Practice/Industry Group Overview
A growing need for infrastructure is being felt in communities throughout the Pacific Northwest, yet federal funds are shrinking and municipalities are reluctant to raise taxes. As development costs continue to escalate, private developers increasingly are partnering with public entities.
When it comes to forging a bridge between public and private interests, the balance is delicate, the stakes are high and the skills are rare. Subsidies needed by private entities to fill the gap and make mixed-use, commercial and industrial projects economically feasible are crucial. At the same time, fears of costly delays and public controversy are very real. That is why private and public entities alike are seeking the counsel of experienced law firms to establish these partnerships and make sure they work.
Extensive Experience in Public and Private Sectors
As one of the few Pacific Northwest law firms with extensive public and private-sector experience, Lane Powell has facilitated projects nationally recognized for their innovative financing and community contributions. The Firm’s Public/Private Partnership Law attorneys have counseled private developers, lenders, investors and public agencies in a full spectrum of public/private partnership endeavors. Notable accomplishments include:
- Light rail financing: At a time when public transportation is difficult to fund, Lane Powell designed an innovative funding approach without tax increases or use of federal funds. In a project involving one of the world’s largest private infrastructure companies, the Firm’s attorneys helped design financing for a 6.5-mile leg of light rail from downtown Portland to the Portland International Airport. Completed in 2001, no transaction like it has been accomplished since.
- Urban redevelopment: Lane Powell facilitated financing for award-winning projects such as the Belmont Dairy, Museum Place and the Hollywood Library — all widely recognized as models for infill and mixed-use development.
- Project resurrection: Lane Powell attorneys rescued a major public/private partnership endeavor — the Beaverton Round Project — taking it from default to thriving commercial center. In an innovative move, Lane Powell helped the city convert a failing utility owned by an Enron subsidiary into a successful, publicly owned system.
Skilled in the Full Array of Partnership Law
Lane Powell’s Public/Private Partnership Law group includes attorneys who helped create many of Portland’s urban renewal districts, affordable housing plans and economic-development programs, as well as those who helped craft Oregon’s tax legislation and regulations. They understand public sector goals and private sector needs and have the experience to create outcomes that satisfy both.
In public and private partnerships, Lane Powell is recognized for:
- Structuring and closing complex public/private transactions.
- Screening projects and sources of funds to ensure there are no conflicts to waste time and money or prevent a deal from closing.
- Establishing clearly defined roles and accountability for deadlines and outcomes.
- Understanding the dynamics of a high-performing team.
- Exercising leadership and organizational skill, or providing a strong supporting role as needed.
- Keeping dialogue going and projects moving forward, recognizing that delays can be prohibitively expensive.
Lane Powell attorneys are active members of important trade associations related to public/private investments, including the Counselors of Real Estate, Urban Land Institute, National Association of Industrial Office Properties, Portland Business Alliance, Urban League, Portland Ambassadors and many others.
New Markets Tax Credits
Several of Lane Powell’s attorneys are authorities in the nation’s most powerful federal tax incentive program, New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC). One of the largest federal economic development initiatives in the last 20 years, the program has enormous potential for the development community.
Lane Powell is one of only a handful of firms in the nation with proven NMTC experience, from drafting applications and structuring Community Development Entities to managing compliance risks. Program features include:
- Approved NMTC participants receive federal income tax credits of 39 percent over seven years for making investments in a Community Development Entity, which in turn invests in eligible economic development projects.
- The program is extraordinarily flexible. Recipients may use subsidies for commercial, industrial or retail real estate projects, or for business loans or equity investments.
Lane Powell represents Wells Fargo Community Development Corporation and other tax credit investors, private developers, lenders and municipalities in NMTCs.