Land use/zoning in United States

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP fields a standout national real estate team that is consistently at the forefront of large-scale development projects in major markets across the US. With a particular focus in Florida, Chicago and New York, the practice group had developed a reputation for involvement in transformational projects. The land use and development group is under the joint leadership of Eric Rapkin in Fort Lauderdale and Cecelia Bonifay in Orlando. In addition to experience of more traditional commercial real estate projects, Bonifay is also rated for her expertise in urban planning and sustainable development in Florida and across the country. Another contact in the firm's Florida network is Neisen Kasdin in Florida; Kasdin is particularly well known for large multi-use projects and urban revitalization. Jack George is a name to note in the Chicago office, and Joshua Rinesmith is a contact for projects in New York City. Stephen Tilbrook, who has more than 25 years of experience in the field of land use and real estate development throughout Florida, recently joined the Fort Lauderdale office from Gray Robinson PA.

Practice head(s):

Cecelia Bonifay; Eric Rapkin


‘The team members complement each other very well. They work in an efficient and cohesive manner.’

‘The team fields knowledge of discipline, opposing counsel familiarity and diversity of specialities.’

Key clients

Ocean Terrace Holdings

Hilco Development Partners

Dacra Development

Arker Companies

Faena Group

Monarch Industries

MCD Miami

Lakeshore East

Swire Properties

Riverside Development & Investment

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ocean Terrace Holdings in connection with a development agreement, land use plan amendment, zoning amendment and vacation of right of way to facilitate the redevelopment of an entire block on Ocean Terrace in Miami Beach’s North Beach.
  • Advised Riverside Investment & Development on the $900m redevelopment of Chicago’s historic Union Station; work involved assisting with the required amendment to the existing planned development and obtaining an approval from the Landmarks Division of the City of Chicago.
  • Serves as the land use and zoning counsel for the Magic City special area plan in the City of Miami, which is a proposed mixed use tech and innovation district of over 7 million square feet on 17.75 acres in Miami’s Little Haiti District; work involved advising on the approval of a rezoning, land use plan amendment, and development agreement.
  • Representing 601 W Companies in the addition of entertainment/public observatory functions to the existing Aon Building in Chicago.
  • Representing developer entities including Dacra Development and an affiliate of LVMH (the owner of leading global luxury brands) in obtaining approval and recent amendments expanding the original approval from the City of Miami Commission for development of a 1.3 million square foot retail district on approximately 20 acres.

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP

Based in San Francisco, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP is one of the strongest players in the fields of real estate and land use, taking lead roles in many of the largest commercial and residential development projects in California. Key figures in the team include land use department chair Matt Bove and Pamela Duffy, who is leading some of the team's largest mandates, including the development of the new LA Clippers arena. Other names to note are Harry O’Brien, who acts for property developers in the entitlement and construction of commercial and residential real estate; Tay Via, who has been most active in redevelopments involving housing-specific issues and historic preservation; and Miles Imwalle, an experienced advisor for California entitlement issues.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Bove

Key clients

Vallco Property Owner

Murphy’s Bowl (development entity of the LA Clippers)

Uber Technologies

California Pacific Medical Center/Sutter Health

SWL 337 Associates/San Francisco Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Focil MB (Mission Bay developers)

Hearst Corporation/Brookfield Properties (formerly Forest City)

Prado Group

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Work highlights

  • Represents Vallco Property Owner in its innovative entitlement strategy to use new housing legislation (SB 35) in the redevelopment of the 50-acre Vallco Mall in Cupertino into a new mixed-use town center that will include 2,400 residential units, 1.9 million square feet of office and over 400,000 square feet of retail.
  • Lead counsel to Murphy’s Bowl (the development entity for the LA Clippers basketball franchise) in relation to real estate land assembly and project approvals for its proposed new 18,000-20,000 seat state-of-the-art basketball arena, event center, training facility, and associated community facilities in Inglewood, CA.
  • Acting as lead counsel to Seawall Lot 337 Associates, a joint venture between affiliates of Tishman Speyer and the San Francisco Giants, in the $1.6bn Mission Rock project adjacent to Oracle Park.
  • Lead counsel to Uber Technologies in connection with the development of its corporate headquarter campuses in the Bay Area.
  • Lead real estate and entitlements counsel for the 5M project, a $1bn mixed-use inner-city revitalization by Brookfield Properties (formerly Forest City Development) and the Hearst Corporation.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

Leveraging an expansive nationwide office network, DLA Piper LLP (US) is one of the go-to firms for real estate and zoning matters in several key markets across the country. The practice group is jointly led by Theodore Novak and Richard Klawiter, both of whom are based in the firm's Chicago office. Novak in particular is considered among the market's leading real estate attorneys; he has extensive experience of real estate and land use projects throughout the Midwest, and also spearheads the firm's real estate-focused government relations practice. Other Chicago-based contacts include Mariah DiGrino and Katherine Dale, both of whom focus on issues such as community development, public incentives and historic preservation. The team has an equally strong presence in California, where it is currently involved in some of the largest LA development projects, including the Crossroads of the World project in Hollywood. Contacts in the Los Angeles practice group include Jerold Neuman, Kyndra Joy Casper and Andrew Brady, who also advises on issues relating to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Both practitioners are based in LA. Also recommended are Antonio Calabrese, who is active in project development in Northern Virginia, and John Rattigan, who handles project development in the Boston office.

Practice head(s):

Theodore Novak; Richard Klawiter


‘The team is extremely knowledgeable, and willing to put in the hard work and time.’

‘DLA has a unique land use team.  They are not hyper specialists in land use but rather understand that land use is part of a larger real estate transaction.   The people in the group in Chicago are the best of the best and regularly are engaged in the most complex and complicated projects.’

‘Highly detailed knowledge about local city issues and players that help navigate a very complex and expensive process.’

‘Creative and comprehensive thinking, both strategically and legally.’ 

‘The attorneys (and planners) know the industry, the politics, the players and the process.  Their insight after many years in the field is invaluable.’

‘Ted Novak’s keen insight, not only on complex land-use issues but on relationships with city or village officials, is extraordinary.’

‘In addition to deep substantive expertise, the attorneys in the practice are very focused on community and pro bono efforts, and share a deep sense of commitment to doing the right thing in addition to what their clients want.’ 

‘Step by step strategies outlined clearly for individual matters.’

‘Tony Calabrese and Kevin MacWhorter have added value to our projects with their expertise, thoughtful insights and dedication to our success.’

‘The team is extremely responsive, highly regarded throughout the region and does impressive work.’ 

