James R. Walston


Tel 612.371.3244
Fax 612.371.3207

James R. "Jim" Walston is a commercial real estate attorney with 35 years of in-depth professional and industry experience covering a broad range of commercial real estate matters in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

Jim's practice presently includes legal representation of clients in connection with commercial real estate purchases, sales, leases, real estate finance transactions, public transportation projects, zoning and land use matters, and real estate loan workouts.

Jim also serves as a reliable and experienced resource for small- to mid-market owner-managed businesses in Minnesota and South Dakota on a variety of real estate-related and general corporate matters.

Representative Experience

Real Estate Transactions

  • Represented a nationwide motor freight carrier company in connection with real estate site acquisition, zoning and land use compliance, construction, leasing and sales matters involving over 150 freight distribution and service centers throughout the United States
  • Represented a regional public transportation agency in connection with the planning, construction, and acquisition of real estate interests for a shared commuter light rail corridor project in the Twin Cities metropolitan area
  • Represented a regional senior housing developer in site acquisition and land use matters for senior housing facilities in Minnesota
  • Represented numerous Minnesota municipalities and school districts on real estate matters, including public transportation projects, right of way projects, public/private development projects, and other real estate-related improvement projects
  • Represented renewal energy developers in connection with the acquisition of property interests for solar and wind energy projects in the upper Midwest and Southwest United States
  • Represented a national apartment owner as local counsel in the sale of a $54 million apartment complex in Minneapolis
  • Represented a national media company in the sale of a $21 million office complex in the Minneapolis metropolitan area
  • Represented national restaurant chains in negotiation of restaurant leases in numerous states
  • Represented landowners in connection with the sale of multi-phased residential developments throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area
  • Represented a regional hospice care provider in site acquisition and expansion-related activities in the Upper Midwest

Real Estate Finance Transactions

  • Represented state-chartered banks in over 250 commercial real estate loan transactions in Minnesota and South Dakota
  • Represented a regional national bank in a $60 million multistate hotel construction loan facility
  • Represented a regional national bank in a $28 million two-state family recreational/entertainment center construction loan facility
  • Represented a national life insurance company in over $300 million of commercial loan facilities for office and apartment complexes, shopping centers, office-warehouse facilities, and self-storage facilities in Midwest, Atlantic Coast, and New England states
  • Represented a national bank in over $150 million automobile dealer finance transactions, including real-estate-related finance transactions
  • Represented a national fraternal organization as local counsel on a $40 million real estate refinance project

Real Estate Zoning and Land Use Matters

  • Negotiated, processed, and obtained land use approvals for the construction and operation of industrial and commercial projects in Minnesota
  • Negotiated, processed, and obtained land use approvals for the construction and operation of a $45 million entertainment facility in the Twin Cities area

Real Estate Loan Workout and Real Estate Title Disputes

  • Represented state-chartered and national banks in scores of loan workouts, receivership matters, and foreclosures
  • Represented title insurance companies and their insureds in the resolution of hundreds of real estate title disputes

Professional Activities

American Bar Association, Real Property Trust and Estates and Business Law sections

Minnesota State Bar Association, Real Property Law Specialist (certified in 1991)

Hennepin County Bar Association

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Legal 500 US, Real Estate and Construction, 2019; Real Estate - Land Use/Zoning, 2020

The Best Lawyers in America, real estate law, 2019-2021

Chambers USA, real estate (Minnesota), 2018-2020

North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2015

Minnesota Super Lawyers

Martindale-Hubbell, AV Peer Review Rating


Co-author, "The Interplay Between Tenant Possession and Landlord Control," BOMA Magazine, September/October 2019

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, "Owner-Managed Business/Closely Held Business – Three-Part Webinar Series," Ballard Spahr webinar, May 1, 2020

2017 Advanced Lending Seminar, Complimentary Seminar, May 11, 2017

2016 Advanced Lending Seminar, Complimentary Seminar, April 21, 2016

Pro Bono/Community Activities

Pro Bono — Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) Real Estate Clinic

Pro Bono — Northeast Senior Services, Inc. Legal Clinic

Volunteer — Ujamaa Place

Volunteer — Urban Homeworks

William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) (J.D. 1985)

University of Nebraska (B.A., Political Science, 1982)


South Dakota