Ballard Spahr is a recognized leader in real estate—serving clients in every segment of the industry. With across-the-board strength, regional market knowledge, and a strong national platform, we can assist from zoning and land use through acquisition, development, and lease-up.
Clients nationwide call on us to assist them in acquiring, developing, financing and disposing of their real estate. With a client-first philosophy and an unsurpassed level of skill and sophistication, we provide effective solutions to seemingly intractable challenges. These efforts have led Chambers USA to award our real estate practice and many of our lawyers a national ranking for excellence.
- We've done development deals that laid the foundation for nine-figure resort properties, world-class research facilities, corporate headquarters, manufacturing plants, sports stadiums, transportation systems, and cultural centers.
- We structure transactions, like the joint venture that created the Comcast Technology Center—the largest private development in the history of Pennsylvania—and the sophisticated public-private arrangement necessary to build Citizens Bank Park, the baseball home of the Phillies.
- Our work on both the investment side and development side of deals has paved the way for high-rise office towers, affordable housing projects, mixed use developments, university expansions, and myriad other projects—including a $4.7 billion national security campus for the National Nuclear Security Administration.
- Relationships matter. So does a solid understanding of government. We have spent decades building relationships with the people who can make or break a project. Our team includes members who hold public office, serve on zoning and development boards, and play leadership roles in economic redevelopment efforts and key industry groups. For example, we have been instrumental in making Baltimore Peninsula, a 235-acre, $6.5 billion transformational project in Baltimore—consisting of 18 million square feet of mixed use development including Under Armour's new world headquarters—a reality.
- We invest in the communities we serve. Our work—including many thousands of hours of pro bono service—has given insight that guides successful community outreach efforts and government partnerships.
With almost 130 attorneys nationwide who focus on real estate matters, we have the depth and breadth of experience to take a holistic approach to the needs of our clients and provide real world advice throughout the real estate cycle. We have been a mainstay in the industry for decades and have gained the perspective needed to counsel clients in up markets, down markets, and everything in between.
Distressed Assets and Opportunities
With one of the nation's largest housing practices, we provide innovative and practical advice in developing and financing housing and community development projects nationwide.
Our housing and community development experience includes representing dozens of public housing authorities and private entities in all facets of housing finance and development transactions. Our housing lawyers have closed hundreds of bond transactions as bond and underwriter’s counsel, handled thousands of tax-credit transactions, and routinely represent borrowers and more than a dozen approved lenders under all multifamily programs of Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
We guide clients in the acquisition, development, expansion, and disposition of virtually every type of housing and community development project. Our team approach to housing and community development projects and issues leverages the firm's experience in banking, securities, zoning, green building, litigation, environmental compliance, fair housing and Section 504 compliance, construction contracting, and bankruptcy.
Our lawyers draw on their experience in finance and real estate to provide pragmatic, leading-edge advice on even the most complex transactions, including:
- Construction and bridge loans
- Capital grant financing programs
- Community development lending
- Defaults and workouts
- Green building/energy efficiency initiatives
- Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac
- FHA-insured loans/Government National Mortgage Association
- (GNMA) transactions
- HUD programs
- Mixed-finance transactions
- Portfolio sales and acquisitions
- Section 8 contracts and vouchers
- Public housing conversion with RAD and other tools
- Tax credits
Engaging a legal team that can handle all the moving parts of a development transaction helps ensure that a project moves smoothly from concept to completion. We also understand that each phase of a project carries the potential for risk and opportunity.
That's why we have dedicated teams that focus on discrete areas within real estate law, including those with specific skill in certain project types. Clients have the flexibility to select services as-needed, knowing that we are prepared to handle whatever issue may arise. And because we have the depth to take on numerous complex projects simultaneously, your team won't get pulled away by somebody else's emergency.
"The firm's client service and commercial awareness are second to none," Chambers USA
Real Estate Development and Transactions | Affordable Housing Development | Construction | Eminent Domain | Leasing | Mixed-Use, Condominium, and Multifamily Development | Real Estate Litigation | Tax | Zoning and Land Use
Our Real Estate Finance Group is one of the most active in the country and is home to many attorneys who are ranked among the nation's best. With more than 85 lawyers, we are leaders in the structuring, negotiation, and closing of complex, high-profile real estate debt and equity transactions.
