Green Real Estate

The Green Real Estate Team has multi-disciplinary expertise in real estate, real estate finance, environmental law, construction, and renewable energy. Drawing on these capabilities, the attorneys of this Team are prepared to advise clients on a wide range of green matters regarding leasing, development, lending, construction, environmental and zoning, including matters related to environmental regulations, sustainability, green building standards and certifications. These clients include buyers, owners, tenants, lenders and builders of green real estate.

Leasing

The Team is prepared to counsel landlords and tenants of office, industrial, retail and other commercial properties by:

  • Negotiating green leases
  • Preparing green lease forms, requests for proposals, letters of intent, or amendments
  • Advising developers, owners, and tenants of new and existing buildings on legal issues related to green leasing
  • Incorporating LEED and other green building rating systems into leases for green buildings

Development

Our attorneys support real estate developers and owners who “go green” in their initial design or construction of properties or through the retrofitting of existing properties by:

  • Drafting and negotiating real estate, financing and construction documents
  • Advising clients on obtaining or maintaining various green standards such as Energy Star, Green Globes, or LEED certifications
  • Counseling clients on sustainability issues and requirements in the design, construction, operations and maintenance of structures

Lending

Our practitioners know how to work with clients to mitigate the risks of financing green building by:

  • Counseling construction lenders on the legal issues that might arise from financing green building construction
  • Conducting due diligence and drafting loan documents with respect to the legal considerations of green building projects including escrows, loan covenants, and default provisions
  • Structuring real estate finance transactions that conform with federal and state environmental regulations
  • Advising clients regarding LEED rating systems and the impact of LEED requirements on long-term property values, as well as operations and maintenance plans
  • Conducting comprehensive review of leases to advise clients on compliance with tenant LEED standards to determine potential conflicts or issues with tenant retention

Construction

The nationally touted Construction Practice Group and the construction lawyers who are part of the Troutman Green Real Estate Team are adept at guiding project owners, contractors and other stakeholders through the intricacies of any green project, including the following issues:

  • The navigation of local and state green building ordinances
  • The possible preemption of local green building codes by Federal law
  • The unique legal risks and responsibilities common to good green construction and design contracts
  • An understanding of the workings of the U.S. Green Building Council and LEED certification requirements
  • Federal agency and other users of the Green Globes building rating system as an alternative to USGBC’s LEED system
  • Construction insurance and surety bond ramifications of green building
  • The identification and minimization of potential green building contract pitfalls for the unwary
  • The recovery of damages when green building promises go unfulfilled

Environmental and Zoning

The Team can leverage its broad experience in environmental, land use and zoning matters to benefit green real estate development by:

  • Obtaining environmental and other applicable permits from state and federal authorities
  • Counseling clients with regard to sustainability incentives and obligations imposed by state and local land use entitlements and zoning
  • Advising with regard to Brownfield development
  • Counseling clients on corporate sustainability reporting and ranking programs
  • Representing clients in the negotiation of contracts for environmental attribute credits, including evaluation of green tags or REC market partners

