as our strong ties to investors, lenders, developers, regulators and government officials keep us at the forefront of industry developments. We are particularly adept at helping clients navigate the political and government landscape—the complex network of laws and regulations seeking to minimize environmental impacts.

    A Panoramic View of the Real Estate Landscape
    Our lawyers have counseled clients on virtually every type of real estate matter, including:

    • Acquisitions and dispositions
    • Development
    • Joint ventures
    • Secured loans
    • Mezzanine financing and preferred equity structures
    • Leasing
    • Property management and construction
    • Workouts and foreclosures
    • Reorganizations
    • Fund formations
    • Public offerings and private placements of debt and equity securities
    • Litigation

    Our land use practice is nationally known for its ability to tackle complex land use issues and to address the challenges of and opportunities for green development.

    Many of our lawyers were active players during the real estate recession of the early 1990s and the bursting of the real estate bubble in 2007. We bring the lessons learned to the advice we provide regarding distressed assets—from foreclosures and deeds in lieu, to workout structures and loan-portfolio sales, to the repositioning and disposition of REO assets.

    Our client roster is as diverse as the matters we handle and includes domestic and foreign lenders, investors, landlords and tenants, developers, contractors, not-for-profits and others in connection with the acquisition, planning, financing, development, leasing, lease auditing, syndication and disposition of real property.

    Our development work spans every product type and has taken our lawyers to every corner of the United States and a number of foreign countries. The projects have included hotel and resort developments, office buildings, single-family residential tracts and multifamily buildings (from luxury to affordable), shopping centers and power malls, industrial parks and mixed-use developments, dormitories, hospitals, community centers and museums.

    As part of a large, full-service firm, our real estate lawyers have frequent contact and often work closely with lawyers in such real estate-related practice areas as banking, corporate, environmental, securities, bankruptcy, litigation, eminent domain and government.

    Recognized for Our Handling of Complex Land Use Matters
    Both our Land Use practice and the attorneys who have made this their area of focus have been nationally recognized for our firm’s handling of many of California’s most challenging and sensitive entitlement matters.

    Land use matters can also raise some challenging environmental issues, such as protecting habitat and coastal resources, conservation and preservation of open space and protection of endangered species. We have confronted and successfully addressed these challenges, securing the necessary entitlements and approvals by first anticipating the hurdles and then strategically securing the support of staff, community activists and elected officials.

    At the Forefront of Green Development
    These days, there’s no shortage of incentives for sustainable, environmentally friendly building projects—just as there’s no question that green development requirements aren’t going away anytime soon.

    Manatt has demonstrated its commitment to green development by building one of the nation’s leading practices in this area. With several LEED-certified lawyers on our team, our knowledge of jurisdictional, legislative and code requirements and standards has helped our clients maximize their projects’ full profit potential. When it comes to green development, we’re anything but “green.” Our experience has included projects as diverse as “greening the big box” for an international retailer, creating a green power plant for an international energy company and developing sustainable communities.

    Areas of Focus

    Acquisition and Disposition of Real Estate

    Manatt's attorneys have an extensive knowledge of the real estate industry and deliver the highest quality transactional experience and market insight needed for a successful, expedited project. Our experience is not limited by the type of asset. Our projects involve a number of different types of properties, including raw land, commercial, retail, office, industrial, mixed-use, hotel, time share, golf course, winery, senior housing, health-care and resort properties. Manatt clients include domestic and foreign developers, institutional developers, pension funds, not-for-profits, landlords and tenants, lenders, regular and special servicers, borrowers, private investment funds, contractors and other parties involved in the acquisition, planning, financing, development, leasing, lease auditing, syndication and disposition of real property.  Read more  

    Affordable Housing

    Manatt's Affordable Housing Practice is comprised of the firm's corporate, real estate and tax attorneys who have broad experience in all aspects of development.  The firm's attorneys have represented clients involved with the financing and development of affordable housing since before the enactment of the low-income housing tax credit and have over 20 years of experience in representing real estate developers, lenders and tax credit equity investors in connection with the construction, rehabilitation, development and financing of affordable housing.  Our clients include for-profit and non-profit developers, investors, investment banks and other organizations in the full range of business activities relating to affordable housing development.  Read more 

    California Coastal Development

    Manatt has extensive experience representing clients in matters involving the California Coastal Act (the Coastal Act). Our attorneys can assist you with coastal development permitting issues, working with local agencies on drafting and obtaining certification of Local Coastal Programs, processing Local Coastal Program amendments, resolving Coastal Act violation and enforcement issues, and drafting Coastal Act legislation. Our projects have ranged from large industrial facilities such as a proposed liquefied natural gas facility off the coast of Oxnard, to large master-planned coastal developments such as Newport Coast, to individual homes and ranch sites along the coast. We have also worked with clients on obtaining the necessary local coastal development permits from cities and counties, as well as securing the required permits from the California Coastal Commission (the Coastal Commission).  Read more

