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John W. Hempelmann

Attorney

John is one of the founding partners and the Chairman of Cairncross & Hempelmann, a full service Seattle law firm.  He has over 40 years of experience as a land use, natural resources and real estate development attorney.  He has worked extensively to help form the legislation that governs Washington’s land use law. John assists clients with real estate development projects, including their land use, zoning and environmental matters, and with their natural resource permit processes. 

Introduction

John is one of the founding partners and the Chairman of Cairncross & Hempelmann, a full service Seattle law firm.  He has over 40 years of experience as a land use, natural resources and real estate development attorney.  He has worked extensively to help form the legislation that governs Washington’s land use law. John assists clients with real estate development projects, including their land use, zoning and environmental matters, and with their natural resource permit processes. 

Experience & Results

  • Landmark commercial, mixed-use, hotel, residential and institutional urban developments
  • The Pine Forest TOD Master Development Plan – a million square feet at the Sound Transit East Link 120th Avenue Station
  • Major open space, conservation and TDR transactions in Washington and Maine
  • Development of Suncadia (Washington’s first master planned resort)
  • Development of the first Major Industrial Development under the provisions of the State Growth Management Act
  • Major mineral resource developments

Education

  • Georgetown University (B.A., Honors Program, 1964)
  • Georgetown University (M.A., Government, 1969)
  • University of Washington (J.D., 1969)

Admissions

  • Washington
  • Washington State Supreme Court
  • US District Court, Western District of Washington
  • US District Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • US Supreme Court

Awards/Honors and Organizational Memberships

  • Named Best Lawyers® Litigation-Real Estate "Lawyer of the Year" in Seattle (2018 and 2014)
  • Urban Land Institute, Transit Oriented Development Council, Chair
  • Henry M. Jackson Foundation, President, Board of Governors
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Land Use & Zoning Law since 2010
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Litigation - Land Use & Zoning since 2010
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Litigation - Real Estate since 2010
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Natural Resources Law since 2010
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Real Estate Law since 2010
  • LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, National Steering Committee, Member
  • Forterra, Strong Communities Fund, Board Member
  • Top Ranked in Washington State by Chambers USA, in the area of Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Top Business Lawyer Award Recipient, Seattle Business Magazine
  • Top Business Lawyer in Land Use & Zoning Law Award Recipient, Seattle Business Magazine
  • BTI Client Service All-Stars Award Recipient, The BTI Consulting Group
  • Named on the Washington Super Lawyers list by Super Lawyers® Magazine since 2000
  • Named on the Top 100 Washington Super Lawyers list by Super Lawyers® Magazine
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Land Use and Zoning, The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel Magazines
  • Top Lawyer Award Recipient, Seattle Magazine
  • Top Lawyer - Real Estate Award Recipient, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine
  • Top Business Lawyer in Real Estate Law Award Recipient, Seattle Business Magazine
  • League of Justice - Environmental & Land Use Award Recipient, Washington CEO Magazine
  • Top 100 Attorneys Award Recipient, Washington CEO Magazine
  • Butch Blum Award of Excellence, Legal Arena Award Recipient
  • Distinguished Service Award Recipient, Seattle Junior Chamber of Commerce
  • Seattle Power 60 Award Recipient, 2013, Bisnow
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent 5.0 out of 5
  • Urban Land Institute, Northwest District Council, Former Vice Chair and Executive Committee
  • Up for Growth National Coalition, Member
  • Quality Growth Alliance, Chair
  • Seattle Community Development Roundtable, Former Chair
  • Puget Sound Regional Council, Growing Transit Communities Oversight Committee, Member
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Member
  • Association of Washington Business, Environmental Affairs Council, Land Use Committee, Regulatory Reform Committee, and Transportation Committee, Member
  • Washington Forest Protection Association, Legal Advisor
  • Seattle Repertory Theater, Trustee Emeritus and Past Chairman of the Board of Trustees
  • Crozier Society, Archdiocese of Seattle, Member
  • Leadership Committee of the Alaskan Way Viaduct/Seawall Coalition, Former Member
  • Urban Land Institute, Reality Check 2008, Land Use & Transportation Program, Former Co-Chair
  • Legal Trust of the Building Industry Association of Washington, Former Chairman
  • Center for Environmental Policy, Former Advisory Board Member
  • Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, Former Board Member
  • Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties Growth Management Task Force, Former Chair
  • Washington Parks Foundation, Former President
  • Washington State CTED/Ecology SEPA/GMA Task Force, Former Member
  • Choose An Effective City Council (CHECC), Former President
  • King County Neighbors In Need, Former President

