Manatt Adds Experienced Land Use Partner to Expanding Real Estate Capabilities

Fernando Villa brings sophisticated land use, regulatory, real estate and litigation experience to help clients secure entitlements while mitigating development risk

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, a multidisciplinary, integrated professional services firm, announced today that Fernando Villa has joined as a Land Use partner in the Firm’s Energy, Environmental and Real Estate group in Los Angeles. He has extensive experience advising clients on entitlements and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review for complex development projects and on reducing exposure to environmental liabilities.

“Our rapidly growing Energy, Environmental and Real Estate group works on some of the most complicated projects touching almost every corner of commercial, industrial, retail, residential, hospitality, educational, health care, infrastructure, energy, alternative energy and mixed-use real estate projects while also advising clients across the evolving mosaic of local, state and federal regulations,” said Donna L. Wilson, CEO and Managing Partner of Manatt. “Fernando thrives at this intersection of business insight and regulatory acumen, deepening our bench of professionals working on some of the most cutting-edge real estate and land use issues both in California and across the country.”

Villa’s entitlement work spans industrial, mixed-use, residential, commercial and retail developments. He is particularly experienced with Brownfield redevelopment, combining his real estate development knowledge with his deep understanding of environmental regulations to help clients complete projects while mitigating environmental risks.

“We are thrilled to welcome Fernando and his comprehensive understanding of the real estate development landscape that affects virtually all real estate deals in California,” said Manatt Real Estate Leader Michael Polentz. “As we continue to strategically expand our broader industry team and national capabilities, his nuanced background in real estate, development and environmental regulation will deepen our Land Use practice, which is led by Partner Victor De la Cruz, and reinforce Manatt’s position as a trusted adviser for clients looking to secure necessary entitlements, permits and approvals to successfully complete complex real estate projects.”

“I have long respected Manatt’s impressive team, especially across its land use and real estate capabilities, and have had the pleasure of working alongside various Manatt professionals in the past,” Villa said. “I’m excited to be part of a team that values collaboration and client service and is dedicated to staying ahead of the curve to understand the full picture of what real estate stakeholders are working on every day.”

Manatt has been steadily and purposefully expanding its related real estate capabilities across the country with Impact Investing and Community Development Partners Corenia Riley Burlingame and John Dalton joining in the Firm’s Washington, D.C., office and Sameer Patel in Chicago, and Hospitality and Leisure Leader Lynn K. Cadwalader joining as partner in San Francisco. Villa’s arrival follows closely behind that of Washington, D.C., Partners Nicholas (Nick) Bath Jr. and Bezalel (Bez) Stern in the Firm’s Health and Consumer Protection groups, respectively. Other recent hires this year include Government and Regulatory Partner Cassie Prugh, Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement Counsel Sherli Furst, and Manatt Health National Advisor Dr. Troyen (Troy) A. Brennan and Director Tracy A. Massel.

Villa received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.



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