Key clients

Tysons Development

The Taubman Company

Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT)

QTS Realty Services

Comstock Partners

Related Midwest

Sterling Bay Companies

The University Of Chicago

Brookfield Strategic Real Estate Partners

GRIT Chicago

Harridge Development Group

Atlas Capital

LSA Capital

Amplify Development Co.

MR Real Estate

Hines Interests

Echelon Seaport

The Fallon Company

Invenergy Solar Development North America

North American Properties

Work highlights

  • Representing Tysons Development in a redevelopment project named The View at Tysons, to redevelop an entire urban block, combining 3 million square feet of office, residential, retail, hotel and cultural uses,  adjacent to the Spring Hill Metro platform.
  • Represented Brookfield in connection with the acquisition and redevelopment of the historic Marshall Field’s State Street store in Chicago.
  • Represented Hines Interests (one of the largest private property development and management companies globally) in the $2bn development of South Station Air Rights Project over Boston’s South Station Transportation Center.
  • Represented Harridge Development Group in the Crossroads of the World project in the heart of Hollywood, California; this is one of the largest development projects in Los Angeles in terms of acres (over 7 acres) and size (1.4 million square feet of development).
  • Representing MR Real Estate as land use counsel, including project management duties, advice on entitlements and environmental review under CEQA, and overseeing government relations and community outreach for a mixed-use development; this is one of the first Opportunity Zone projects in Los Angeles.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP fields one of the most active land use practices in New York City. The group provides legal support throughout the entire lifecycle of a project, including disputes arising from zoning changes, and also has specialist expertise in landmarking and historic preservation. The practice is led by real estate attorney Jonathan Mechanic and Melanie Meyers, who focuses on land use, zoning, public approvals, and is particularly experienced in public-private initiatives. Land use expert Carol Rosenthal is retained by some of the major real estate developers and non-profit institutions in New York City to assist with housing and transportation developments. David Karnovsky is another name to note; he has a strong track record for obtaining land use and other approvals for developments in the Hudson Yards area. Also recommended are Zachary Bernstein and Stephen Lefkowitz, who has over five decades of experience in the areas of real estate and land use.

Work highlights

  • Acting for Northwell Health in relation to the zoning and land use for its proposed multibillion-dollar redevelopment of the entire Lenox Hill Hospital campus on the Upper East Side in Manhattan.
  • Advising Alloy Development in connection with the zoning, environmental reviews, and other city approvals for its approximately 1 million square foot development, (in partnership with the New York City Educational Construction Fund) of a full block located at 80 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.
  • Assisted JP Morgan with zoning diligence for the redevelopment of 270 Park Avenue and negotiated a contract for the transfer of up to 668,000 square feet of development rights to the site.
  • Counsel to Oxford Properties Group in connection with its acquisition of the south development portion of the historic St. John’s Terminal site from Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group for $700m.
  • Representing The Durst Organization in the development of a 2.4 million square foot project located on the waterfront of Astoria, Queens.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP's California-based team advises on a huge range of land use matters, ranging from entitlements and permitting, to historic preservation, to issues relating to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). One of the team's core strengths is the development of major stadiums and arenas; the group has also been active in major waterfront developments and master-planned communities. Amy Forbes in Los Angeles focuses her land use practice on administrative law, and also advises on CEQA issues. Another name to note in the Los Angeles team is Douglas Champion, who has experience of a range of project types, including the development of energy infrastructure. Mary Murphy is the key contact in San Francisco. Co-chair of the land use practice and member of the firm's diversity committee, Murphy is rated in particular for her work on historic rehabilitation projects.

Practice head(s):

Amy Forbes; Mary Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Champion

Key clients

Oakland A’s

Hackman Capital (CBS Television City)

Brookfield Properties Development

Madison Square Gardens

Berggruen Institute

Oak View Group

Golden State Warriors

Kroenke Group



Work highlights

  • Representing the Oakland A’s Major League Baseball team in its efforts to develop a new stadium and ancillary development in Oakland; in addition to negotiating and advising on a multi-jurisdictional entitlements process, the team advised on the successful passage of state legislation to provide for expedited judicial review under the California Environmental Quality Act.
  • Handling the approval process with the City of Los Angeles and the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority in relation to the development of the Berggruen Institute Project proposed to be located on a 450-acre site in the Santa Monica mountains in the western part of Los Angeles.
  • Handled entitlement issues and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in relation to the India Basin development project, which is a large-scale development project located within the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco, California, at the edge of the San Francisco Bay.
  • Advised CBS on a possible sale of its 25-acre Television City headquarters located at a prominent corner in the middle of the Mid-Wilshire district; assisted the client with the City’s historic preservation reviews process, and with the multi-year entitlement effort to add additional square footage to the existing complex following the closing of the deal.
  • Acted as lead counsel to Brookfield Properties Development (formerly Forest City Realty Trust) in negotiation and implementation of a high-profile public-private partnership with the Port of San Francisco known as “Pier 70”.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP has planning and zoning experts in a number of key areas across the country, and is considered among the go-to zoning groups in New York, Chicago, Washington DC and Miami. Joseph Goldstein is the key contact for Florida real estate. Based in Miami, the Florida team has unique expertise in advising on governmental legislative actions that shape development opportunities. Steven Elrod in Chicago oversees the national land use and government group, and is routinely involved in complex entitlement matters throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Norman Glasgow leads the Washington DC and Western Virginia practice, and is a key advisor for developments involving historic preservation law. On the West Coast, San Francisco-based Jennifer Hernandez has extensive experience of brownfield development projects, and also has specialist knowledge of issues such as the California Environmental Quality Act. The land use and zoning group is part of the wider real estate practice, which is jointly led by Joseph Guay in New York and Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz in Miami.

Key clients

The Graham Companies



Vision McMillan Partners

Property Group Partners


GID Development Company

City of Chicago

Village of Northbrook, Illinois

Village of Lincolnwood, Illinois

Ludlam Trail

DeNova Homes

Work highlights

  • Acting as lead land use and environmental counsel for Target Corporation on the acquisition, development and renovation of new and existing Target stores throughout California.
  • Represented The Graham Companies in gaining land use approvals for a $1.5bn, 6 million square foot mixed-use development that will include 2,000 rental apartments, 1 million square feet of retail and a 3 million square foot business park.
  • Assisting Vision McMillan partners with land use and zoning matters in relation to the development of a mixed-use project, a very significant public-private partnerships involving historic preservation in DC.
  • Advising Property Group Partners on zoning and land use issues relating to the air rights above the I‑395 Center Leg Freeway; these issues arise in the context of a development project covering more than 2 million square feet of residential, commercial and institutional space over three new city blocks in Washington DC.
  • Retained by Google to provide land use advice on its proposed leasing of 550 Washington Street, and on the construction of a new office building for its occupancy.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

A leading force in the New York real estate market, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has acted in some of the City's most complex land use matters and large-scale developments. The team's client roster includes not only some of the market's most active real estate developers, but also a number of large hospitals and universities, as well as cultural and arts institutions. The practice group is also active in informing land use policy, and has been a the forefront of recent zoning changes such as those affecting East Midtown and restrictions on new hotels. Key figures in the team include Paul Selver, an expert in environmental law, zoning and historic preservation; Michael Sillerman, who has in-depth knowledge of tax abatements and economic development incentives; and land use expert Gary Tarnoff, who has over two decades of experience as a land use lawyer. Also recommended are Elise WagnerJames Power and Valerie Campbell, all of whom have experience advising on zoning, historic preservation and environmental issues in large-scale New York development projects.