Renewable Energy

If a project involves the finance, acquisition or construction of real estate for a renewable energy company, the Green Real Estate Team may work closely with the firm’s Renewable Energy Team. A description of that Team can be found here.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Oversaw the environmental due diligence and environmental permitting for redevelopment of a brownfield site with the largest barley to ethanol plant in the United States. Navigated USEPA and Virginia DEQ Brownfields programs as well as hazardous waste regulations to facilitate redevelopment of a site with an 80 year intensive manufacturing history. Assisted with acquisition of an air permit for this first of its kind facility in Virginia in the face of local citizen group opposition. Helped navigate environmental requirements following an explosion at the facility.
  • Represented a client in the development of a LEED and Earthcraft certified mixed use project containing approximately 80,000 square feet of rentable retail space and 430 apartment units in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Represented clients in various transactions involving green leases.
  • Represented a public utility holding company and its renewable energy subsidiary in the acquisition of a 30MW PV solar project now operating in New Mexico. The representation included structuring a joint venture ownership with a separate renewable energy investor and drafting and negotiating the key agreements including the EPC Agreement, O&M Agreement, real estate documentation and acquisition documentation.
  • Advised a public utility holding company on post-acquisition real estate issues regarding a 100 megawatt biomass facility serving Austin, TX.
  • Conducted due diligence and/or contract negotiations on behalf of a public utility holding company on prospective wind, biomass and solar projects in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania, Oregon, South Carolina and elsewhere.
  • Represented bank in connection with a $2,800,000 loan in which the primary collateral was stream and wetlands mitigation credits earned in connection with property in DeKalb County, Georgia. Advised on real estate finance, environmental, and lending issues on the first deal of this kind.
  • Counseled land owners and prospective purchasers and lessees on the utilization of state brownfield and voluntary cleanup programs to facilitate property sales, acquisitions and leases in numerous Eastern states.
  • Oversaw environmental due diligence efforts throughout the mid-Atlantic and southeast with the aim to meet the United States Environmental Protection Agency's "All Appropriate Inquiries Rule" to assist with establishing a basis for environmental defense to CERCLA ("Superfund") liability. Environmental impairments at these sites have ranged from contamination associated with long term heavy industrial uses to aging shopping centers with significant dry cleaning solvent contamination. Former industrial uses at these sites have included rubber, textile machinery, munitions production, wood and furniture finishing, and truck and automotive service. These efforts have also included oversight of Phase II investigations and the development of soil, groundwater and vapor intrusion plans, and appropriate land use restrictions.
  • Negotiated purchase, lease and development agreements and environmental insurance terms to address environmental responsibilities and liabilities for land owners, prospective purchasers and lessees.
  • Counseled clients on numerous other environmental issues relating to real estate transactions and land development. These efforts include addressing wetland permitting, state cultural resource and federal National Historic Preservation Act compliance, as well as threatened and endangered species issues.
  • Represented a public utility holding company and its renewable energy development subsidiary in the acquisition from a solar panel vendor of a 30MW solar project built in New Mexico. The representation included the structuring of a joint venture with a separate renewable energy company and drafting and negotiating the key agreements for the deal, including the EPC Agreement, O&M Agreement, real estate documentation and acquisition documentation.
  • Counseled biomass gasification company in the acquisition of assets and entering into of energy sales agreements, a lease agreement and ancillary arrangements for the production of steam and power from biomass for industrial purposes.
  • Prepared environmental assessment protocols for dozens of industrial facilities.
  • Represented one of the nation’s largest banks in the financing of a 55MW utility-scale solar facility (approximately $250MM in value) in New Mexico by reviewing and negotiating project documentation and assessing environmental, real estate and business risk assessment. The client provided the construction financing and long-term financing.
  • Represented landfill owner and operator in negotiations for landfill-gas-to-energy projects, including fee and royalty sharing agreements for renewable energy certificates.
  • Represented a major non-U.S. wind project developer in its evaluation of several acquisitions of early-stage wind developers and projects in the United States, including structuring of partnership agreement, review of EPC contracts, turbine supply agreements, ground leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs).
  • Represented the investors in proposed wind power project finance transactions in the western United States.
  • Represented one of the nation’s largest bank-held equipment finance companies in connection with construction finance and take-out equity finance of $30 million solar installation at a large Northeastern university. The installation is one of the largest single solar installations at a U.S. college or university, with the potential to produce 8 million kWh per year and using 16,500 solar PV panels.
  • Represented Solar Nation, developer of the 4.26MW Avidian project in New Jersey, expected to be the largest rooftop PV solar project in the U.S. when completed in 2011. We drafted and negotiated all transaction documentation.
  • Represented an energy company in the greenfield development of a 30MW eucalyptus-fueled power generation facility in Hawaii.
  • Represented major national retailer in addressing green building requirements associated with the development of new projects in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
  • Represented biofuels company in the permitting of an ethanol facility, which involved a rezoning, a special exception, and a zoning ordinance text amendment.
  • Participated in an environmental justice impact assessment for a rail line extension.
  • Represented one of the largest property owners in the U.S. on Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense permits and approvals for large wind farms.
  • Represented dozens of clients on wetlands and Chesapeake Bay Act approvals, Virginia Marine Resources Commission permits for dredging and marina applications.

