As one of the leading real estate practices in the Midwest, we provide trusted counsel on sophisticated transactions in regional and national markets throughout the U.S. We’re known for our work on some of the nation's most innovative and prominent real estate projects across the full range of commercial, mixed-use, residential and public finance projects. We often serve as local counsel, with lenders and borrowers from across the country taking advantage of our regional experience and contacts.
Midwest Real Estate News ranked Stinson 3rd on the list of the "2020 Best of the Best" in real estate law, with 2,640 completed real estate transactions throughout the Midwest. Many of our real estate attorneys have prior professional experience as architects, in-house real estate counsel, assistant attorneys general and more. Three members of the real estate team are members of the Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame: Kate Hauber, David Frantze and Alan Van Dellen. Clients also benefit from our deep industry connections, including our involvement in such organizations as the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the International Council of Shopping Centers, American Land Title Association Lender's Counsel Group and Corporate Real Estate Network.
Real Estate Development
Our team of real estate attorneys covers the map, focusing on all facets of real estate development and land assembly nationwide. We work with developers, property owners, tenants and governmental entities to structure, negotiate and close real estate projects for commercial, retail, office, mixed-use, industrial and residential developments, including affordable housing, redevelopment and related initiatives to build stronger communities. Learn more.
Real Estate Lending
We represent real estate investors, including REITs, and borrowers nationwide on market-leading real estate transactions. Our finance team advises on the full range of secured lending transactions, and facilitates creative finance solutions such as public-private partnerships (PPPs), tax credit and government incentives to acquire, develop and finance key real estate projects nationwide. Learn more.
Real Estate Litigation
When disputes arise, we obtain and protect ownership and development rights, resolve the full range of real estate issues, represent clients on all facets of eminent domain law, and enforce the rights of financial institutions with security interests in real estate. Learn more.
Public/Private Partnerships, Finance & Incentives
We regularly help developers, property owners, tenants and governmental entities achieve their real estate business goals through the creation of public-private partnerships and the use of development incentives—such as tax increment financing and tax abatement—to facilitate the completion of difficult, challenging projects. Learn more.
Real Estate Investment Trusts
Our multidisciplinary team of real estate, corporate finance, environmental, tax and creditors' rights attorneys provide comprehensive legal representation to real estate investment trusts (REITs) clients. We advise REIT clients at all stages of the business cycle, from formation to capital and real estate investments and acquisitions. Learn more.
Tax Credit & Incentive Finance
Our attorneys creatively structure tax credit transactions to build communities, from housing and new markets to historic preservation and renewable energy, using essential tax credit and government incentive financing tools. Learn more.
Our real estate, tax, banking and public finance attorneys collaborate to help nonprofit and for-profit developers, owners, lenders, tax-credit investors, and government agencies and municipalities to make a difference for residents in need and build stronger communities.
We help clients:
- Build or rehabilitate affordable multifamily rental housing
- Develop mixed-use and mixed-income facilities
- Develop affordable for-sale housing, including cooperatives, condominiums and townhomes
Our attorneys have provided construction lender representation on more than 20 low-income housing tax credit properties in 15 states. We help clients identify and utilize diverse finance tools to achieve affordable housing goals:
- Tax-exempt and taxable multifamily housing revenue bonds
- 501(c)(3) bonds
- Low-income housing tax credits
- HOME funds
- FHA-insured loans
- Tax-increment financing
- Historic and new markets tax credits
- CDBG funds
- HUD financing
- State and federal preservation programs
- Section 8 subsidies
- Ground leases
- State and local loan and grant sources
- Housing trusts
- Formation of nonprofit housing corporations
- Market-rate apartments
Our attorneys have represented the following clients in affordable housing matters:
- Swope Community Builders/Swope Community Enterprises
- Bank of America
- Anishinabe Wakiagun Limited Partnership
- Dakota County Housing and Redevelopment Authority
- Little Earth of United Tribes Housing Corporation
- Oti Kaga Limited Partnership
- Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership
- White Mountain Apache Community Development Corporation
- Central Community Housing Trust of Minneapolis
- Community Housing Development Corporation
- Powderhorn Residents Group, Inc.
- Duffy Development Company
- Sherman Associates, Inc.
- Community Housing Corporation of America
- Shelter Care Foundation
- Common Bond Investment Corporation
- Red Lake Limited Partnership
- White Earth Limited Partnership
Corridor Assembly & Condemnation
We help municipalities and government entities, and transportation and utility companies acquire land for development and rights-of-way needed to grow and improve the transportation, utilities and other infrastructure systems that are the backbone of communities nationwide.
