Dennis W. Hillier, founding partner of the law firm Hillier & Associates, P. A., concentrates his practice on corporate and real estate law, with emphasis on the design of club membership programs. Dennis is recognized as the pioneer in the industry of equity club conversions and membership programs. During the past 30 years, he has designed more than 1,800 membership programs throughout the United States, Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific Rim. Dennis has designed these programs for a wide variety of developments encompassing a broad range of amenities and target markets, including golf, tennis, equestrian, yacht and social facilities for communities with low density and permanent residents, to resort-oriented communities.
Dennis also has wide-ranging experience in preparing the legal infrastructure for residential and resort developments, including property owners association documents, declaration of restrictive covenants, sales contracts and sales registration requirements, real estate acquisition and disposition agreements, and environmental compliance plans.
His knowledge of the hospitality industry also includes preparing management, operational, franchise, financing and refinancing, and recreational access agreements for resorts.
Areas of Concentration
· Recreation and hospitality practice
· Real estate
Professional & Community Involvement
· Member, American Bar Association
· Member, Florida Bar Association
· Member, Palm Beach County Bar Association
· Member, Urban Land Institute
· Member, National Club Association
· Member, National Golf Foundation
Awards & Recognition
· Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2007-2014
· Team Member, The Legal 500 United States, "Top Tier" Firm in Real Estate, 2013
· Member, Winning Team, Chambers USA Award for Excellence, Real Estate, 2010 and 2013
· Team Member, a Law360 "Real Estate Practice Group of the Year," 2011 and 2012
· Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5
· Represented developers in selling more than 200 clubs to the members by converting the club to an equity club that owns and operates the club facilities.
· Created club membership programs that have enabled developers to recoup their investment in recreational facilities in conjunction with real estate and club membership sales.
· Designed and created club membership programs that are an integral part of private residence clubs.
· Obtained significant rulings and Technical Advice Memoranda from the Internal Revenue Service indicating that certain types of membership deposits paid by members to acquire a club membership are nontaxable loans and are not subject to interest imputation requirements.
· Obtained no action letters from the Securities and Exchange Commission and state securities agencies indicating that club membership programs do not require a securities registration.
· Represented owners and developers with regard to hotel franchise and management agreements.
· Represented lenders in the securitization of loans regarding club membership programs.
· Created a database, including market research, regarding more than 4,000 clubs and golf courses that are used for recommending amenity strategies and designing club membership programs.
· Developed long-term business strategies for developers, resort owners and companies in the golf and club industry.
· Club marketing group developed marketing plans for clubs, and conducted training sessions to instruct cub sales personnel in implementing sales and marketing strategies.
· Legal Writing Instructor, University of Florida Levin College of Law
Publications & Presentations
Articles, Lectures & Publications
· Author, "The Future of the Club Industry," The Club Marketing Report, May 1996
· Lecturer, MPC Forum, RCL Co, Denver, 2004
· Lecturer, Golf Resort Dev., Orlando, 2003, Scottsdale 2003, Naples, 2004
· Lecturer, "Golf Club Structures for a New Generation of Buyers," ULI, Phoenix, 2003
· Lecturer, "The Life Cycle of a Golf Course Community," Marketing and Sales Institute, Scottsdale, 2003
· Lecturer, "Current Developments in the Club Industry," Hilton Head, 2003
· Lecturer, "Developing Master Planned and Resort Communities," ULI, New Port Beach, CA, June 2002
· Lecturer, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, March 2002
· Lecturer, "Developing Golf Courses and Communities," ULI, Rancho Mirage, February 2002
· Lecturer, CLE International, Golf Mountain & Resort Dev. Conf., Beaver Creek, CO, 1999, 2000, Sarasota and Vail, 2002
· Lecturer, "Golf Course Ownership and Operating Strategies," ALIS, Hollywood, CA, February 2002
· Lecturer, "Raising Capital Through Resort Memberships," Lodging Conference, Phoenix, AZ, January 2002
· Lecturer, Smart Golf and Community Development, University of Colorado at Boulder, April 2001
· Lecturer, "Developing Golf Course Communities," Urban Land Institute, Charleston, February 2001
· Lecturer, Builder Magazine Active Adult Workshop, Naples, FL, 1999
· Lecturer, "Breakout - Current Developments in Club Industry," Fort Lauderdale, 1997
· Lecturer, "Innovative Golf Club Structures, Different Types of Memberships: How Do They Enhance a Project," Linking Golf to Real Estate Conference, Silverado, CA, 1996
· Lecturer, "Special Considerations For Country Clubs," Florida Institute of CPA's, Orlando, 1996
· Lecturer, "Designing a Membership Program - 14 Keys to Success," Recreation & Resort Development Conference, Atlanta, 1996
· Lecturer, "Public Policy, Community Support and The Permitting Process," Wharton Real Estate Center, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996
· Lecturer, "Golf Lures Wall Street into the Resort Business," Resort Forum, San Antonio, 1995
· Lecturer, "When To Turn Control Over to the Homeowners Association" Institute for International Research Developing a Golf Course Community, Hilton Head, 1995
· Lecturer, "Linking Golf to Real Estate Development," Palm Springs, 1994
· Lecturer, "How to Avoid Taxes on Membership Sales," Crittenden Golf Expo, Atlanta, 1994
· Lecturer, "Development Opportunities in the Caribbean," 1993, Puerto Rico, 1994
· Lecturer, "Feasibility Issues -Infrastructure Financing," Urban Land Institute, 1993
· Lecturer, "Mixed Use Resort Communities", 1993
· Lecturer, "Marketing Club Membership Programs," Resort Golf, Country Club & Marina Development Conference, Mexico City, 1993
· Lecturer, "Building A Club Membership At Your Club or Hotel," MIPIM Conference, Cannes, France, 1993
· Lecturer, "Club Structures," Linking Real Estate to Golf Course Development, 1992
· Lecturer, "Real Estate Opportunities South of the Border," Urban Land Institute, 1992
· Lecturer, "Alternate Resort Products That Create Value," Urban Land Institute, 1992
· Lecturer, "Maximizing Return from Resort/Club Memberships," 1992
· Lecturer, "New Variations From Traditional Timesharing," American Resort & Residential Development Association, Annual Resort Convention, 1991-1992
· Lecturer, "Destination Resorts-Trends & Innovations," Sasaki Assoc. Inc. Conference, 1991
· Lecturer, "Alternative Interval Programs," ARDA Annual Resort Convention, 1991
· Lecturer, "Maximizing Return From Resort/Club Memberships," International Golf Development & Investment Conference, Monte Carlo, 1991
· Lecturer, Pacific Rim Conference (Pannell Kerr Forster), 1991
· Lecturer, "Golf Course Development in South Florida," 1990
· Lecturer, Urban Land Institute Symposium, Golf Expo 90
· Lecturer, Concept et Maintenance De Terrains De Golf, Geneva, Switzerland, 1990
(Also at West Palm Beach Office)