Our attorneys bring decades of experience and tactical ability in a wide variety of deal structures, project types, and market conditions. We represent market participants across the real estate industry—from commercial and investment banks, mezzanine and bridge lenders, insurance companies, and pension funds to private equity firms and fund sponsors, as well as developers and investors seeking capital.
"An uncanny ability to blend a knowledge of the law with business insight," Chambers USA
Real Estate Finance | Commercial Finance | Mortgage Banking | CMBS Loan Origination | Commercial Loan Servicing | Distressed Real Estate | Insurance Company and Institutional Investments | Private Equity Real Estate | New York Real Estate Finance | Western Real Estate Finance | Construction Litigation | Tax
The attorneys in our Resort, Hospitality, and Timeshare Group are legal pioneers in the industry with a 30-year track record of innovation and demonstrated success guiding hospitality clients from transaction inception to completion.
We have worked on projects across a broad range of industry investment—from financing and ground-up construction to hotel development, management, and repositioning to mixed-use and first-to-market timeshare products. And our clients span the industry—independent developers, institutional owners, boutique operators, and global brands—giving us the perspective to understand the varied interests at stake and the experience to identify and avoid roadblocks.
We know that hospitality clients expect their lawyers to provide more than documentation and general legal advice. We bring in-depth industry knowledge, experience with a wide range of leisure projects, and an understanding of specific geographic markets to every representation.
"They provide sound guidance and are able to balance risk with practical considerations," Chambers USA
Resort, Hospitality, and Timeshare | Western Real Estate Finance | Environment and Natural Resources | Leasing | Construction Litigation | Copyrights | Gaming | Accessibility | Zoning and Land Use | Public-Private Partnerships | Tax | Consumer Financial Services | Privacy and Data Security
In the ever-changing environment that is retail, we provide a comprehensive, coordinated approach to addressing the specific needs of clients in the retail sector.
Our clients span the retail industry—fashion and apparel, grocery, pharmacy, health and fitness, convenience, automotive and aftermarket, and general merchandise, including department stores, hypermarkets, and big-box anchors. We deal with both traditional brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce helping with new leases and acquisitions, warehousing, distribution and logistics, expansion, contraction and relocation, construction, and exit strategies.
We represent commercial landlords, mall REITs, owners of lifestyle centers and grocery-anchored centers, property managers, and developers in operational matters, leasing issues, evictions, REAs, and ADA compliance and accessibility matters. We also advise owners in tenant bankruptcy matters and guide them in repositioning strategies regarding their retail real estate.
The American Lawyer ranked us as one of the country's top REIT equity practices by number of issues. Our REIT Group advises public and private REITs on formation and compliance matters, as well as on tax and securities issues, acquisitions, dispositions, and financings.
Many of our REIT attorneys are based in the firm's Baltimore office. Roughly two-thirds of the nation's publicly traded REITs are organized in Maryland, and 25 percent of all private REITs are domiciled there. We have represented REIT clients in matters of Maryland corporation law in hundreds of equity and debt offerings and financing transactions, and dozens of merger and acquisition transactions. Our clients range from well-capitalized public REITs to private REITs operating independently or as elements of equity fund complexes.
We represent REITs of every asset type in portfolio acquisitions and dispositions, OP unit deals, leasing, construction and development, and property management matters.
We have substantial realty transfer tax experience and we regularly advise clients on structuring transactions to minimize the impact of current and anticipated realty transfer taxes in jurisdictions where the realty transfer tax can significantly affect the economics of a transaction. We advise on federal tax matters relating to REIT formation, operation, and mergers and acquisitions, as well as on matters of partnership taxation and state and local tax.
Our Private Equity Real Estate Team provides a wide range of services to private equity firms involved in commercial real estate investing and lending transactions. We advise on acquisitions and dispositions, joint venture and preferred equity investments, lending and loan purchases, distressed real estate matters, and portfolio analysis.