- Prosecuting and defending eminent domain cases involving complex issues of valuation and constitutional and statutory authority to take private property
- Structuring and managing voluntary land acquisition programs run in tandem with the exercise of condemning authority
- Quick-take condemnation actions
- Negotiating and drafting option agreements and easements
- Land-use and environmental permits
- Brownfields redevelopment
- Title examination, analysis and clearance
- Represented Hennepin County in assembly of the land for the new Minnesota Twins Ballpark in downtown Minneapolis, including condemnation of most of the land required. The case is the largest single parcel condemnation case in Minnesota history.
- Successfully filed and completed eminent domain proceedings in Riley County, Kansas, on behalf of ONEOK, Inc., a gas utility. The condemnation proceeding acquired easements for the relocation of major gas transmission lines necessitated by the Kansas Department of Transportation's relocation of a state highway.
- Represented Williams Pipeline in the development of a new petroleum pipeline in Dakota County. We worked cooperatively with right-of-way professionals at Williams Pipeline to acquire easements through negotiation and eminent domain proceedings.
- Represented the Cordish Company in all aspects of the development of its Kansas City Power & Light downtown retail entertainment district, which includes more than half a million square feet of shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in the South loop area of Kansas City, Missouri. This representation included negotiation of development agreements (including all development incentives), and all real estate aspects of the project.
- Currently representing multiple parcel owners in connection with the CapX2020 high-voltage electric transmission line project. The largest transmission line project currently pending in the state of Minnesota, it is a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities to construct hundreds of miles of transmission line.
- Represented the City of Mission Hills, Kansas, in eminent domain proceedings in Johnson County, Kansas, to obtain the necessary easements to reconstruct its sanitary sewer system in anticipation of transferring the sewer system to Johnson County. The firm also successfully defended a landowner's appeal of the court-appointed appraisers' award, resulting in a jury verdict in an amount lower than the court-appointed appraisers' award. The jury verdict was upheld on appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court.
- Represented DM&E Railroad and Canadian Pacific in the acquisition and assembly (via acquisition and condemnation) of hundreds of land parcels in South Dakota and Wyoming for the development of a 162-mile-long new railroad alignment.
- Represented Center Point Energy Resources in the acquisition of easements in Anoka and Hennepin Counties through condemnation for a gas pipeline. In addition to representing the utility in connection with establishing the value of the easements, we negotiated complex easement terms relating to environmental and hazardous waste issues.
- Served as appointed City Attorney for the City of Roeland Park, Kansas, including filing numerous eminent domain proceedings on behalf of the City in connection with street, sidewalk and storm water improvements.
- Represented the Saint Paul Port Authority in connection with the Phalen Corridor redevelopment project. The national award-winning redevelopment project involved remediation of more than 100 acres of brownfields, approximately $600 million in public and private investment, public/private partnerships with several governmental agencies and departments, and the development of new transit and transportation improvements.
- Representing Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc., the developer of the $276 million Sprint Center arena located on 8.5 acres in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The firm has since represented AEG in construction closeout and operations matters under multiple contracts with the City of Kansas City.
- Represented multinational corporation in acquisition of financing of paper mills in Minnesota and Michigan, including environmental due diligence, transfer of riparian rights related to watermills and timber rights.
- Represented the City of Overland Park, Kansas, in an inverse condemnation proceeding that was eventually settled on terms very favorable to the City. The lawsuit was filed by homeowners in a subdivision abutting a creek whose homes flooded allegedly as a result of upstream development permitted by the City.
- Represented Special School District No. 1 in acquisition through condemnation of all land necessary for a new indoor sports facility at Lake Street near Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis so that school children and residents would have a state-of-the-art urban recreational facility.
- Represented Scott County Community Development Authority in acquisition through eminent domain proceedings of the land necessary for a county housing and redevelopment authority senior housing and library project.
- Represented the City of Overland Park, Kansas, in negotiations of a City/State Agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation in connection with the construction of a new interchange located at 159th and U.S. 69. This representation included agreements regarding right-of-way acquisition, design and construction covenants and agreements regarding the funding of this new interchange. The City, in a public/private partnership with a developer who owns approximately 100 acres of vacant ground that would be benefited by the new interchange, has created a transportation development district to fund the costs of the new interchange and right-of-way acquisition through new sales taxes generated by the developer's project.