Key clients

Macklowe Properties

The Frick Collection

Clipper Equity

River Spring Health featuring the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale

HELP Development Corp.

SJP Residential Properties

JDS Development Group

New York Blood Center

The Walt Disney Co.

United American Land

Douglaston Development (Levine Builders)

Gamma Real Estate

The Gotham Organization

DDG – 180 88th Street

Pantheon Properties

Work highlights

  • Representing Macklowe in the purchase of the development rights, and in applying for and processing the approvals and reports, from the Landmarks Preservation Commission; also advised on applications for zoning text amendments, special permit and other actions from CPC and the City Council, all in relation to TWRFTH, a 1,550-foot tall, approximately 1 million-square foot office building planned for a site between Fifth and Madison Avenues and East 51st and 52nd Streets.
  • Acting for The Frick Collection in relation to a proposed addition to the museum, an individual landmark, in order to address its long-standing programmatic needs.
  • Assisting Clipper Equity with the proposed rezoning of Flatbush Gardens, a residential complex consisting of 59 buildings spanning over 20 acres and five partial blocks in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn.
  • Representing River Spring Health in land use matters relating to the proposed development of the city’s first continuing care retirement community on the Hebrew Home for the Aged’s 32-acre campus.
  • Acting for HELP Development Corp. in relation to the proposed rezoning and redevelopment of its existing shelter facility on a site occupying almost a full block at 515 Blake Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Boasting one of the largest teams of land use and zoning teams in the country, Latham & Watkins LLP is consistently involved in headline developments spanning major mixed-use projects, infrastructure and industrial properties, and master-planned communities throughout the country. In addition, the team complements its understanding of land use and zoning issues with strength in environmental law. Practice co-head James Arnone focuses on entitlement approvals and related litigation, and joint practice head Duncan Moore is particularly well-regarded for his experience in dealing with the California Coastal Commission. Both practitioners are based in the Los Angeles office as is George Mihlsten and Lucinda Starrett, who has handled entitlement work for household-name corporates. Another contact on the West Coast is Christopher Garrett, who maintains a multi-disciplinary practice covering land use policies and environmental law. The team also has a strong presence in Washington DC, where Janice Schneider and Tommy Beaudreau are recommended for their experience of siting and environmental issues relating to offshore and onshore energy projects.

Key clients

Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies

American Airlines

FivePoint Holdings/Newhall Land & Farming Company

California American Water Company (Cal-Am)

City of Hope National Medical Center

Oasis West Realty

Beverly Hills Luxury Residences

Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC)


CORE/Related Grand Ave Owner

8920 Sunset Boulevard

Faring Capital

Work highlights

  • Advising Oasis West Realty on the re-entitlement and redevelopment of the largest commercial property development in Beverly Hills – the 17-acre Beverly Hilton and 9900 Wilshire property.
  • Represented American Airlines in coordinating with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, and Texas Historic Commission in relation to the redevelopment of the American Airlines corporate campus (the Robert L. Crandall Global Support Campus) on land leased from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.
  • Advising NBCUniversal on the implementation of long-term master plan for the 391-acre Universal Studios site in Los Angeles, which includes plans to add over 2 million square feet of net new hotel, studio, office, and entertainment-related space to support and expand on existing production and entertainment activities.
  • Represents Lytle Development Company in its efforts to develop a new mini-city in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, located about 55 miles east of Los Angeles.
  • Defending Cal-Am against a multitude of lawsuits seeking to halt Cal-Am’s progress in securing approvals for the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.

Ballard Spahr LLP

Ballard Spahr LLP provides comprehensive planning and permitting advice to its varied client base, with recent highlights including advice on subdivisions and zoning variances, historical preservation matters and complex environmental permitting. Based in Philadelphia, practice head Matthew McClure has significant experience in urban redevelopment projects, as well as in appeals before zoning committees and other administrative agencies. Another key contact is Thomas Bennett in Salt Lake City, who focuses on the development of resort and commercial properties, and also has experience of zoning and entitlements for planned communities.

Practice head(s):

Matthew McClure

Key clients

Southern Land Company

Radnor Property Group



Exeter Property Group

HFZ Capital Group

East West Partners

DC Survivors & Advocates for Empowerment (SAFE)

Wexford Science + Technology

Montgomery Housing Partnership

Gilbane Development Company

Natural Lands

The Philadelphia Phillies

Temple University

Work highlights

  • Assisted LCOR with obtaining the property rights necessary to construct a fully-integrated 31-story residential addition to the existing Society Hill Sheraton hotel at 1 Dock Street, Philadelphia.
  • Guided Southern Land through the entitlement process for its development of a mixed-use high-rise project  on a 1 acre site on Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia; this involved a grant by the City Council of real estate interests in order to build above and below a public street, amendments to the zoning code, zoning permits, Historical Commission approvals regarding development of the historic buildings, and Planning Commission and other agency approvals.
  • Representing HFZ Capital Group in connection with the development of North Station District, a multi-phase, transit‑oriented, mixed-use development that aims to repurpose and revitalize the under-utilized North Philadelphia SEPTA and Amtrak stations and to develop adjacent sites into a large-scale mixed-use complex.
  • Assisted East West Partners in the on-going development of The Village at Empire Pass, a luxury residential community within the Deer Valley Ski Resort in Utah.
  • Represent SRDV in the development of the St. Regis Deer Valley Hotel, at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

The New York-based planning and zoning practice at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP assists its corporate client base with municipal and state approvals pertaining to building codes, zoning, construction and historic preservation. In addition, the team also handles administrative disputes relating to large development projects. Key figures include department head Judith Gallent, who has experience across the entire spectrum of land use matters, including air rights transfers and discretionary approvals. Attorney and architect James Colgate is the other name to note in the team; his specialist areas of knowledge include zoning variances and permitting matters.