    Development and Finance

    Manatt's real estate and land use lawyers have successfully shepherded the development of residential (condominiums, apartments, single-family and senior housing), commercial (retail stores and shopping centers, restaurants and fast-food chains, office buildings and business parks, healthcare facilities and fitness centers, hotels and resorts) and industrial and warehouse properties. Our experience provides you with the resources to handle a broad range of real estate development matters, including preacquisition strategic planning; subdivision of land; waterfront and wetlands permitting; brownfields and environmental issues; utilities, easements and dedications; variance and special use permits; site plan review; nonconforming uses and rezonings; and vested rights and grandfathered conditions.  Read more

    Educational Institution Real Estate

    Manatt, Phelps & Phillips' representation of colleges, universities, and other educational institutions spans a wide range of the firm's practice areas.  The firm includes lawyers who previously served as in-house counsel for a private university with extensive land holdings and others who practiced public law for government agencies; in those capacities, these attorneys provided ongoing advice to colleges and universities in a variety of contexts, including budgeting issues.  Several of Manatt's lawyers also have past and present experience serving on governing boards of educational institutions.  These lawyers bring a broad range of valuable experience and industry knowledge to its representation of educational institutions.  Others have served as senior directors of real estate campus and real estate investment portfolios in major universities.  In addition the firm's extensive healthcare practice enables its attorneys to provide expert advice to institutions with academic medical centers, teaching hospitals and other programs where education and healthcare issues overlap.  Read more

    Eminent Domain, Condemnation and Valuation

    While it may seem daunting to take on the government when it comes after your property, the state's power to exercise its eminent domain authority is not limitless. With effective and aggressive legal representation, it can be defeated-or at least held to its constitutional requirement to pay just compensation. Manatt's eminent domain, condemnation and property valuation lawyers have collectively handled hundreds of these matters on behalf of both property owners and tenants, successfully challenging the limits of the government's taking power and the adequacy of compensation in connection with road, rail and airport projects, dams and flood-control facilities, water lines and reservoirs, electricity transmission and distribution grids and other infrastructure and redevelopment projects; blight removal programs, public housing and school construction; defense installations and homeland security requirements; and parks and conservation areas. Read more

    Environmental Assessment, Mitigation and Regulatory Compliance

    Environmental degradation isn’t just bad for people, plants and animals; it’s bad for property owners and stakeholders—negatively affecting resale value, imposing significant compliance and remediation costs, and creating the risk of civil and criminal liability. To avoid or mitigate the legal, regulatory and economic impact of air and water pollution, habitat modification and overexploitation on your business or investment, it is essential to have an environmental assessment, mitigation and compliance lawyer in your corner who has extensive experience in compliance and strong relationships with regulators.  Read more


    The challenging economic, real estate and credit market conditions add up to great risk for those in the hospitality industry. Construction sites are silent; blueprints remain just that; and "go" projects can stop in an instant.  This volatile environment, however, offers tremendous opportunities for those with the experience and skill to evaluate, manage, and  develop them. That's where a seasoned legal team that can creatively navigate even the most complicated situations comes in.  Creativity and market experience can be the difference between a successful transaction and a failed effort.  Read more


    Manatt represents landlords and tenants in the leasing of commercial space and unimproved land. We have successfully negotiated and drafted every form of lease for a broad range of clients, including shopping malls and big-box retailers, office and professional buildings, manufacturing facilities and industrial warehouses, restaurants and movie theaters, and agricultural and farmland.  Read more

    Master-Planned Communities

    In contrast to traditional communities that have evolved in an ad hoc fashion, master-planned communities usually start from a blank slate-undeveloped land-and require careful planning from the start to accommodate all the amenities they typically include: schools, pools, parks, golf courses, marinas, small retail businesses, professional services providers, restaurants, convenience stores and doctors' offices. They also require the assistance of lawyers who are experienced in resolving the unique legal issues and problems developers face in the land use planning and development of such communities.  Read more 

    Residential Development & Finance

    The lawyers at Manatt are strong in the representation of capital sources for residential real estate development and construction projects, which includes extensive representation of commercial banks in their construction lending activities.  We also have extensive experience representing Wall Street investment houses, opportunity funds, pension advisors and other investors in a wide variety of joint ventures, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, participating and mezzanine debt and other types of investments in entitled and unentitled land development deals, acquisition and development projects, housing joint ventures and apartment and other multifamily developments, including condominium conversions.  Read more 

    Restructuring and Workouts

    The terms "real estate" and "restructuring" have been practically synonymous since the financial crisis of 2008, and the sector is likely to go through more pain before things improve. On the plus side, the bust has created opportunities. Whether you want out or in, top flight legal counsel is a must. Manatt's real estate workouts and restructurings team has a long history representing lenders, investors, owners, and developers in all aspects of troubled or non-performing real estate assets, as well as in the reorganization of partnership and landlord-tenant relationships. Working with the firm's corporate, tax, bankruptcy, and capital markets practices, our real estate workout and restructuring lawyers have negotiated, mediated or litigated effective and often innovative solutions to a wide array of debtor-creditor challenges.      Read More