Land Use, Zoning & Entitlements
Our attorneys are known for their success in siting controversial projects through re-zoning, land use approvals and permits for the development or redevelopment of real estate across a full spectrum of community and infrastructure needs, often accommodating historic and environmentally sensitive constructs.
Our land use experience encompasses all facets of the development and construction process, including:
- Zoning and subdivision approvals
- Licensing and permitting
- Environmental review
- Historic preservation
- Shorelands and wetlands
- Environmental remediation
- Brownfield redevelopment
- We represented AIMCO, the owner of the Calhoun Beach Club Apartments in Minneapolis) in connection with governmental approvals for restoration of the historic structure.
- We represented Allen Group, an industrial developer who, in concert with the BNSF Railway, is developing an intermodal facility and proposed 7.1-million-square-foot logistics park in Edgerton, Kansas. Our representation included lead counsel for work on the development agreements, financing structure and annexation agreements and entitlements with the City of Edgerton, Johnson County and the State of Kansas.
- As the appointed City Attorney for the City of Mission Hills, Kansas, members of the firm provide ongoing legal advice to the City on land use and zoning matters and attend all meetings of the City Council, Planning Commission, Architectural Review Board and Board of Zoning Appeals at which land use and zoning cases are heard. The firm has also defended the City and its boards in land use litigation matters.
- We assisted DeLaSalle High School, an urban school in Minneapolis, in obtaining development approvals for an athletic field on historic Nicollet Island, from the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, City Council, Planning Commission, and Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC), the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Finance.
- We represent the developer of the One Light-Cordish Apartment Buildings in Missouri in seeking tax abatement and entitlements for the development of a 300+ unit apartment building in the Kansas City Power and Light District.
- We served as counsel to the developer in preparing and defending an environmental review, including Block E, RiverStation, Pillsbury "A" Mill Redevelopment and DeLaSalle High School Athletic Field.
- Our attorneys obtained project approvals for student housing projects in the Motley and Prospect Park-East River Road neighborhood of Minneapolis for a Dallas-based developer.
- For many years, the firm has acted as outside counsel to the City of Overland Park, Kansas, on land use and zoning matters. Members of the firm are on call to consult with in-house attorneys and city planners on issues as they arise. The firm has conducted training for members of the City Council and Planning Commission concerning land use procedures. One of the firm's partners was the principal draftsman of the City's first Unified Development Ordinance. The firm also represents the City in land use litigation.
- We served as counsel to People Serving People supportive housing in Minneapolis in the acquisition and land use approvals, including rezoning, for a homeless shelter on the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis for People Serving People, Inc.
- We handled conditional use permits and zoning approvals for the conversion of three existing PetsMart retail stores to a PetsHotel kennel concept.
- As the appointed City Attorney for the City of Roeland Park, Kansas, members of the firm provide ongoing legal advice to the City on land use and zoning matters and attend all meetings of the City Council, Planning Commission, Redevelopment Committee and Board of Zoning Appeals at which land use and zoning cases are heard. The firm has provided counsel to the City concerning redevelopment projects involving development incentives, including the use of tax increment financing, transportation development districts and community improvement districts. The firm has also defended the City in land use litigation matters.
- We obtained project approvals for a joint venture of Atlanta- and Dallas-based developers for the Seven Corners student housing project in Minneapolis. Our services included land assembly, local counsel lending opinions, relocation of existing tenants, subdivision, resale of existing Sergeant Preston's building, and residential and retail leasing for completed project.
- We represented East Village, LLC, the developer of the East Village Project in the redevelopment of the eastern portion of the downtown loop of Kansas City, Missouri, into a residential/mixed-use development-a transaction that involved property acquisition from the City of Kansas City and the negotiation of incentives for the project development.
Property Tax Assessments & Appeals
We help property owners appeal their property classifications or tax values, assist with requests for property tax exemptions and handle contested tax appeals before state tax appeal agencies, including:
- Advising on all real estate and taxable personal property taxation issues
- Providing assistance with business and personal property filings
- Representing property owners during all stages of valuation appeals, from informal hearings with county assessors through litigation
- Counseling clients on property tax exemptions
- Assisting with classification issues
- Counseling public sector clients on property tax issues
Residential Development & Land Assembly
Representing several of the nation's largest residential homebuilders, including those headquartered in Minneapolis and St. Louis, we combine density zoning and other key land assembly knowledge with industry-savvy finance and development experience to help developers and owners accomplish a full range of residential housing projects.
