Gary York

Senior Counsel
Los Angeles

Gary York is the Team Leader of Ballard Spahr's Western Real Estate Finance Team. He concentrates on major real estate finance, banking, and creditors' rights matters with emphasis on assisting companies with acquisitions, sales, exchanges, and leasing of real estate, and the formation and dissolution of limited liability companies, partnerships, and other ventures. Additionally, Gary has extensive experience in structuring, negotiating, and documenting syndicated and nonsyndicated commercial finance transactions, including secured and unsecured revolving credit facilities, asset-based loans, mezzanine loans, CMBS loans, and construction loans.

During his 50 years of practice, Gary has experienced several recessions and has been involved in every possible form of defaulted real estate, including extensive representation of special servicers in foreclosure matters, and complex workouts involving A-B note structures.


Representative Matters

Purchase, Sale, and Leasing Transactions

  • Advised in the acquisition of a portfolio of 25 industrial properties in California having a value of over $500 million, including formation of various parent and subsidiary limited liability companies and the assumption and modification of numerous mortgage loans
  • Represented the purchaser of a 50-story office building in downtown Los Angeles and the simultaneous leaseback of a large portion of the building to the selling bank
  • Represented the lender in the acquisition through foreclosure, and subsequent disposition, of a large portfolio of big-box properties located throughout California; each transaction involved a unique financing structure involving complex ground leases, subleases, life estates, remainder interests, and options to purchase in favor of the lender 
  • Represented the seller of a multimillion-dollar warehouse facility in Carson, California; the transaction involved significant environmental issues that required extensive post-closing monitoring and clean-up covenants
  • Advised in the original development of California Plaza, a large mixed-use development in downtown Los Angeles, including negotiation of various venture agreements, development agreements, reciprocal easements, and construction documents

Financing Transactions

  • Represented a major life insurance company in connection with a $350 million financing of the Royal Hawaiian Center, a Class A retail center in Waikiki.  The center contains more than 300,000 square feet with high-end tenants such as Tiffany and Company, Hermès of Paris and Salvatore Ferragamo.  This transaction was highly complex due to the ground lease structure of the property and was closed in an expedited time frame.
  • Represented an institutional lender in connection with an $820 million loan secured by 16 large apartment projects in Southern California; the transaction involved multiple layers of title insurance, the negotiation of a comprehensive intercreditor agreement with the mezzanine lender, and an extremely short closing period
  • Represented a major life insurance company in the $360 million financing of a major high-end shopping mall in a suburb of Denver; the transaction involved negotiation of a master lease and agreements with a business improvement district; the complex transaction closed in less than three weeks

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

Gary handles pro bono adoption matters for Alliance for Children's Rights.

Professional Activities

American Bar Association, Real Estate Financing Committee, and Interest and Usury Committee, Chair

American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)

Annual Benjamin S. Crocker Symposium on Real Estate Law and Business, Planning Committee

Annual USC Real Estate Law and Business Forum, Steering Committee

Recognition & Accomplishments

Regularly named a "Southern California Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers magazine

Named to The International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers

Named to The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers – Real Estate 2013

Speaking Engagements

Speaker for organizations such as the California Continuing Education of the Bar and groups of the American Bar Association, California State Bar Real Property Section, American Land Title Association, and American College of Real Estate Lawyers

Former Panelist, ALI-ABA Modern Real Estate Transaction Program


Frequent author who has served as a consultant on various books and treatises published by the California Continuing Education of the Bar, Wiley & Sons, and others

Co-author, "Tenant Letters of Credit: Satisfying the Landlord’s Lender," Bloomberg BNA Real Estate Law & Industry Report, April 3, 2012



Stanford Law School (J.D. 1968)
Editor, Stanford Law Review

Pomona College (B.A. 1965, cum laude)






U.S. District Court for the Central District of California