Practice/Industry Group Overview
With a practical, cost-effective approach to real estate, Sutherland helps clients weather downturns and thrive in good markets.
With more than 20 attorneys dedicated to real estate, the Sutherland team has developed a comprehensive understanding of the market, the economics of our clients’ industries and the legal issues that affect them. Our team brings together transactional real estate and finance attorneys, which gives Sutherland depth and speed to help clients identify opportunities, propose creative solutions and deal with complex issues when they arise. We have exceptional knowledge around tax and regulatory issues, and we comb through transaction details to make sure we address our clients’ needs and concerns. We work quickly, so clients don’t miss opportunities because of unresolved issues or incomplete documents.
We work in virtually every state and major real estate market and our international deals span the globe. Sutherland has the depth to manage many different types of deals, including niche areas such as timber acquisition, hospitality, complex real estate finance including multi-tranche mezzanine debt and data center development and leasing.
We provide clarity and continuity by assigning a lead attorney to each transaction, so clients always know who to call when they have questions or concerns. While we tend to staff matters leanly, we have the talents of more than 400 lawyers across the firm who can step in whenever our clients need them. We work as a team so that negotiations proceed smoothly between our clients and other parties.
Strong real estate finance experience. Our finance and transactional lawyers work side by side, not in separate practice areas, facilitating strong and effective collaboration.
Broad scope. Sutherland has the capability and depth to handle every aspect of commercial real estate, including, office and industrial, retail, multifamily and affordable housing and mixed-use developments and leasing transactions. We are familiar with all phases of acquisition and development, from negotiating purchase and sale agreements and joint ventures through construction financing, project completion and permanent financing.
Versatility. We work with a wide range of property types, including retail, office, industrial, hospitality and leisure, multifamily, student housing, affordable housing, data centers, healthcare, timber, natural resources and agribusiness.
Strong client focus. We understand that practicing law is not a “one size fits all” approach. Before beginning work, we take the time to listen to our clients and really understand their objectives.
Industry focused approach. Our real estate lawyers have a broad and comprehensive understanding of real estate law but also specialize in certain types of transactions early in their careers. This specialization is typically industry focused and results in our lawyers developing a deep understanding of the issues in each industry and acquiring tools and techniques to efficiently address and resolve particular issues.
Environmental and conservation knowledge. Our acquisition and development work regularly includes advice on environmental and other governmental regulatory matters, permitting and approvals and zoning matters. We also advise clients on conservation easements and mitigation banks.
Counseling with efficiency. We staff matters in order to provide both the experience of our senior attorneys in structuring and negotiating a transaction, and the teamwork to ensure a smooth and efficient execution. By staffing matters leanly with the same attorneys handling transactions from beginning to end, we are known for providing a stellar level of continuity and responsiveness.
Project management. We were pioneers in Legal Project Management and continue to provide our partners and associates in-depth training in project management skills. We strive to apply this discipline and provide clients with transparent and efficient budgeting, forecasting and timeline management.
Perspective. Our clients include bank and non-bank lenders, servicers, insurance companies, pension funds, REITs, developers, investors/owners and tenants, and this perspective is key when we work opposite these types of industry players.
Thought leaders. Our real estate lawyers are active members of key legal and professional associations, including the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the American College of Mortgage Attorneys, NAIOP, ICSC, ULI, PREA and national, state and local bar association sections and committees.
Nuts and Bolts
- Acquisition and development
- We support projects from initial negotiation and agreement through permanent financing and sale, with close attention to all aspects of the development life cycle. We have extensive experience in all major product types and many niche projects.
- We render creative counsel to lenders and borrowers in connection with all types of real estate finance and capital markets needs: construction and permanent loans, multistate financing, leasehold financing, sale/leaseback transactions and mezzanine loans, and master and special servicing, among others.
- Equity investment, including programmatic joint ventures
- Sutherland attorneys apply capital market insight and skill to major equity investment and formation transactions through joint ventures, syndicated partnerships and stock options. This includes representing institutional investors who form programmatic joint ventures with large private and publicly traded REITs to acquire and develop real estate portfolios.
- Pension fund investments
- We provide comprehensive support to a significant number of pension funds and their advisers, including careful tax analysis and monitoring the regulatory landscape. We are familiar with the limitations and restrictions placed on pension funds by ERISA and applicable Department of Labor regulations, including those governing operating and managing qualified plan assets.
- Timber and agribusiness
- Sutherland is a recognized leader in the representation of institutions, pension funds, tax exempt investments, college endowments and TIMOs (timber investment management organizations) with timber and agribusiness projects across the United States and around the world, including recent transactions in Belize, Panama, Brazil and China.
- Foreclosures, bankruptcies and workouts
- We advise major institutional clients as to distressed real estate issues, including bankruptcy proceedings, state court receivership actions, foreclosures and insurance company conservatorships. We regularly represent CMBS special servicers in loan workout and foreclosure matters and investors purchasing real estate debt and in subsequent acquisitions of the real estate collateral by foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure.
- Commercial leasing
- In addition to our extensive experience in office, retail and industrial leasing, we regularly handle specialized leasing transactions, such as mineral and timber leases and leases utilized to achieve property tax abatements.
- Partnership formation and partnership taxation
- Sutherland attorneys structure and document real estate agreements, LLCs and joint ventures, while addressing critical tax ramifications.
- Corporate mergers & acquisitions
- We have a thorough understanding of due diligence matters, particularly with corporate transactions involving large real estate portfolios, such as insurance company mergers, bank acquisitions and similar transactions.
- Construction litigation
- We represent some of the nation’s largest real estate developers, commercial and industrial owners, construction managers, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, architects, material and equipment suppliers, public entities and private owners.
- Environmental issues
- Sutherland advises purchasers, sellers, lenders, investors and tenants regarding their potential liability under federal and state superfund laws and other environmental protection statutes.
Sutherland helps organizations of all sizes address their real estate matters, from Fortune 500 real estate owners to pension funds, from big-box retailers to local developers.
Sutherland advises on joint venture to develop data centers around the country.
Sutherland represented T5 Data Centers in all aspects of a joint venture to develop data centers in Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Sutherland negotiates more than 20 million square feet of industrial leases.
Sutherland attorneys represented developer Pattillo Industrial Real Estate in negotiating over 20 million square feet of warehouse, manufacturing and specialty industrial leases in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina.
Sutherland represents insurance company in formation of international joint venture to acquire properties in five countries.
Sutherland represented a large insurance company in the formation of an international joint venture to acquire properties in five countries—United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Argentina. Subsequently, the venture was converted into an international agribusiness investment fund sponsored by the insurance company and managed by the former joint venture partner, which was merged into the insurance company to act as the manager of the fund.