David Gest > Ballard Spahr LLP > Philadelphia, United States > Lawyer Profile

Ballard Spahr LLP
United States

Work Department

Real Estate




David M. Gest has a wide-ranging real estate practice focused on zoning and land use matters. David has experience working with city planners, architects, landscape architects, and environmental and historic preservation consultants on major development projects.

He has worked with an array of city agencies and community groups throughout the zoning and historic preservation review processes, such as appearances before the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Philadelphia Historical Commission, and the Civic Design Review Committee.

David also has experience with many aspects of transactional real estate work, including complex due diligence review, property acquisition and disposition, construction agreements, eminent domain, and leasing of retail, office, and laboratory space.


District of Columbia

New York



Community Design Collaborative, Board Member

Urban Land Institute, Philadelphia Chapter, Community & Economic Development Council

American Bar Association, Section of State and Local Government Law

Philadelphia Bar Association

Ballard Spahr’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council


Columbia Law School (J.D. 2010)
Submissions Editor, Columbia Journal of Environmental Law; Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, 2008-2010

University of Pennsylvania School of Design (M.C.P. 2010, city planning/community and economic development)
Recipient, Edmund Bacon Award for Best Professional Project; Daniel J. Curtin Fellow

Yale University (B.A. 2003, architecture/urban studies, cum laude with distinction in major)
Yale President’s Public Service Fellow

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Real estate > Land use/zoning

Ballard Spahr LLP‘s land use and zoning group has attorneys in various areas of the country that advise on securing all permits and approvals on real estate projects, and excels in historic preservation and environmental issues. It has a particularly strong base in Philadelphia, continuing to represent clients in some of the cities highest-profile developments, and head of the department Matthew McClure is based at the firm’s office there. His practice emphasizes development, land use, zoning, and historic preservation matters and he frequently works with David Gest in cases before the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Philadelphia Historical Commission and the Civic Design Review Committee. In Salt Lake City, Thomas Bennett has a focus on development of commercial and resort properties, frequently involving zoning and entitlements work, while at the Minneapolis office, James Walston heads the firm’s real estate development and transactions group and covers land use and zoning in his broad practice.