Matthew N. McClure

Tel 215.864.8771
Fax 215.864.8999

Matthew N. McClure is Team Leader of the firm's Zoning and Land Use Team. He counsels developers, nonprofits, and universities on a full range of real estate matters. His practice heavily emphasizes development, land use, zoning, and historic preservation matters. Matt has represented developer and institutional clients in significant urban redevelopment efforts, with high profile historic preservation issues, and in successful land use appellate matters.

Before joining the firm, Matt handled media relations for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and worked in the Office of then-Mayor Edward G. Rendell.

Representative Matters

  • Represented joint venture in obtaining zoning and land use approvals for a 30-story, 427,000 square-foot student housing project with 420 dwelling units in the University City section of Philadelphia
  • Represented developer in obtaining legislative zoning re-mapping for a 92-dwelling unit development in the East Falls section of Philadelphia
  • Represented land conservancy in stopping the Lower Merion School District's threatened condemnation of Stoneleigh: the historic Haas family estate designed in part by the Olmsted Brothers
  • Represented Major League Baseball franchise in obtaining legislative and administrative approvals for U.S. Department of Homeland Security sanctioned perimeter hardening improvements for Citizens Bank Park
  • Represented Major League Baseball franchise in obtaining administrative approvals for certain spectator experience upgrades for Citizens Bank Park
  • Represented land conservancy in obtaining (and defending) land use approvals for a 1,500-acre land preservation effort spread across multiple Chester County municipalities, including defeating six statutory appeals thereof
  • Represented developer in obtaining legislative and administrative approvals for an 800,000-square-foot mixed-use project with 480 dwelling units, three levels of structured parking, and 80,000 square feet of retail in the West Poplar section of North Philadelphia
  • Represented national hotel company in obtaining Philadelphia Historical Commission approval for a controversial modification of the region’s most iconic and historically-important building identification sign
  • Represented national developer with obtaining land use entitlements, related state permits and easement rights from adjacent parcels for the construction of a 300,000-square-foot regional distribution and processing facility occupied by a national ground express carrier
  • Represented developer in obtaining significant use and dimensional zoning variance relief for a 132-unit mixed use project in the Spruce Hill section of Philadelphia
  • Represented entity formed by the City of Philadelphia and the Borough of Yeadon in successfully petitioning the Pennsylvania Attorney General and the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to place one of the nation’s most historically-important (albeit distressed) cemeteries into receivership
  • Represented national hotel company in the development of a 140-room limited stay hotel in close proximity to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Obtained approval to demolish much of a two-story historically-designated building to permit a 12-story addition, along with gross floor area zoning variances necessary to achieve the room count
  • Represented movie theater developer with successfully obtaining high profile demolition and zoning approvals for Center City Philadelphia’s last surviving movie palace including assembling the expert witness team, coordinating media strategy, obtaining legislative zoning code text amendments and disposing of third party appeals in a timely manner
  • Represented university health system obtain zoning variances and related approvals for an approximately 400-space structured parking garage abutting an existing medical center
  • Represented national low income housing developer in obtaining land use approvals for the second LGBTQ-friendly senior housing facility in the nation
  • Represented regional office building owner with obtaining a significant real estate tax assessment reduction for a 500,000-square-foot Center City office building
  • Represented national university in acquiring 600-plus acres of land in various stages of improvements, including coordinating due diligence activities and closing the transaction
  • Represented regional developer in the acquisition, development and leasing of the largest development parcel in the exclusive Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia for a 100,000-square-foot mixed-use project including obtaining controversial zoning map and code text amendments and successfully defending third-party legal challenges
  • Represented nation’s largest food-service distributor with the construction of a 200,000-square-foot addition to and redevelopment of an existing 200,000-square-foot Philadelphia regional distribution facility including obtaining all land use entitlements, building code relief and property rights from neighboring parcels
  • Represented Ivy League university in acquisition and mixed use development of 30-plus acres abutting Center City Philadelphia from the U.S. Postal Service including coordinating a massive due diligence effort, negotiating the agreement of sale, imposition of various development and post-development rights, disposition of various components to a third party developer, and acquiring land and easement rights under railroad highline to enable the construction of an urban park
  • Represented regional university in acquisition of neighboring private secondary school campus including initial and subsequent land use approvals for the conversion to university use