Practice head(s):

Judith Gallent

Other key lawyers:

James Colgate

Key clients

Acadia Realty Trust

Arbor Realty Trust

The Archdiocese of New York

China Vanke Co.


Deutsche Bank

Empire State Development Corporation

Fashion Institute of Technology

Jewish Theological Seminary

Joseph Safra Real Estate

Madison Equities

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

New York University

The Rockefeller Group

Rose Associates

Steiner Leisure Limited (Bliss Spa)

Silverstein Properties

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Yale Club of New York City

Toll Brothers City Living

The University Club

Neiman Marcus

Work highlights

  • Represented the joint developers, F&T Group and Rockefeller Group Development Corp., in connection with land use approvals for the Flushing Commons project in Flushing, New York.
  • Assisted New York University with the development of a master plan and with obtaining land use approvals for the “Plan 2031” project, a long-term city-wide strategy for growth involving the expansion of the University’s core campus in Greenwich Village.
  • Advised Silverstein Properties, a significant office and residential developer, on all land use and zoning aspects of the development a large parcel in Hudson Yards, which will ultimately contain two buildings with approximately 1.8 million square feet of residential and commercial space.
  • Representing Toll Brothers City Living, a significant residential developer, in the acquisition of development rights for the construction of a residential tower; also representing the client before governmental agencies for various land use applications, including requests for complex building code variances and for a special permit to exceed maximum parking space limitations.
  • Assisted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with a land use transaction involving the ground lease of property to a private developer and transfer of development rights, among a variety of other issues.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson

Cox, Castle & Nicholson has a track record of involvement in innovative redevelopment and conservation projects. Jointly led by Andrew Fogg in Los Angeles and Anne Mudge in San Francisco, the team provides comprehensive planning and zoning advice on residential, industrial, and mixed-use developments, as well as medical facilities and master planned communities. Mudge is also rated for her experience of the planning issues arising from energy infrastructure developments.

Practice head(s):

Anne Mudge; Andrew Fogg

Key clients

Carmel Partners

Oak Knoll Acquisition Ventures

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District

Pacific Marina Venture and Golden West Properties

Imperial Irrigation District

Burnham-Ward Properties

Starboard Realty Partners

The Sobrato Organization

RAD Urban

Work highlights

  • Assisted Carmel Partners with obtaining an approval from the City of Los Angeles for Carmel’s 520 Mateo project, which includes the redevelopment of an existing industrial site in the Arts District of Los Angeles, and a new mixed-use residential live/work project containing 475 residential live/work units and 125,000 square feet of commercial space.
  • Advised Oak Knoll Acquisition Ventures on all aspects of the entitlement of the Oak Knoll project, which involves the redevelopment of one of the largest privately-owned vacant properties in the City of Oakland.
  • Acted as lead counsel on behalf of all twelve major urban water agencies with operations on the Upper Santa Ana River in the preparation of a habitat conservation plan covering all operations within the watershed (2,650 square miles located in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties in Southern California).
  • Acted for Pacific Marina Venture and Golden West Properties in the  negotiation of an amended and restated ground lease with the County of Los Angeles for the redevelopment of  Pier 44 in Marina del Rey; also advised on various entitlements and financing arrangements for the redevelopment of the project.
  • Serving as land use and entitlement counsel in connection with the revitalization of the Dana Point Harbor in the City of Dana Point.


Goodwin's zoning and land use group is an integral part of a cross-disciplinary nationwide team of lawyers, all making up the firm's wider real estate industry group. Martin Healy leads the development and permitting team, which advises on issues across the entire spectrum planning and zoning, such as project permitting, due diligence, subdivision control, historic preservation, environmental liabilities, and specialized tax treatment. Of counsel Lawrence Kaplan has extensive experience of permitting and transactional matters relating to large-scale development projects, and Robert Fitzgerald has expertise both in permitting and environmental review issues for residential, commercial and industrial projects. Jennifer Schultz is also recommended. All named attorneys are based in the Boston office.

Practice head(s):

Martin Healy


‘The Goodwin team possesses the experience, expertise and relationships necessary to achieve our project permitting goals in a timely manner.’

‘Jennifer Schultz works extremely well with client’s in-house staff and consultant team, and is currently coordinating all aspects of the entitlement process for our new residence hall project.  In doing so, she understands both the City and State regulations and expectations, and brings the right people together to address and achieve success.  This is done in a highly professional, non-confrontational manner.’

Key clients

Boston Properties

Bulfinch Companies

Emerson College

Habitat for Humanity

Meredith Management

NB Development Group

Peebles Corporation

Sanofi US

Skanska USA Commercial Development

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Work highlights

  • Represented NB Development in connection with the permitting of a mixed-use building consisting of a track and field venue, a concert venue, medial office and retail use.
  • Assisted New Balance Athletics with the purchase and redevelopment of 596 Lowell Street in Methuen, MA to house a manufacturing facility for athletic footwear and other athletic accessories.
  • Representing a joint venture between Boston Properties and Delaware North in the development, permitting and leasing of an air rights parcel, comprising a portion of The Hub on Causeway development on the site of the old and beloved Boston Garden.
  • Advising FoxRock Properties on the redevelopment of the former Masonic Temple located on Hancock Street in Quincy Center, MA; advice included assistance with entitlement work, historic review, and negotiation regarding private easement agreements.
  • Representing Sanofi US in connection with permitting and construction of new office/laboratory uses located principally within the Cambridge Crossing (North Point) section of Cambridge, but also extending into Boston.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP provides land use advice from four offices across the state of California: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco and Sacramento. In addition, the practice group is complemented by a close working relationship with the firm's nationwide government department, making it an attractive choice for challenging state and local government approvals. Based in Los Angeles, department head Victor De la Cruz has extensive knowledge of issues such as CEQA, historic preservation regulations and the Coastal Act. Susan Hori in Orange County is a name to note for multi-agency permits, and San Francisco-based David Smith is rated for his experience of entitlement and permitting matters for particularly contentious developments.

Practice head(s):

Victor De la Cruz


‘David Smith has been outstanding. He is always one step ahead and extremely organized. He provides good business solutions that address our Legal/Real Estate concerns. He communicates in a way that helps you focus on the key issues and move in a timely manner.’

‘The attorneys at Manatt work as a team. The lead is always a Partner, and it allows them to draw from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.’

‘Susan Hori is an expert in her field. She draws on years of experiences having represented very high profile development cases throughout the state of California. She is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of land use and environmental law.’

‘Manatt takes a very detailed and personal approach addressing our concerns so that our projects are well positioned throughout their cycle from entitlement through construction and operation.  While other firms may have comparable talent, the access and flexibility that Manatt provides is unmatched.’

