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Real Estate Development

Our Real Estate Development group has spent years building a unique expertise in just about every aspect of the development of real property.

From problems requiring the specialized assistance of our Land Use, Natural Resources & Environmental Law attorneys to the successful completion of the most unusual and challenging real estate transactions, we help our clients find the most direct route to, and creative solutions for, moving their projects forward. We bring an astute technical understanding of the law, strong relationships with regulatory officials, and the creative wherewithal to negotiate, structure and complete any transaction or project.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Real estate acquisition and disposition
  • Land Use Entitlements and zoning
  • Environmental Review, including Environmental Impact Statements, SEPA and NEPA compliance, and GMA compliance and appeals
  • Commercial or seller financing structuring issues
  • Complex transaction and corporate entity structuring
  • Shoreline Management Act issues
  • Wetlands and other sensitive areas
  • Endangered Species Act issues
  • Annexations
  • Title issues and title insurance
  • Conditional Use Permits, Variances and Nonconforming Use issues
  • Impact and Mitigation fees
  • Preparation and negotiation of financing documentation
  • Real property conveyancing and easements
  • Condominium formation groups and conversion
  • Construction and design contracts and related issues
  • Leasing
  • Litigation to obtain or defend permit and property right

Attorneys in the Real Estate Development group have represented clients in the following transactions:

  • Bellevue Towers. We represented Morgan Stanley, in its capacity as lead lender on a $275 million construction loan, in connection with its deed in lieu of foreclosure on the Bellevue Towers, a 540-unit condominium project located in Bellevue, Washington. We assisted Morgan Stanley on all facets of the matter over a two-year period, including all matters related to transition of project ownership and negotiation of their post-closing relationship with four other national and international co-lenders.
  • Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences. We represented the developer of the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, a premier mixed-used development in downtown Seattle. Our development work included property acquisition, land use entitlement and permitting, complex condominium documentation, contracting including hotel management agreements, and closing of more than $200 million in custom condominium units.
  • Escala Condominiums. We represented the developer in connection with a $250 million joint venture with Deutsche Bank to develop a 300-unit mixed-use condominium project located in downtown Seattle. Our work included assistance with acquisition, development and entitlement of the property, negotiation of the joint venture and equity investment with Deutsche Bank, serving as co-counsel in negotiating a $175 million construction loan with Fremont Bank, handling all legal aspects of the condominium documentation process, as well as compliance with the federal Interstate Land Sales Act.
  • Suncadia. We served as land use and development counsel for Trendwest’s development of this major, four season, mixed-use (residential, timeshare, hotel/resort and golf) destination resort on 6,200 acres in central Washington, now known as “Suncadia.” As development counsel, we set permitting strategies, obtained necessary land use approvals and entitlements, including negotiation of a 30-year development agreement for the resort, consulted on the development of, and successfully defended, the environmental impact statement for the resort and the land use approvals and entitlements in appeals filed by resort opponents. We also structured the Master CC&Rs which overlay condominium and single-family lot CC&Rs within the project.
  • Providence Health Systems & Services. We have assisted Providence and their affiliates with a variety of land use and real estate transactions throughout the Pacific Northwest, including: the acquisition of its new corporate headquarters in Renton, Washington; a multi-staged land swap in Everett, Washington with Everett Community College to allow for the expansion of its main hospital campus; development and lease-up of its new cancer treatment center; negotiation of construction contracts for a new $500 million hospital tower; and acquisition or leasing of additional properties in the region for expansion.
  • Bentall Kennedy and Multi-Employer Property Trust. We have represented this institutional real estate developer and investor for over ten years. Our work includes acquisition, development with a particular focus on leasing. We provide advice on the myriad of issues affecting its projects under construction, as well as its mature properties, including new leases, lease amendments, extensions, terminations, tenant improvement work letters, letters of credit, easements, evictions, construction contracts, and bankruptcy proceedings involving its tenants.
  • Columbia Center – Seattle. We represented Martin Selig Real Estate in permitting, financing, and construction of the 76-story Columbia Center, the tallest building in Seattle and the region since its completion in 1985, and for four years the tallest building west of the Mississippi. We created a strategy to grow the code-authorized 10-story building, up to 76-stories by providing several public amenities within three atriums at the base of the tower.
  • Center for Urban Waters. We represented the developer of the Center for Urban Waters, a LEED-platinum project (the highest possible LEED rating) that houses water research laboratories and offices for the University of Washington, the City of Tacoma Environmental Services, and the Puget Sound Partnership. Our representation included preparation and negotiation of the construction contract between the owner and the general contractor Turner, with emphasis on the unique requirements of IRS Revenue Ruling 63-20 tax-exempt bond financing in accordance with the development agreement between the owner and developer. The project received NAIOP’s Public Project of the Year Award in 2010.
  • Microsoft Corporation. We have represented Microsoft Corporation in the development of its World Headquarters in Redmond, consisting of more than twenty buildings constructed on the Main Campus area as well as satellite locations that comprise their West Campus. Issues on which we have helped Microsoft during development of their campuses include permit processing, traffic mitigation issues, resolution of neighborhood concerns, rezones, wetland impact mitigation, dedication of land for public facilities such as streets and transit centers, and working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to expand SR-520 and construct a new interchange. We recently assisted Microsoft in obtaining approval of a Development Agreement that will enable Microsoft to construct another two million square feet of office area on its Main and West Campuses.
  • Plum Creek and YarrowBay Holdings – Black Diamond. We assisted Plum Creek Timber Co., L.P., one of the largest landowners of timber property in the United States, in selling over 1,000 acres of property in and around the City of Black Diamond. In order to do that, we negotiated an innovative Urban Growth Area agreement with King County and the City of Black Diamond, and successfully defended that agreement before the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board. YarrowBay acquired the property in 2006. We now represent YarrowBay in obtaining entitlements and developing two Master Plan Developments within the City of Black Diamond totaling 6,050 residential units and 1.1 million square feet of commercial space.