We also advise private equity clients on tax and REIT-related matters and on fund formation and fund-level and project-level financing transactions, including subscription facilities, lines of credit, warehouse/repurchase facilities, and construction and term loans.
Our team provides advice on federal, state, and local tax issues that arise in connection with the acquisition, construction, ownership, financing, and disposition of real estate. We help clients navigate various tax credit programs, including New Markets, Historic, Low Income Housing, and Energy Tax Credits.
In addition to advising on the creation of tax-efficient structures, we are a recognized leader in understanding and helping our clients benefit from the Qualified Opportunity Zone legislation and other tax incentive programs.
We form tax-efficient vehicles for investment in real estate assets and structure transactions to minimize the effect of transfer taxes. We are active in contesting real estate valuations for real estate tax purposes. Our team handles real estate tax exemption applications and appeals, as well as proceedings involving payments in lieu of tax by charitable organizations.
Our environmental lawyers advise on national and regional compliance, permitting, rulemaking, development, business planning, and contamination matters. We also provide representation in litigation, during investigations, and for transactions.
We conduct environmental due diligence for clients involved in real estate and other business acquisitions, sales, and financings, and conduct environmental review and permitting matters for a wide range of commercial, industrial, and other enterprises.
The group deals extensively with Superfund and natural resource damage activity on the administrative and litigation levels. We help clients address contamination liability issues and resolve disputes with regulators and others so that transactions or redevelopment plans can move forward.
We structure joint ventures, partnerships, and joint ownership projects that combine investment and operating roles—across market sectors and project types. We have represented leading insurance companies, REITs, developers, investors, universities, and other market participants in forming joint ventures to acquire, develop, lease, or expand industrial properties, condos and apartment complexes, mixed-use buildings, transportation centers, energy facilities, sports arenas, and research centers.
Our P3 lawyers represent government participants and private sector developers, investors, and lenders in public-private partnership projects ranging from transportation systems and energy facilities to military and student housing. We advise on project development and financing, regulatory matters, legislative concerns, and tax issues—while never losing sight of the political, financial, legal, and practical considerations involved when dealing with publicly owned assets.
We have one of the premier public finance practices in the country, participating in the issuance of more than $1 trillion of tax-exempt obligations in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and the American territories.
We also have participated in every variety of private activity financing, including qualified 501(c)(3) bonds and exempt facility bonds. We have particular skill in financings involving affordable housing, continuing care retirement communities, hospitals and health care centers, educational centers, military construction, and energy facilities.
We advise clients across the real estate sector in public and private M&A transactions, including strategic portfolio acquisitions, leveraged or management-led buyouts, stock and asset-based transactions, and recapitalizations. We advise REITs, private equity companies, and other investors on roll-ups involving real estate assets, including multifamily properties, hotels and resorts, storage centers, retirement communities, affordable housing developments, and retail or mixed-use developments.
Real Estate Finance | Mergers and Acquisitions | REITs | Private Equity | Public Finance | Emerging Growth and Venture Capital | Mixed-Use Development and Condominiums | Retail | Securities | Securities Enforcement and Corporate Governance Litigation | Antitrust | Resorts, Hotels, and Timeshares | Housing
We provide wide-ranging legal counsel on projects in the energy, manufacturing, life sciences and technology, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality industries, among others. From site acquisition, due diligence, and permitting to contracting, construction, and operational arrangements, our work is informed by market insight and industry acumen.
At every stage, we identify barriers to financing that must be avoided or mitigated and opportunities that must be leveraged.
Energy | Project Finance | Commercial Finance | P3/Infrastructure | Environment and Natural Resources | Project Development | Public Finance | Real Estate Development and Transactions | Real Estate Finance | Tax
We advise on all facets of financial distress, including restructurings, workouts, the refinancing of debt, creditor-debtor litigation, asset dispositions and recapitalizations, reorganizations, and liquidations, both in and outside of formal proceedings.
Our Distressed Real Estate Team has been a national leader in the handling of distressed real estate assets. During the economic downturn, we worked with lenders, investors, developers, and owners to design the best approaches to resolve troubled investments. With offices in some of the hardest-hit markets in the country, we understand the regional issues, local laws, political climate, and distinct market characteristics at play.