‘Susan Hori’s expertise and personal relationships with both staff and elected officials is unparalleled.’

Key clients

Athens Services

CapRock Partners

Jay Paul Company

Lyon Living/Synergy Oil & Gas

Lytle Creek

Mount Saint Mary’s University

Newport Bayside Resort

Poseidon Water

Trumark Homes

Toll Brothers Apartment Living

Work highlights

  • Assisted Poseidon Water with obtaining approval from the California Coastal Commission and the US Army Corps of Engineers to develop one of the Western Hemisphere’s largest seawater desalination plants, which is to be located in Huntington Beach, California.
  • Assisting Lyon Living and Synergy Oil and Gas with obtaining entitlements to develop two new oil production sites in the city of Long Beach, California which together would provide 120 new production and injection wells.
  • Representing Mount Saint Mary’s University in its first Brentwood campus development project in more than three decades.
  • Assisted Athens Services with the entitlements and environmental review for its Materials Recovery Facility and Transfer Station project.
  • Advising Simon Properties on its plans to redevelop the former Sears store and associated parking field at the Simon-owned Brea Mall in the northern Orange County city of Brea, California.

Paul Hastings LLP

With solid bases in Northern and Southern California, Paul Hastings LLP's land use practice at operates as an integrated part of the firm's real estate group, providing legal assistance to private and public clients throughout every stage of large land and real estate projects, from early-stage planning to financing to litigation. Based in Los Angeles, practice co-head Jeffrey Haber is an expert in entitlement law, and has a strong track record in obtaining government approvals for heavily contended development projects. Joint practice head Mitchell Menzer is also based in the Los Angeles office. Also recommended is Gordon Hart in San Francisco, a name to note for complex permitting and issues pertaining to the California Environmental Quality Act.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Haber; Mitchell Menzer

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Hart


‘The team is very proactive and responsive to our requests.’

‘Outstanding local experience, knowledge of city, state and federal rules and regulation – blended with local politics.’

‘We relied on Jeff Haber and Michael Nytzen on strategies on many levels – from researching on history of development on the properties to confirm parking requirements, to resolving issues related to entitlement, community outreach and presentation to City on our behalf.’  

‘Individuals are very experienced, approachable, down to earth with a lot of common sense.’ 

Key clients


Cedars Sinai Medical Center

A Community of Friends

Marina Del Rey Hospital

Plenitude Holdings

Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Mack Urban Development

Related Santa Clara

Shen Zhen New World I

Associate Capital

Five Point Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advising on the entitlement and development of a new 9-story hospital building to replace the existing 1-story Marina Del Rey Hospital in order to meet California’s requirements for hospitals to withstand a major earthquake and remain operable.
  • Representing Plenitude Holdings (the leaseholder of the Los Angeles County owned Victoria Golf Course in Carson, California) in connection with the repositioning of an 87 acre portion of the golf course, built on a former landfill, into a sports and recreation destination.
  • Representing the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (LAPA) in connection with the acquisition and development of a new Frank Gehry designed headquarters building for LAPA’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles program.
  • Successfully obtained various approvals from the City of West Hollywood, including a Specific Plan, for the proposed redevelopment of the former International Creative Management Agency headquarters building in West Hollywood, California, into a 195,000 square-foot mixed commercial/residential high-rise.
  • Advising Associate Capital and its affiliate California Barrel Company on the entitlement, disposition and development of a mixed-use project on a 21-acre site on San Francisco Bay.

Perkins Coie LLP

Perkins Coie LLP advises private companies and public agencies on a wide range of land use and zoning matters, including planning and permitting, tax-increment financing, and environmental impact assessments. The team is led by Cecily Barclay in San Francisco, and also includes Seth King in the Portland office.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP fields teams of experts in key cities across California, which routinely advise on issues such as subdivision and zoning, historic preservation, development agreements and environmental permits. The practice group is jointly headed by Keith Garner in San Francisco and San Diego-based Nancy Scull. Also in San Diego, Jeffrey Forrest is a name to note for large-scale planning matters, litigation defense and entitlement approvals. He also advises on compliance with regulations, such as NEPA and CEQA. Jennifer Renk in San Francisco is also recommended; she has experience of development projects across the state of California, and has a focus on matters relating to the California Environmental Quality Act.

Practice head(s):

Keith Garner; Nancy Scull

Other key lawyers:

Jeffrey Forest; Jennifer Rank


‘They are one of the firms that have strong connections in San Diego and throughout California. When you are an out of town client, you need those connections.’

‘Jeff Forrest is diligent, aggressive (when appropriate) and knows both the subject matter and the players. He is a helpful guide throughout the process.’

Key clients

City of Diamond Bar



Consolidated Edison Company of New York

ACounty of San Diego


Hines International

Holland Partner Group

Lightstone Group

The Primary School

Work highlights

  • Represent the City of Diamond Bar in land use litigation regarding the proposed development of a large-scale solar project on Tres Hermanos Ranch, 2,500 acres of land located east of Los Angeles.
  • Represented Fortbay in the development of a 716-unit apartment complex in Mountain View, CA.
  • Secured approval from the East Palo Alto City Council to develop a campus for The Primary School.
  • Lead land use counsel for the Angels Landing project, a $1.5bn skyline altering mega project to redevelop a key parcel in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Acted for Holland Partner Group throughout San Diego’s entitlement process for a 37-story, 445-foot tall mixed use project comprising 431 residential units (87 very-low affordable units), 236,000 square feet of office space and 16,000 square feet of commercial space at the site of the Old County Courthouse.

Arent Fox LLP

Arent Fox LLP's land use team has a solid presence in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but also benefits from close collaboration with the firm's nationwide real estate practice. Thought the team's core focus is land use and zoning, its expertise also extends to adjacent legal areas such as housing  issues, environmental implications, and even technology and design. Timothy Tosta is regularly sought by major Bay Area developers to advise on land use entitlements for controversial development proposals. Recently promoted Frank Petrilli jointly leads the department alongside Tosta; he handles a wide range of zoning and entitlement issues, and also advises on compliance under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Both attorneys are based in San Francisco.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Tosta; Frank Petrilli


‘The team is very professional and problem-solving oriented.’ 