Appellate Decisions

  • Woodland Terrace Homeowners' Association v. Philadelphia Board of License and Inspection Review, No. 801 C.D. 2014 (Pa. Cmwlth Ct. Apr. 22, 2015) (on a case of first impression upholding the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s decision to permit the demolition of a historically-designated building complex under the financial hardship provisions of Philadelphia’s historic preservation ordinance)
  • Piper Group, Inc. v. Bedminster Township, 30 A.3d 1083 (Pa. 2011) (upholding a township's agricultural soils ordinance and reconciling the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code's procedures for fashioning site specific relief with the Court's broad principles set forth in the landmark Casey v. Warwick Township Zoning Hearing Board decision)
  • Turchi v. Philadelphia Board of License and Inspection Review, 20 A.3d 586 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2011) (seminal opinion upholding the Philadelphia Historical Commission's decision approving a 16-story addition to former Mayor Richardson Dilworth's home and confirming that the Commission's decisions are entitled to deference even in a de novo appeal to the Philadelphia Board of License and Inspection Review)
  • Arter v. Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment, 916 A.2d 1222 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2007) (holding that the construction of a funeral home and crematorium is not permitted as either an accessory use or a modernization of a legally non-conforming cemetery use)
  • Berger & Montague, P.C. v. Philadelphia Historical Commission, 898 A.2d 1 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006) (upholding the Philadelphia Historical Commission's decision approving a mid-rise residential condominium project in a local historic district and holding that a direct appeal of a Historical Commission decision to the Court of Common Pleas pursuant to the Pennsylvania Local Agency Law must be filed within 30 calendar days of the decision, regardless of appellant's knowledge of such decision)
  • One Meridian Partners, LLP v. Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment, 867 A.2d 706 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005) (reversed the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment's massive variance of gross floor area requirements on the basis that certain dimensional relief is beyond the statutory authority of a zoning board)
  • SCRUB v. Keystone Outdoor Advertising, No. 131 C.D. 2001 (Pa. Cmwlth Ct. Mar.15, 2002) (sustained use variances for eight non-accessory advertising signs on public property)

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

Pennsylvania Bar Association

Philadelphia Bar Association

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Best Lawyers in America, land use and zoning law, 2018-2020

The Legal 500 US, real estate and construction–land use/zoning, 2014-2020

Chambers USA, real estate law, 2009-2018, zoning/land use law (Pennsylvania), Band 1, 2016-2020

Appointed by Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney to his Task Force on Historic Preservation, 2017

Philadelphia Business Journal, "Best of the Bar: Philadelphia's Top Lawyers," 2017 

Recipient, Ballard Spahr Pro Bono Award, 2015

Selected to Philadelphia District Attorney-elect Seth Williams' Transition Team, December 2009

Recipient, "101 Emerging Connectors" award for Greater Philadelphia area, Leadership Philadelphia, 2008

Inductee, Lambda Alpha International, honor society for advancement of land economics, 2006

Recipient, "40 Under 40" award, Philadelphia Business Journal, 2006


"Working Through the Static: Is There Anything Left to Local Control In the Siting of Cellular and PCS Towers After the Telecommunication Act of 1996?" 44 Vill. L. Rev. 781, 1999, reprinted in Deborah Mans, 2000 Zoning and Planning Law Handbook 797-829

Speaking Engagements

"Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeals - Potential Opportunity Post-COVID-19," Ballard Spahr webinar, June 17, 2020

"Philadelphia Zoning Code’s Role in Housing Regulation," AIA Philadelphia, Philadelphia, September 25, 2019

"Legal Tools for the Built Environment" and "Legal Trends in Historic Preservation," National Preservation Law Conference 2019, Washington, D.C., June 25, 2019

"Understanding Philadelphia Zoning 2019," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, May 10, 2019

"Land Use and Public/Private Initiatives: Will It to Work," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Successful Real Estate Development Projects, Philadelphia, April 10, 2019

"Philadelphia 2018 Legislative Recap: Important Building and Zoning Code Updates," Ballard Spahr event, Philadelphia, February 13, 2019

"Philadelphia Zoning Code: 2017 Legislative Update," Ballard Spahr briefing, Philadelphia, June 29, 2017 

Moderator, "State of Multifamily & Affordable Housing," Bisnow's 7th Annual Philadelphia State of the Market, Philadelphia, May 23, 2017

"Philadelphia Lobbying Ordinance: An Ethics CLE for Real Estate Attorneys," Philadelphia Bar Association, Philadelphia, March 27, 2017