Publications/Speaking Engagements

  • “John Carroll Weekend Seattle 2018 – Amazon in the City,” Georgetown University, Seattle, WA, Panelist, April 12, 2018
  • “Seattle State of the Market: The New Era of the Emerald City and Leadership of the Pacific Rim,” Bisnow, Seattle, WA, Moderator, September 26, 2017
  • “Developers Assemble! ST3 & Beyond,” Urban Land Institute, Seattle, WA, Moderator, March 22, 2017
  • “The SEPA Appeal Process: A Big Problem for Everyone,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, Moderator, January 13, 2017
  • “Crafting GMA – What We Thought We Were Creating and Why,” American Planning Association, Washington Chapter, Seattle, WA, Panelist, November 13, 2015
  • "Who is in the Forefront of Transit Oriented Development?," NAIOP, July Breakfast Program, Seattle, WA, Moderator, July 16, 2014
  • "Energy Efficiency Financing for Commercial Buildings," Cairncross & Hempelmann, Seattle, WA, Moderator, July 3, 2014
  • “Developers Roundtable,” Rail~Volution, Building Livable Communities with Transit Conference, Seattle, WA, Panelist, October 20-23, 2013
  • “Rebuilding the City – Transit Orientated Development,” Urban Land Institute British Columbia’s Fifth Annual YLG Cascadia Regional Conference,” Vancouver, British Columbia, Panelist, July 26, 2013
  • “Reducing Federal Deficits: It’s Time for Housing Finance Reform,” Urban Land Institute’s “Housing Opportunity 2013,” Seattle, WA, Panelist, March 21, 2013
  • “Seattle Transit-Oriented Development Summit,” Bisnow, Seattle, WA, Panelist, December 19, 2012
  • “Seattle State of the Market,” Bisnow, Seattle, WA, Moderator, October 30, 2012
  • “Transit and Transit-Oriented Development Perspectives in the Puget Sound Region,” Transportation for America’s “Thinking Outside the Farebox: Creative Approaches to Financing Transit and Transit-Oriented Development Projects,” Seattle, WA, Moderator, October 4, 2012
  • “Future of Bellevue Real Estate,” Bisnow, Seattle, WA, Moderator, June 14, 2012
  • “From a Developer’s Perspective: Transportation Ballot Initiatives” and “Tools to combat NIMBYism and encourage YIMBYism,” LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, Washington, DC, June 7, 2012
  • “From a Handout to a Handshake: Shifting the Real Estate Paradigm on Innovative Financing,” LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, Washington, DC, June 6, 2012
  • “Facilitating Transit Oriented Communities Around High Capacity Transit Hubs in Central Puget Sound,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, Moderator, March 16, 2012
  • “Seattle Multifamily Summit,” Bisnow, Seattle, WA, Moderator, December 7, 2011
  • “Mr. Hopeful,” Washington Law & Politics Magazine’s Washington Super Lawyers 2011, July 2011
  • “New Economic Alliance Between Environmental and Business Interests,” The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA, March 25, 2011
  • “SEPA & NEPA,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, January 12, 2011
  • “Developing Wind Power in the Northwest,” The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA, November 12 & 13, 2009
  • “Transit Oriented Development,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, September 18, 2009
  • “Green or Sustainable Construction,” Lorman Education Services, Seattle, WA, March 24, 2009
  • “Growth Management Act 2008,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, December 15 & 16, 2008
  • “Growth Management,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, WA, November 14 & 15, 2005
  • “Zoning & Land Use in Washington,” Lorman Business Center, September 27, 2002
  • Real Property Deskbook – Chapter 96 – Comprehensive Plans – co-written with Staci Jeske
  • Real Property Deskbook – Chapter 105 – Housing – co-written with Janet Garrow
  • “Permitting/Land Use - Successful Permitting Strategies,” March 25 & 26, 1999
  • “Using the Initiative Process to Call a Constitutional Convention in Washington,” Washington Law Review, 1971