‘We work with two parters Frank Petrilli and Timothy Tosta, and associate Matthew Stone. All of them are very professional and able to provide valuable advice. ‘

Key clients


Ensemble Investments


ZAEN Partners

Cliff Bay Partners

Bohannon Development Company

Genzon Investment Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Facebook on a wide variety of land use, entitlement, housing, and transactional matters in connection with the expansion of its corporate headquarters in Menlo Park.
  • Advising Chinese developer Genzon and its subsidiary Kylli on ongoing construction, permitting, entitlement, and other matters in connection with Burlingame Point, a new 803,000 square foot office bay-front campus located in Burlingame, California.
  • Representing Ensemble Investments in connection with several entitlement efforts in Northern California, including a 340-room hotel in Oyster Point in South San Francisco.
  • Represents Netherlands-based hotel chain CitizenM in connection with the entitlement of a 240-key hotel in Menlo Park adjacent to Facebook’s campus.
  • Assists Cliff Bay Partners with an 89-unit condominium project (with 15% of the units designated as affordable) with ground floor commercial and retail space in the coastal zone of the beachside community of Santa Cruz, CA at 190 West Cliff Drive.

Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes

Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes is a South Florida-based boutique firm fully devoted to land use, zoning and environmental matters. Headed by Jeffrey Bercow, the practice group provides comprehensive planning and zoning support throughout all stages of a given project, assisting them from initial due diligence to construction. The team also represents clients before various regulatory, entitlement and enforcement boards throughout the state of Florida. Another name to note in the Miami office is Melissa Tapanes Llahues, who regularly advises landowners, developers and institutional clients on licensing matters and regulatory approvals.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Bercow


‘This is the first time I worked closely with Jeff and Greg and I find both of them to be extremely competent and good lawyers.’

‘I found both Jeff and Greg to be very engaged practitioners, who made sure to accomplish our goals.’

Key clients

Adler Development Group & 13th Floor Investments

Rosal Westview


Bizzi & Partners Development

MCZ Centrum Flamingo II and MCZ Centrum Flamingo III

Vintro Villas

Terra Group

Leon Medical Centers

Florida International University

Platform 3750


Gulliver Schools

Columbia Florida 9th Industrial

Babylon International

Work highlights

  • Working with Rosal Westview (the developer-owner of the abandoned Westview Golf Course in the infill area of the Miami-Dade County) which has entered into a contract with Lennar Homes for the purchase and sale of the northern half of the former golf course site; the team is further representing Lennar Homes in a comprehensive plan amendment application required to permit residential development of the property.
  • Representing Bizzi & Partners Development in the proposed redevelopment of a mixed-used project on a parcel of land slightly over 1 acre in size located in the Fulford Mixed-Use Corridor District in the City of North Miami Beach.
  • Advising a joint venture between Adler Development Group and 13th Floor Investments in relation to the redevelopment of land surrounding the Douglas Road Metrorail Station; the land is intended to be developed into a mixed-used site, with retail, hotel, residential units and an office building.
  • Advising Vintro Villas on the proposed redevelopment of a parcel in Miami Beach containing a historic building that was converted back to its original use as a hotel.
  • Representing Leon Medical Centers in land use, zoning, permitting and construction matters throughout Miami-Dade County; advice recently included the due diligence, acquisition, land use, zoning, and site-planning, for the development seven medical campuses located in Unincorporated Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami, and the City of Hialeah, as well as its corporate headquarters in the City of Doral.

Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP

The Miami-based land development and government relations team at Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP advises property owners and developers on a variety of land use and zoning issues across the state of Florida. Names to note include Javier Aviñó and practice chair Stanley Price.

Practice head(s):

Stanley Price

Other key lawyers:

Javier Aviñó

Cooley LLP

Cooley LLP has a strong reputation in the real estate markets of Northern Virginia and Washington DC, where it is retained by property owners and developers for assistance with a range of complex land use and zoning matters. Mark Looney and Colleen Gillis are the firm's primary contacts for planning and zoning work, covering a huge variety of office, residential, industrial, mixed-use and planned community projects. Another name to note is John Lavoie, who chairs the wider real estate group. All named practitioners are based in the Reston office.

Practice head(s):

John Lavoie

Other key lawyers:

Mark Looney; Colleen Gillis

Key clients

Miller & Smith

SA Associates South

Appian Corporation

Tenable Holdings

Boston Properties

Brookfield Properties


The Wharf/PN Hoffman


JBG Smith

Work highlights

  • Represented The Peterson Companies in its approval for a 75 square foot retail center in Leesburg, Virginia.
  • Assisted TF Cornerstones/Campus Commons with obtaining a rezoning approval for Campus Commons, which is an approximately 12 acre mixed-use project within a quarter mile of the Wiehle Reston East Metro station.
  • Representing Comstock Companies, a publicly-traded development company, in two separate developments to expand its existing Reston Station development near the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station.
  • Representing Brookfield Office REIT in the development of 3.5 million square feet of mixed-use development adjacent to the Reston Town Center Metrorail Station in Reston, Virginia.
  • Acted for Miller & Smith in securing approval of a mixed-use town center, that will ultimately consist of over 3 million square feet of office development and remains Loudoun County’s first and only project to receive the prestigious Smart Growth Alliance Award.

Farella Braun + Martel LLP

Farella Braun + Martel LLP acts for developers, property owners and non-profit housing providers seeking legal support in relation to land use and entitlement across Northern California. The team has a particular focus on development projects in San Francisco and the Wine Country, and has developed considerable experience in helping clients obtain New Markets and Historic Preservation Tax Credits. The practice group is headed by San Francisco-based Steven Vettel, who has expertise in a range of issues including public-private real estate agreements and rezoning actions. Another key figure in San Francisco is Charles Higley, who has recently been involved in large-scale residential, commercial and industrial developments.

Practice head(s):

Steven Vettel

Other key lawyers:

Richard Shapiro; Charles Higley

Key clients

MM Enterprises USA

F4 Transbay Partners

AvalonBay Communities

BRIDGE Housing Corporation

Solbach Property Group

NextEra Energy Resources

The Integral Group

First Solar

Pacific Eagle


Work highlights

  • Advising MM Enterprises USA on land use and permitting issues in relation to a cannabis dispensary in San Francisco’s Union Square and Union Street neighborhoods.
  • Acting for a partnership between Hines, Goldman Sachs and Urban Pacific to entitle a 750-foot mixed use tower (office, hotel and residential) that will be the fourth tallest in San Francisco.
  • Acting as land use and real estate counsel to a partnership of AvalonBay and BRIDGE Housing, which is seeking to purchase a 13-acre vacant reservoir site from the City and County of San Francisco and develop an 1,100-unit mixed-income development.
  • Counsel to a local family trust seeking to re-zone and entitle a high-rise residential tower in San Francisco’s Central SOMA district.
  • Acting as land use and real estate counsel to The Integral Group in the negotiation a lease disposition agreement from a local community college district and in seeking rezoning and land use entitlements for construction of a large scale residential development.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP has a track record of advising property owners on site development strategies and standalone regulatory matters pertaining to land use. Los Angeles-based Ellen Berkowitz is a name to note on the West Coast, while Nick Hockens and Jay Segal are key figures in the firm's New York office. Another contact is Ryan Bailine in Miami, who has handled zoning relating to major residential, industrial, and mixed-use developments.