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Diversity

Troutman Sanders embraces diversity as a cornerstone of our future. It means, in part, a commitment by all of our attorneys and all other personnel to a shared vision and the establishment of a workplace environment that is fully inclusive. The Firm values diversity in that it enables the Firm both to take full advantage of the knowledge and talents of a multicultural team in order to meet and exceed individual and business goals and client expectations, and to meet the Firm’s obligation to provide the broadest possible range of opportunities to the members of the communities served by the Firm.

Troutman Sanders defines diversity as an environment of inclusion, in which race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability, background and social and ethnic group differences are accepted and valued, and all members of the Firm can contribute to their fullest potential to achieve the Firm’s business goals.

Troutman Sanders supports many initiatives that foster an inclusive environment and help all its personnel balance commitments to clients and family:

Domestic Partnership Benefits

Troutman Sanders offers domestic partnership insurance benefits and has a longstanding policy against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Women’s Forum

The Troutman Sanders Women’s Forum is a framework to increase the visibility of our women lawyers and their accomplishments, provide expanded professional and business development opportunities, and provide a supportive environment for the continued recruitment, promotion and retention of women lawyers firm-wide.

Moms' Group

The Moms' Group at Troutman Sanders includes both full and part-time women lawyers with children of all ages and provides the opportunity to discuss issues of common concern among a support network such as part-time employment options with the firm and child-care providers.

Charitable Giving

The firm allocates a significant amount of its annual charitable, diversity, and civic contributions budget toward nonprofit organizations and bar associations with a diverse constituency or whose mission directly influences the issue of diversity.  These organizations include the Latin American Association, National Association of Chinese Americans, Stonewall Bar Association , Georgia Hispanic Chamber,  National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), Equality Virginia,  Stakeholders, Inc., Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), YWCA, HRNEW, The Urban League, and Catalyst, Inc.

Recruiting

Troutman Sanders proactively recruits a diverse team of lawyers by visiting law school campuses and participating in minority job fairs, including the Lavender Law Job Fair, Southeast Minority Job Fair, Mid-Atlantic BLSA Minority Job Fair and Virginia Bar Association Minority Job Fair.  The firm also sponsors a variety of associations that connect minority law students to internships and job opportunities in the legal industry. 

Ongoing efforts to promote and foster an inclusive environment are lead by the Troutman Sanders Diversity Committee. Its primary goals are to implement the firm’s philosophy on diversity, ensure a welcoming workplace for all personnel, and make an impact on the community through charitable giving and pro bono service.

Members of the Diversity Committee are:

Sallie A. Daniel, Chief Diversity Officer
Ronald R. Ross, Chairperson **
Pamela S. Belleman ** 
Robert L. Bourguignon **
Julie L. Burgener **
Albert C. Hwang **
Molly F. James **
Jennifer Mathis **
Joseph M. Parker **
John M. Ramirez **
E. Fitzgerald Veira **
Sonia K. Bain
Sandra L. Brown
Michael D. Hobbs, Jr.
Roscoe C. Howard, Jr.
Prashant K. Khetan
M. Kevin McCusty
George L. Scruggs
Rebecca W. Shanlever
Wendelin W. Silliman
Anthony F. Troy
Jerome Walker
Farah S. Ahmed * 
Meredith N. Baron *
George G. Booker *
Alonso J. Cisneros *
Tameka M. Collier *
Sara H. Doran *
Kaleen Serena Ford *
Becki F. Kieffer *
Adam S. Libove *
Christina M. Lucio *
Nora Garcia Nickel *
Tashwanda C. Pinchback *
S. Kaveh E. Rashidi-Yazd *
Jimmy R. Rock *
Tania S. Sebastian *
Ashante Latanya Smith *
Matt J. Sperling *
Juliet G. Sy * 
Whitney S. Waldenberg *

* Elected by Associates
** Office Committee Chair
 

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