Ballard Spahr is one of the only firms in the country with a leading national practice representing landlords in Chapter 11 cases. Over the past two decades, we have represented landlords in many of the nation's largest and most complex restructuring and bankruptcy matters, including those involving multiple clients, varied leasing structures, and locations across the country.
As a multipractice national firm, Ballard Spahr offers comprehensive regulatory compliance counsel across jurisdictions. Every day, we help clients navigate the federal, state, and local laws that are universally applicable to business—workplace conduct and safety, employment matters, disclosure obligations, and corporate governance. But the firm also is home to attorneys who focus on compliance challenges specific to the real estate industry.
We help builders, developers, landlords, and tenants address accessibility and obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Our construction attorneys routinely handle projects with sophisticated licensing, zoning, permitting, and disclosure requirements, as well as those with environmental issues. On the financing side, we have teams focused on fair lending, mortgage banking, debt and equity financing, landlord-tenant matters, and anti-money laundering. Much of our real estate work involves heavily regulated industries, such as affordable housing, gaming, and energy.
Real estate clients entrusted with sensitive customer data look to our Privacy and Data Security team for guidance on evolving laws that protect information. We have particular experience with financial institutions, investment companies, and clients in the hospitality industry.
Accessibility | Labor and Employment | Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation | Environment and Natural Resources | Mortgage Banking | Housing | Fair Lending | Real Estate Development and Transactions | Real Estate Finance | Zoning and Land Use | Construction | Public Finance | Gaming | Government Relations | Privacy and Data Security | Securities | Tax | White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations
We represent clients in all aspects of real estate and construction litigation, mediation, arbitration, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. Our clients include developers, owners, lenders, landlords, and tenants, as well as REITs, private equity and venture capital groups, builders, contractors, management companies, housing authorities, and design professionals. This gives us the ability to see different sides of an issue and steer clients around potential problems.
Aside from real estate-specific dispute resolution, Ballard Spahr is home to a national multipractice Litigation Department. We advise real estate industry players on matters involving intellectual property, environmental concerns, antitrust, securities, labor and employment, white collar allegations, as well as tax, professional liability, bankruptcy, and insurance disputes.
Litigation | Real Estate and Construction Litigation | Antitrust | Appellate | Securities Enforcement and Corporate Governance Litigation | Bankruptcy | Class Actions | Environment and Natural Resources | IP Litigation | Government Relations | Insurance | Tax | White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations | Professional Liability | Retail
With more than 50 attorneys across the country, our Labor and Employment Group combines knowledge of the real estate industry with the ability to advise on a wide range of issues, from counsel on day-to-day matters to the management of internal or government investigations to large-scale workforce and ERISA litigation. We also represent real estate clients in labor-management relations and immigration issues.
Our Labor and Employment attorneys provide a full range of training programs. We help clients establish and implement diversity and inclusion programs, prepare for reductions in force, and comply with rapidly evolving laws governing discrimination and harassment, accessibility, and collective bargaining.
Privacy and data security issues are a major concern in every business area. The mishandling of proprietary information can result in costly litigation and reputational damage. For companies entrusted with sensitive customer information—such as the owners and operators of hotels and resort communities—a data breach can be catastrophic.
We work with clients on the development and implementation of programs and training protocols to identify and avoid risk. We offer comprehensive guidance on compliance and information governance, help clients assess and manage vendors, and advise on the many privacy and data security-related issues that can arise during transactions—including cross-border transactions and data flows.
Should an incident occur, our attorneys are prepared to move quickly. We have significant experience in cyber-related internal investigations, regulatory compliance and enforcement matters, cyber-related crisis management, and both civil and criminal litigation. The firm maintains a 24/7 emergency hotline for clients needing immediate, after-hours support.
Rankings and Recognition
Pennsylvania's Best Real Estate Firm
The Legal Intelligencer, 2020
Recognized for National Strength
The Legal 500, 2023
104 Attorneys and 50 Practices Recognized for Excellence
Chambers USA, 2023
A Top-Tier National Practice
26 practices ranked in the highest tier nationally
Best Law Firms, 2024