Herrick, Feinstein LLP

Herrick, Feinstein LLP has a well-rounded practice providing comprehensive advice in land use and zoning matters in New York City. The team routinely advises clients on matters pertaining to zoning, development rights transfers, leasing, and environmental issues, as well as discretionary approvals from New York City agencies. Urban planner and land use expert Mitchell Korbey jointly heads the department alongside Belinda Schwartz, who chairs the wider real estate group. Another name to note is Jodi Stein, who has expertise in the zoning and land use aspects of Qualified Opportunity Fund investments. Also of note, in 2019 the team was strengthened by the addition of 13 attorneys and land use specialists to the real estate group in 2019, including Raymond Levin, Ellen Hay and Robert Huberman, who joined from Slater & Beckerman. Another recent arrival is that of Veronica Chuah, who was previously at the NYC Board of Standards & Appeals; Chuah's areas of expertise include NYC zoning and building regulations and City Planning policies and initiatives.

Other key lawyers:

Jodi Stein

Key clients

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

Deutsche Bank

G4 Capital Partners

Mitsui Fudosan America

MRP Realty

Otera Capital Investments IX

Property Markets Group

RAL Development Services

Rose Associates

The Reece School

Work highlights

  • Represented MRP Realty in connection with the acquisition of over 27,000 square feet of unused development rights from a neighboring property through zoning lot merger, along with a related light and air easement. The development rights will facilitate the expansion and renovation of 405 Park Avenue, a major office building in Manhattan.
  • Special counsel to Otera Capital Investments IX in zoning and title matters related to $147.7m in loans to HFZ Capital Group, for an assemblage of several parcels in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan where HFZ is planning a 60-story office tower.
  • Assisted Rose Associates with the completion of an Inclusionary Housing application for the property located at 210 Livingston Street in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Represented Mitsui Fudosan in the zoning for the development of the residential tower 200 Amsterdam, including the successful defeat of a challenge to the project’s approval brought by local community groups. Once completed, the 668-foot building will be the tallest on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
  • Represented RAL Development Services in the redevelopment of 124 East 14th Street into a 21-story, 240,000 square-foot tech-focused office space.

Mayer Brown

Based in California, the real estate, land use and zoning practice at Mayer Brown has been involved in several of the largest and most controversial development projects in the City of Los Angeles. The team has core strength in advising national and local developers on matters pertaining to land use regulation and in helping those clients obtain entitlements for real estate development projects. The team also advises on water supply issues as well as compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Leading the practice is Edgar Khalatian, who has built a reputation for acting as lead counsel in the implementation of master planned communities.

Practice head(s):

Edgar Khalatian


‘Accessibility to the partners to get accurate input in a timely manner is key in today’s fast paced environment; Mayer Brown has proven time and time again that they can deliver.’

‘Edgar is extremely knowledgeable and always accessible. We enjoy working with him on several complicated projects.’

‘The land use team has multi-disciplinary backgrounds (planning, law, city government etc.) which really creates a powerhouse of capability in navigating the complex CA zoning process.’ 

‘Edgar Khalatian is hands down the best land use attorney in LA.’

Key clients

Millennium Partners

The Reef

8150 Sunset

Crown Realty and Cypress Equities

The GPI Companies

AvalonBay Communities

Harvard-Westlake School

Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

Encore Capital Management and Cal Coast Development

Community Builders Group


Jamison Properties

Work highlights

  • Represented The Reef in the entitlement of 10-acre site in downtown Los Angeles, which will consist of residential apartment units, live/work units, residential condominium units, as well as retail space and a hotel (among others).
  • Serving as land use counsel to 8150 Sunset on one of the largest projects in West Hollywood; the Frank Gehry designed project consists of 229 residential units, including 38 affordable units, and 60,000 square feet of commercial uses on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights in the City of Los Angeles.
  • Serving as land use counsel to Crown Realty in the largest development project in the history of the City of Burbank, California, which includes the redevelopment of an approximately 37-acre property with 1,165 residential dwelling units, up to approximately 284,000 square feet of office space, a 250-room hotel, and up to approximately 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, as well as the improvement of the existing Burbank Town Center, a regional mall.
  • Assisted the GPI Companies with the entitlement of a 26-story, mixed-use project at the Amoeba Music site in Hollywood.
  • Serving as land use counsel to Harvard-Westlake in a state-of-the-art Practice Facility that will house all of the School’s athletic facilities.

Nossaman LLP

Bringing together expertise in land use, environmental and eminent domain issues, Nossaman LLP represents private developers and public infrastructure clients in land use entitlement matters, permit approvals, and all related litigation. The California-based team has particular strength in precondemnation matters, and is also adept at assisting with CEQA and NEPA compliance. Moreover, leveraging its California base, the group also represents developers and property owners before the California Coastal Commission. Brad Kuhn in Irvine chairs the eminent domain and valuation practice group, and John Erskine, who is most active in real estate developments in Southern California, leads the land use and environmental law team. A contact in Los Angeles is Steven Kaufmann, who stands out for his expertise in matters involving the Coastal Commission.

Practice head(s):

Brad Kuhn; John Erskine

Other key lawyers:

Steven Kaufmann


‘Nossaman offers a diversity and depth of talent and experience.’

‘Our case turned out to be extremely complex.  Fortunately, Nossaman was able to bring in appropriate in-house  experts on different facets of law.  When outside experts were required, John had a ready list of capable individuals and firms that we could turn to.  Accordingly, we were able to field a full team that could cover all of the issues that surfaced in our litigation. Nossaman was intimately familiar with the policies and procedures. They had excellent working knowledge of pending cases, issue tipping points and what was happening on the larger political stage.’

‘John Erskine is an exceptionally seasoned and experienced attorney with a strong background in land use and real estate law.  He also served as an elected official, which adds credibility when dealing with the CCC and other government bodies.’ 

‘John is an excellent listener, thoughtful strategist, inspired tactician and capable team leader.  He orchestrates our case and uses his excellent communications skills to keep everyone on the same page.’

