Partner, Real Estate Department
Co-Chair, Alternative Energy & Sustainable Development Practice Group
Member, Environmental Practice Group
Member, Redevelopment Practice Group
Mr. Fersko joined the firm in January 2012. He was previously chair of the Real Estate & Redevelopment practice group at Farer Fersko. Mr. Fersko's practice reflects his extensive experience as a commercial real estate and general business lawyer. His legal services emphasize industrial and commercial real estate activities, sustainable development initiatives such as solar energy projects, urban redevelopment, financing, and the impact of environmental laws on commercial transactions.
Mr. Fersko has successfully negotiated many real estate agreements involving complex environmental transactional issues and related insurance agreements. He counsels clients on transactional issues and funding options related to green building and solar development and the impact of these initiatives on leases and other agreements, including the negotiation and drafting of Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreements (EPC) and Power Purchase (PPA) Agreements.
Since the 1990's, Mr. Fersko has been coordinating, moderating and lecturing at comprehensive annual seminars addressing a variety of transactional and leasing issues for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education. Throughout his career, he has chaired and presented programs for groups including the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, NAIOP, the American and New Jersey State Bar Associations and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Mr. Fersko has also been a guest lecturer at Monmouth University's Kislak Real Estate Institute, and has been invited to lecture at New York University and Columbia University's graduate school real estate programs.
· As part of one of the largest portfolio sales of industrial real estate to be completed in New Jersey in several years, Mr. Fersko, along with partners Regina E. Schneller and Kenneth T. Bills, represented affiliated entities of Avidan Management LLC as the sellers of approximately 2.6 million square feet of office and warehouse space located in South Brunswick, Edison, Elizabeth and Bayonne. The high-value transaction, which closed in late August 2012, involved the acquisition of a nine-building portfolio of properties, including office, light industrial, cold storage and bulk distribution space, by Cohen Asset Management Inc., an industrial and commercial real estate investment firm. Mr. Fersko and his team negotiated five power purchase agreements covering over 6 MWs of solar production on behalf of Avidan, a leading solar developer in the New Jersey market who has worked closely with our real estate group on a number of alternative energy projects in the past. The deal was closed in 2012 and the project led to the team being named Finalists for the Industrial Deal of the Year by NAIOP New Jersey Chapter in 2013.
· Mr. Fersko was part of the team and provided real estate related support in the firm's successful representation of plaintiff Des Champs Laboratories in Des Champs Laboratories, Inc. v. Martin, 2012 N.J. Super. LEXIS 115 (App. Div. 2012), in which the Court struck down an unauthorized regulation of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) which threatened to significantly increase clean up obligations under the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) for businesses using very small amounts of hazardous substances. The case was argued in court by Daniel L. Schmutter, partner in the Litigation Department.
· Mr. Fersko lead a team of lawyers as real estate, land use and public finance counsel to private equity firm KTR Capital Partners in its 2011 acquisition of the iPort 12 International Trade and Logistics Center in Carteret, New Jersey. The 70 acre former brownfield site and prior municipal solid waste landfill was redeveloped in 2007. Representation addressed a broad range of issues including those related to right of access and title, the transfer of permits, and the transfer of access rights, a process which required extensive negotiations with multiple public and quasi-public entities. Mr. Fersko also negotiated and orchestrated the assignment, assumption and amendment of existing public financing through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) and the NJDEP, which was secured by Payments in Lieu of Taxes pursuant to a financial agreement under New Jersey's long term tax exemption law. This process required approvals from the Borough of Carteret, the Carteret Redevelopment Agency, the EIT (subject to the Governor's right of veto), and the Commissioner of the NJDEP. KTR's acquisition of the 1.26 million square foot warehouse space included the negotiation of a short sale with the original developer's lender and the assumption of public financing originally obtained to fund environmental remediation of the site.
· Mr. Fersko played a key role throughout the planning, financing and construction phases of one of the country's largest roof-mounted solar energy installations with his representation of Avidan Energy Solutions in its development of a massive 4.26 megawatt solar energy system in Edison, NJ. Mr. Fersko spearheaded negotiation of an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) agreement, handled the review and negotiation of related warranties and agreements covering roof contracting and system services and maintenance, and coordinated real estate debt financing for the project. Representation also included oversight of an application for federal grant money, advising on the sale of solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), and implementation of a power purchase agreement (PPA). The completed rooftop solar array, which covers 650,000 square feet and draws power from approximately 18,000 photovoltaic solar panels, was designed to generate enough solar power to meet approximately 50 percent of the facility's 1 million kilowatt hour monthly energy needs, effectively reducing the building's carbon footprint by half and significantly reducing tenants' operating expenses by bringing down energy costs.
Professional Activities / Honors
· fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL); past Chair of Changes in the Profession Task Force Committee; Chair of Energy Subcommittee of Land Use and Environmental Committee; past Chair of Land Use and Environmental Committee; past member of the Board of Governors.
· National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAIOP): former Chair and 2012 member of national NAIOP Environmental and Infrastructure Committee; co-Chair NAIOP-NJ Legal Committee; member of NAIOP-NJ Energy & Sustainability Committee; member of NAIOP-NJ Legislative Affairs Committee; past member of NAIOP-NJ Board of Trustees; recipient of NAIOP-NJ 2006 Industry Service Award; recipient of NAIOP-NJ 2005 President's Award.
· American Bar Association: member of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section; member of Corporate Sponsorship Committee; Chair of Government Submissions Task Force; member of Green Leasing Task Force; past-Chair of RPTE Section Leasing Group.