Our broad experience includes advising on:
- Single-family subdivisions
- Planned communities
- Townhouses and condominiums
- Residential housing
- Affordable housing
- Purchase and sale transactions
- Site assembly and development
- Community-assisted development
- Planning, zoning and land use regulation
- Brownfields redevelopment
- Tax-deferred exchanges
- Conservation easements
- Limited partnerships and joint ventures
- Not-for-profit organizations
- Historic rehabilitation
- Title clearance
- Real estate tax protests
- Contract enforcement litigation
- Construction litigation
- Land use and zoning litigation
- Title insurance litigation
- Subdivided land sales; securities registrations and compliance
- AIMCO Calhoun LLC (multifamily and mixed-use developments, including Calhoun Beach Club Apartments, involving restoration of social and athletic club and hotel and new luxury multifamily tower)
- Bigos Investments (apartment acquisition and financing)
- Brighton Development Corp. (office, retail and residential real estate development, including Stone Arch/Washburn Lofts Condominium, North Star Lofts Condominium, Minikahda Cottages Condominium, Marquette Townhomes Condominium, Lourdes Square Condominium, and Townhomes at River Heights Condominium)
- Contractor Property Developers Company (residential and commercial real estate development in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including Liberty on the Lake, Towne Lakes, Evermoor, and Victor Gardens)
- Dayton's Bluff Community Development Company(affordable housing developments, including Homes for Learning (low income housing tax credit development), Otsego Townhomes, and Payne Avenue Townhomes)
- D.R. Horton, Inc.-Minnesota (residential site acquisition, assembly and development and formation of common interest communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including Crossroads, Roundstone at Evermoor, St. Clair Bluffs, Middle Creek, Trout Brook Farms, Ramsey Town Center, and Vermillion Springs)
- Friendship Village Chesterfield (issuance and sale of Senior Living Facilities Revenue Bonds)
- GrandMarc/Ambling (student housing, including Jefferson Commons and Seven Corners)
- Heritage Renovations, LLC and the Hunt Gregory Group (condominium and mixed-use developments, including River Station and Heritage Landings in downtown Minneapolis including tax increment financed subsidy, environmental matters, joint venture agreement with Fannie Mae American Community Funds)
- Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of Saint Paul(land assembly, bond financing, office and housing development and brownfields redevelopment, including West Side Flats and Upper Landing)
- JPI (student housing)
- Lundgren Bros. Construction, Inc. (residential real estate subdivision and development, including Wild Meadows, Vasserman Ridge, Cascades and Lakeside at Oxbow Commons)
- McBride & Sons Homes(acquisition, development and financing of more than 10 single-family residential developments for the St. Louis region's largest homebuilder)
- Minnesota Housing Services (affordable housing developments, including Bossen Park Apartments, Geneva Village Apartments, Kentucky Lane Apartments and Manitou Ridge Apartments (all bond financed with 4% low income housing tax credits)
- One Light-Cordish Apartment Buildings(tax abatement and entitlements for the development of a 300+ unit apartment building in the Kansas City Power and Light District)
- PAK Properties (mixed-use developments, including Rossmor Building Condominium and Produce Exchange Lofts)
- People Serving People (homeless shelter in downtown Minneapolis, including successfully lobbying for revisions to the Minneapolis zoning map)
- Richmond Apartments (permanent loan on an apartment project in Missouri)
- Sherman Associates (mixed-use, condominium, and townhome developments, including City Homes on Park Avenue Condominium, The Dakota on the Park Condominium, Capitol Heights City Homes Condominium, Little Canada Townhomes, Bottineau Commons Condominium, Bottineau West Condominium, Keene Creek Townhomes, and Shoreview Village Townhomes)
- Sherman/Lander Partnership (multifamily residential development, including Uptown Urban Village, involving assistance from Livable Communities Grants, Hennepin County cleanup grants and General Obligation Tax Increment Financing Bonds)
- Wellington Management, Inc. (commercial and multifamily residential development)
- Westpark Apartments/Autumn Oaks Apartments/Carriage Place Apartments (represented borrowers in HUD loans to refinance apartment projects in St. Louis County, Missouri)
Retail Real Estate
Our attorneys negotiate letters of intent, purchase and sale agreements, shopping center and stand-alone leases, construction and finance related contracts, and operation and reciprocal easement agreements. We also conduct environmental due diligence and obtain environmental assurances on behalf of our clients while guiding them through entitlement, zoning and land use issues. We routinely assist tenants and landlords in the day-to-day operation and management of their retail spaces. We also have extensive experience in the acquisition, development and leasing of warehouse, distribution and fulfillment centers across the nation.
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News & Insights
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