    Manatt attorneys have a broad background in all areas of finance, real estate and land use relevant to the vineyard, wine and beverage industries.  Our professionals are among the premier real estate and development advisors in the nation.  They deliver the transactional experience, market insight and advocacy necessary to the completion of successful and expeditious projects, from land acquisition through financing, vineyard development, entitlement, construction, leasing and disposition.  Our real estate practitioners are effective because they combine in-depth knowledge of the vineyard, wine and beverage industries with their in-depth knowledge of the law.  Read more

    Attorneys & Professionals

    Abghari, Payvand Orange County 714.338.2747
    Allen-Niesen, Keith M. Los Angeles 310.312.4105
    Burt, Christopher Los Angeles 310.312.4194
    Cheng, Adria I. San Francisco 415.291.7438
    Dombroski, Matthew A. New York 212.790.4556
    Eastman, James F. San Francisco 415.291.7436
    Edwards, Steve Orange County 714.371.2546
    Eller, Robert M. Los Angeles 310.312.4338
    Gangsei, Paul A. New York 212.830.7213
    Gantz, Clayton B. San Francisco 415.291.7600
    Grable, Roger A. Orange County 714.371.2537
    Hallem, Timi Anyon Los Angeles 310.312.4217
    Hong, Hana R. Los Angeles 310.312.4112
    Kim, Terry N. New York 212.790.4514
    Laffer, Lisa M. Los Angeles 310.312.4248
    Larkin, Carlos New York 212.790.4564
    Lee, Diana J. New York 212.830.7246
    Levin, Elizabeth P. Los Angeles 310.312.4201
    Lindsey, Renee B. Los Angeles 310.231.5557
    Meraj, Jubin Los Angeles 310.312.4125
    Muller, Tom Los Angeles 310.312.4171
    Pearlstein, Marv San Francisco 415.291.7439
    Polentz, Michael Palo Alto 650.251.1440
    Sabine, Anita Los Angeles 310.312.4131
    Salis, Adam R. Orange County 714.371.2529
    Schultz, Andrew E. New York 212.790.4528
    Steere, Martin E. Los Angeles 310.312.4110
    Tecimer, Dina Los Angeles 310.312.4293
    Triana, Ray F. San Francisco 415.291.7442
    Winters, Grace D. Los Angeles 310.312.4136
    Yang, Grace S. San Francisco 415.291.7448

    Real Estate

    Representative Clients

    • Carmel Partners
    • CityView
    • Dignity Health
    • Facebook, Inc.
    • Jay Paul Company
    • Kennedy Wilson
    • Lowe Enterprises, Inc.
    • The Macerich Company
    • PIMCO
    • Trader Joe’s Company

    Real Estate

    Representative Matters

    • Jay Paul Company in a loan to refinance the first phase of construction for Google’s new office campus in Sunnyvale, California; and a loan to finance the construction of 181 Fremont in San Francisco, California.
    • Hunter Properties in site aggregation and entitlements for Deport Square and Crossing 900, a 300,000-square-foot groundbreaking mixed-use office and retail project, in downtown Redwood City, California; and the acquisition of a site for development of the San Jose/Highline Project, a mixed-use 1.5-million-square-foot office, retail and hospitality project.
    • Macerich in the acquisition of a 50 percent interest in The Gallery at Market East in downtown Philadelphia; and a joint venture with Lennar Corp. to develop a luxury outlet mall as the anchor of a redevelopment of San Francisco’s Candlestick Point.
    • Carmel Partners in the negotiation of the purchase and sale documentation and due diligence for the acquisition of a 13.55-acre site to be developed as a multifamily residential community in Fremont, California.
    • GPI Companies in the acquisition of a 12,000-square-foot corner retail building with over 250 feet of frontage on San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood, California; and the financing for an undeveloped 30,000-square-foot parcel of land in Beverly Hills, California.
    • CityView in the sale of a 160-unit property in Long Beach, California; construction loan for the development of an apartment project in Los Angeles, California; and refinancing of an apartment and condominium project in Boulder, Colorado.
    • Overton Moore Properties in a negotiation of two 34-year leases with two national fast-food restaurant chains in Chatsworth, California.
    • PlumpJack Group in the zoning, approvals and negotiation of two joint venture agreements related to the redevelopment of the Squaw Valley Inn in North Lake Tahoe, California.
    • Avanath in the purchase and financing of a 101-unit multifamily property in Los Angeles, California; a 176-unit multifamily property in Naples, Florida; and a 212-unit multifamily property in Sacramento, California.
    • Ronald (Getty) Family Trust A in the sale of a five-star hotel, single-family home, fractional interest, spa and retail/restaurant project in Napa County, California.
  • Awards & Rankings

    logo/img/@altRanked in California for Real Estate Law 2009–2015

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally in Tier 1 for Real Estate Law 2014–2015

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally for Real Estate Law 2012–2015