Key clients

Custom House Hotel (dba Portola Hotel & Spa)

201 San Antonio Circle

Security National Guaranty

Southern California Edison (SCE)

Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)


24 Hour Fitness

CalAtlantic Homes (formerly Standard Pacific)

OSLIC Holdings (formerly Old Standard Life Insurance Company)

Bayside Village Marina – Back Bay Landing (Newport Beach)

White Rock Resort

City of Los Angeles / Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART)

California Water Service Company

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Custom House Hotel (dba Portola Hotel & Spa) in lawsuit against City of Monterey related to the $60m renovation of the adjacent Monterey Conference Center and related changes in land use and zoning.
  • Successfully represented Security National Guaranty in a 19-year appeal before the California Coastal Commission, in which the client has twice achieved court decisions overturning Commission decisions denying a proposed oceanfront resort project.
  • Retained by a court-appointed receiver to represent OSLIC Holdings in an appeal by an environmental group to the Brea City Council, challenging the 2008 Brea Planning Commission approval of a 367-acre, 165-residential lot project in the hills of Brea, California valued at $100m.
  • Obtained City and Coastal Commission approval for the Coastal Land Use Planning Amendment for a 200,000 square foot residential and mixed-use coastal village on a land use entitlement project for a primarily undeveloped/underutilized 31-acre bay front site in Newport Beach, California.
  • Advising Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) on property acquisitions and relocation issues for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project – an $8bn, 20-mile elevated rail corridor system running from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, with stations at 21 key commuter and visitor destinations.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's land use and zoning practice is an integral part of the firm's wider real estate practice. Chaired by Rachel Horsch, the group handles planning and government approval issues for nearly every type of real estate project, including mixed-use developments, retail and office buildings, industrial facilities, hospitality-related accommodation, as well as residential property and university campuses. Horsch is based in the San Francisco office.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Horsch

Key clients


San Francisco Baseball Association/San Francisco Giants

Spear Street Capital


New York University

NYU Langone Health

New York University School of Law Foundation


United States Postal Service

Hoffman-Stuever Waterfront (The Wharf District)

Great Eagle Holdings

Work highlights

  • Representing Barrett Block Partners in the entitlement process for the redevelopment of the site located on 4th and Harrison Streets in San Francisco, which included representing the interests of the site during the Central SOMA rezoning efforts.
  • Advising Triple Five Worldwide on the acquisition, financing, and development of a 47-acre property that is being converted into a multi-billion dollar mixed-use sustainable urban neighbourhood known as the Warner Center.
  • Representing Poly Real Estate Group Co. in the acquisition of a 40% equity interest in the $6bn Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island redevelopment project, situated along the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
  • Advising NYU on real estate issues in connection with the ongoing transformation of 370 Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn.
  • Representing Hoffman-Struever Waterfront and affiliates, the master developer selected by the District of Columbia government, for redevelopment of the District Wharf at the Southwest Waterfront.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

The zoning and land use experts at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP are regularly engaged by developers to help secure approvals for high-profile and oftentimes controversial developments, as well as transformational projects across New York and beyond. The land use subgroup is led by Ross Moskowitz in New York. In addition to acting for clients seeking discretionary zoning approvals, Moskowitz is also regularly retained to advise on public-private partnerships, environmental issues, tax abatement and exemption matters. The national real estate group is jointly headed by Jeffrey Keitelman and Brian Diamond, who are based in Washington DC and New York, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Keitelman; Brian Diamond


‘Stroock are professional, fully transparent, able to explain all legal issues, risk and potential legal arguments. Attorneys are very attentive, extremely knowledgeable in all aspect of real estate transactions, financing, tax issues & in negotiations with local, state & federal governments. We have bee using the firm for more than 20 years.’

‘Ross Moskowitz is professional, provides a full description of a legal situation, potential pitfalls and various paths to respond to the situation.’

Key clients

Sabey Corporation

Blackstone Group

Alexandria Real Estate Equities

Skyline Developers

F&T Group

Madison Realty Capital

BGY Cityview

Triangle Equities

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

TF Cornerstone

Work highlights

  • Obtained approval on behalf of the Sabey Corporation from the City Planning Commission for the redesign of the public plaza at 375 Pearl Street, Manhattan (The Verizon Building) a highly recognizable telephone exchange.
  • Representing Alexandria Real Estate Equities in land use, acquisition and deal negotiations for the creation of the Alexandria Center for Science and Technology at the East River Science Park in New York City.
  • Advised the Wilf family (d/b/a Skyline Developers) on the acquisition and assemblage of properties at 9-11 West 54th Street, 10 West 55th Street and 12-18 West 55th Street, New York.
  • Represented MRC, a real estate private equity fund, in applications seeking a rezoning and a special permit to facilitate a mixed residential and commercial development with a new public school at 69-02 Queens Boulevard, Woodside.
  • Acted for BGY in negotiations with the Metropolitan Transit Authority regarding subway station expansion and reconstruction agreements and an amendment thereto, in connection with the Skyline Tower (23-15 44th Drive).

Vedder Price

Vedder Price is a destination for clients seeking counsel on land use and development entitlements in Chicago. The practice advises corporates, lenders and equity investors, and non-profits such as charities and religious organizations on complex zoning rights agreements, master plans, and city ordinance issues. In addition, the team has experience of liquor control issues and matters relating to historic preservation law. Practice head Danielle Meltzer Cassel is the key point of contact. Cassel stands out for her extensive experience in land use and zoning issues arising from suburban and urban transactional real estate; other areas of focus include public incentive and business licensing matters.

Practice head(s):

Danielle Meltzer Cassel

Key clients

Abbell Credit Corporation

Antheus Capital

Berghoff Restaurant

BRE IL Office Owner

CED Food

Crate & Barrel

Farpoint Development

Federal Realty Investment Trust

Fifth Third Bank (formerly MB Financial Bank, NA)

General Growth Properties (now Brookfield Properties)

Greenway Development

La Casa Norte

Miniat Companies

RR Donnelley & Sons Company

Smart Hotels

State Farm Insurance Company

Suncast Corporation

Target Corporation

VPC Pizza Properties Corp.

Wood Creek Courts Environmental Preservation Association

Work highlights

  • Obtained land use approvals for a new health and wellness anchor (Lifetime Fitness) and negotiating the Village of Oak Brook’s new Comprehensive Plan, which will govern development of the property in the coming years.
  • Assisted Antheus Capital (the largest private property owner in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood other than the University of Chicago) with obtaining municipal land use and development approvals for more than a dozen separate redevelopment projects, including extensive negotiations with multiple governmental bodies and community organizations. The most recent two projects, both of which involve new, high-rise residential or mixed-use construction, have received all entitlements and are each valued at over $250m.
  • Serves as land use counsel for Federal Realty Investment Trust with respect to a prominent, 16-acre parcel that is adjacent to the Chicago River in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
  • Assists Greenway Development and its affiliates with real estate, land use, environmental and corporate matters, including but not limited to acquisition of a brownfield site from the City of Chicago.
  • Assists Suncast Corporation with obtaining governmental approvals and private contracts to facilitate rail access and rail service for multiple industrial facilities.