· New Jersey State Bar Association: member of Renewable Energy, Cleantech and Climate Change Committee.
· Member of the Executive Committee of the Industrial and Office Real Estate Brokers Association (IOREBA).
· Former State Director and Legislative Affairs Committee member of the New Jersey Home Builders Association.
· Former Director of the Community Builders Association.
· Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent.
· Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA - America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use practice area.
· Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Real Estate Law, since 2007.
· Listed in New Jersey Super Lawyers in the Real Estate practice area, since 2005; as one of New Jersey's Top 100 Lawyers, since 2010.
· Selected for inclusion in "Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers - Real Estate 2013".
· Profiled in "Meet the Lawyers" as one of New Jersey's leading real estate lawyers by Real Estate New Jersey Magazine (2007, 2008).
· Past President of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange, NJ.
Publications / Articles / Presentations
· Moderator, "Protecting the Owner: Construction Insurance On A High-Rise Office Building," ACRELive Program, September 25, 2013.
· Speaker, "Structuring Solar Development Financing, Leasing and Operating Agreements for Commercial Properties," Strafford Webinar, September 19, 2013.
· Presenter, "The Art of the Deal: Navigating Issues in Commercial Real Estate Law," NJICLE, May 23, 2013.
· Panelist, "Solar Panel Siting Negotiations: Leasing and Land Use Issues and Special Considerations for Government Property," 24th Annual Spring CLE Symposia, American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, Washington, DC, May 3, 2013.
· Faculty Member, "Harvesting Income from Solar Development: Incentives, Documentation and Financing," ALI CLE and ACREL Webinar, April 25, 2013.
· Presenter, "Stick It Where The Sun Shines: Solar Development as the Next Real Estate Frontier," ACREL Spring Meeting, March 2013.
· Author, "Solar Generation: The Development of the Next Real Estate Frontier," The ACREL Papers, Spring 2013.
· Presenter, "Complex Issues in Commercial Real Estate Law," NJICLE, December 2012.
· Co-Chair and Faculty, "Commercial Leasing for the Smaller Client," NJICLE, December 2011.
· Co-Chair and Faculty, "Sophisticated Commercial Real Estate Practice - Purchase, Sale, Leasing, Environmental, Land Use Issues & More," NJICLE, March 2011.
· Co-Chair and Faculty, "An Introduction to Commercial Leasing," NJICLE, December 2010.
· Lecturer, "Renewable Energy Update 2010: Practical Information to Consider before Jumping In," NAIOP-NJ Seminar, October 2010.
· Lecturer, "Confronting Issues of Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate Development Agreements," NAIOP Center For Education Webinar, September 2010.
· Author, "Insurance Issues Affecting Green Development," Probate & Property Magazine, American Bar Association, September/October 2010.
· Editor and Contributing Author, "Commercial Real Estate Transactions in New Jersey: Volume I and II," New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 3rd Edition 2010.
· Contributing Author, "Brownfields - A Comprehensive Guide to Redeveloping Contaminated Property" - Chapter 15: "Environmental Insurance in Brownfield Transactions: Issues and Answers," American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, 3rd Edition 2010.
· Contributing Author, "The Commercial Lease Formbook," American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, 2nd Edition 2010.
· Co-Chair and Faculty, "Commercial Real Estate Transactions: From Handshake to Closing Table," NJICLE, May 2009.
· Contributing Author, "Commercial Real Estate Transactions Handbook" - Chapter 12: "Environmental Issues in Commercial Real Estate Sales and Leases," Aspen Publishers, 4th Edition 2009.
· Moderator and Program Coordinator, "In-Depth Commercial Real Estate Practice - Part III: Title Insurance, Finance, ADR, Tax Strategies, 1031 Exchanges & Condos," NJCLE, October 2007.
· Lecturer, "What Every Leasing Attorney Needs to Know About Insurance," ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Annual Meeting, September 2007.
· Co-Chair and Faculty, "An Introduction to Commercial Leasing," NJICLE, July 2007.
· Moderator and Program Coordinator, "In-Depth Commercial Real Estate Practice - Part II: Leasing, Construction & Insurance Issues," NJCLE, May 2007.
· Moderator and Program Coordinator, "In-Depth Commercial Real Estate Practice - Part 1: Purchase, Sale, Environmental and Land Use Issues," NJCLE, December 2006.
· Co-Author, "Condemnation: The Impact of Environmental Contamination on Property Valuation," American College of Real Estate Lawyers Program Materials, 2006.
· Workshop Chair, "New Challenges for Urban Development - The Changing Landscape of Condemnation & Redevelopment," ACREL Annual Meeting, 2005.
· Moderator, "Commercial Real Estate Transactions: From Handshake to Closing Table," NJICLE, November 2005.
· Co-Author, "Using Environmental Insurance in Commercial Real Estate Transactions," International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference Materials, 2002.
· Program Chair, "Managing Environmental Risks Through Insurance," ABA Real Property Symposium, April 2002.
· Author, "Addressing Environmental Issues in Real Estate Transactions," New Jersey Real Estate Practice for Paralegals, Half Moon LLC, 2001.
· Co-Author, "The Emerging Role of Environmental Insurance in Commercial Real Estate Transactions: Issues and Answers," The ACREL Papers, 2000.
· Author, "Repair Covenants: The Jekyll and Hyde of Leases," Probate & Property, January/February 1998.