Moderator, "The Navy Yard: User/Tenant Panel,"Bisnow – Future of the Navy Yard: An In-Depth Look at the Drivers of South Philly's Hottest Development, Philadelphia, September 7, 2016

"Land Use and Public/Private Initiatives: Will It to Work," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Solving Legal Issues Across the Life Cycle of the Successful Real Estate Development Project, Philadelphia, April 11, 2016

Moderator, "The Philadelphia Development Review Process: Recent City Charter Amendments and Kenney Administration Changes," Ballard Spahr briefing, March 23, 2016

Moderator, "The Future of Center City - The Official Update on Philadelphia's Thriving District" Bisnow, March 10, 2016

Moderator, "New Philadelphia Storm Water Regulations: A Last Chance Brush Up," Ballard Spahr briefing, June 30, 2015

"Understanding Philadelphia Zoning: An Overview of the Zoning Code in an Ever-Changing Philadelphia," Pennsylvania Bar Institute CLE, March 24, 2015

"Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP): Fact or Fiction?"Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s 18th Annual Real Estate Institute, December 5, 2014

"Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Zoning and Code Compliance Standards for Multifamily Underwriting," presentation to PNC Real Estate Multifamily Agency Underwriters, November 4, 2014

"Demolition of Structures in Philadelphia: Recent Regulations and Practice Tips," Ballard Spahr briefing, Philadelphia, October 30, 2014

"Land Use and Public/Private Initiatives: Will It to Work," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Solving Legal Issues Across the Life Cycle of the Successful Real Estate Development Project, Philadelphia, April 28, 2014

Moderator, "Beyond Zoning: Philadelphia's Other New Land Use Regulations," Ballard Spahr briefing, Philadelphia, October 15, 2013

Moderator, "One Year Later, Implementation of Philadelphia's New Zoning Code," Ballard Spahr briefing, Philadelphia, September 17, 2013

"Progressive Thinkers Forum: Actual Value Initiative," Young Involved Philadelphia program, March 26, 2013

"Civic Design Review and the Role of Registered Community Organizations under the New Philadelphia Zoning Code," Pennsylvania Bar Institute's 16th Annual Real Estate Institute, Philadelphia, December 6, 2012

"The New Zoning Code: Big Topics for the Higher Education Governmental Affairs Professional," GPCC's Higher Education Governmental Affairs Committee, September 28, 2012

Moderator, Philadelphia Student Housing & Higher Education Summit, Bisnow, Philadelphia, July 31, 2012

"Registered Community Organizations (RCOs) & Civic Design Review," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Overview of the New Philadelphia Zoning Code, Philadelphia, June 4, 2012

"Me, A Lobbyist? Philadelphia's New Lobbying Ordinance and What It Means for Nonprofits," Ballard Spahr briefing, May 31, 2012

"The New Philadelphia Zoning Code: Uses, Overlay Districts, and Parking Standards and Controls," Ballard Spahr briefing, April 18, 2012

"Update on the Law of Historic Preservation," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Historic Preservation Law CLE, Philadelphia, April 16, 2012

"Philadelphia's New Lobbying Ordinance: What Lawyers and Their Clients Doing Business with the City Need To Know," Real Property Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association CLE, March 28, 2012

"The New Philadelphia Zoning Code: Dimensional Standards, Reviewers and Approvals, and Civic Design Review," Ballard Spahr briefing, March 21, 2012

"Philadelphia Historic Preservation Law," a Ballard Spahr briefing, Philadelphia, November 16, 2011

"Zoning in Philadelphia," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, December 14, 2010

"Preparing for the Turnaround: Preserving Land-Use Entitlements in a Challenging Market," a Ballard Spahr briefing, June 16, 2010

"The Real Estate Development Transaction: Retail Projects," Philadelphia Bar Institute, March 6, 2008

"Navigating Through the Maze: Helping Real Estate Clients Steer Through the City of Philadelphia's Approval Process," Philadelphia Bar Institute, December 2007

Board Memberships

East Falls Development Corporation, board member and past chair

Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, board member

Lambda Alpha International Philadelphia chapter, President

3rd Century Initiative of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Council member

Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center, past board member

Green Woods Charter School, past board member

Need In Deed, past board member

Young America PAC, past board member

Villanova University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 1999)
Staff Writer, Villanova Law Review
Member, Order of the Coif

Loyola College (B.A., magna cum laude, 1994)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Diploma, 1993)

New Jersey