Overview

Our real estate attorneys work seamlessly with other practices in the firm to advise on matters critical to the lifecycle of real estate assets, including:

  • Acquisitions and dispositions
  • Commercial leasing
  • Federal, state and local tax credits
  • Finance, including traditional financing, as well as U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other agency loan programs
  • Real estate ownership structuring, including joint ventures and private offerings
  • Income tax planning strategies, including venture and transaction structuring and 1031 like-kind exchanges
  • Land use, zoning and entitlements
  • Real estate tax minimization strategies and appeals
  • Construction contracts and construction disputes
  • Environmental
  • Real estate litigation
  • Franchising and commercial contracts

Our depth of knowledge of the complete spectrum of real estate issues positions Vorys to spot potential complications unique to each project — from multifamily housing and mixed-use commercial development to industrial facilities — enabling us to provide timely and efficient service to clients in dozens of industries and maximize their real estate investments.

Who We Represent

Vorys has a longstanding history of providing real estate representation to major, national and international companies, including well-known developers, manufacturers and retailers.  For example, we represent more than half of the National Retail Federation’s Top 25 and nearly one-third of its Top 100 list.

Today, Vorys boasts attorneys in eight cities who provide holistic service in real estate matters from coast to coast.  Our practice includes one of the largest HUD MAP Lender representation groups in the country, with lawyers who represent major industry players located throughout the United States.

Our real estate clients include:

  • Developers, owners and users of office buildings, lab and biotech space, retail, data centers, distribution centers and industrial facilities and other commercial properties
  • Condominium, apartment project and other multifamily residential owners and developers, with an emphasis on affordable housing
  • Financial institutions
  • Private real estate investors
  • Insurance companies
  • Governmental authorities
  • Contractors and subcontractors
  • Architects and engineers
  • Homebuilders

Nationwide Recognition

Vorys’ commitment to excellence and client service is evidenced by our consistent recognition as a top-tier firm for real estate.

We are proud to have had members of our real estate team inducted into the prestigious American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), to have earned top honors as a national Tier 1 firm for real estate law in the 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” report,  and to have received recognition as a “Leading Law Firm” in Ohio for real estate law in Chambers USA.

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In the guide, Chambers USA notes that Vorys’ “premier real estate group” has “significant experience in a wide range of matters including financing, lease negotiation and entity structuring.”  Our practice “comes recommended for its expertise in HUD financing and joint venture transactions, and maintains a fine track record for its work in condominium development and urban redevelopment projects,” and “continues to be a go-to practice for land use, zoning and eminent domain matters.

What We Do

Commercial and Residential Development

Vorys’ real estate attorneys represent individuals as well as private and public entities in all aspects of development for virtually every kind of real estate property.

From serving as lead real estate counsel to Bath & Body Works Inc. (formerly L Brands Inc.) in the development of all aspects of Columbus, Ohio’s Easton Town Center — ranked among the top 30 highest-performing retail centers in America — to representing M/I Homes, Central Ohio’s No. 1 homebuilder with developments across the country, Vorys is preeminent legal counsel to both commercial and residential real estate developers.

What We Do

Our attorneys provide soup-to-nuts service in real estate development matters — from rezoning petitions to the drafting of complex declarations of covenants, conditions and restrictions to the negotiation of construction and architect contracts. 

We advise on all legal aspects relating to the development of:

  • Shopping centers and other retail and commercial properties
  • Hotels
  • Office buildings
  • Data centers, distribution centers and other warehouse facilities
  • Hospitality complexes
  • Industrial facilities
  • Residential dwellings, such as apartment projects (including significant experience in the development and financing of affordable housing), condominium communities and single-family residential subdivisions
  • Mixed-use developments incorporating multiple real estate categories

We also help governmental authorities and private entities develop innovative solutions to overcome roadblocks and bring development projects to completion in an efficient manner.

We resolve challenges facing clients in the following areas, among others:

  • Zoning and land use
  • Environmental
  • Utility service
  • Logistics
  • Construction
  • Title issues
  • Finance
  • Transaction structure
  • Taxation strategy (including income and real estate taxes)

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) / Affordable Housing

Vorys’ HUD practice is among the largest in the country, with dozens of attorneys dedicated to helping clients revitalize communities through the development of affordable housing and historic preservation.

What We Do

Vorys has closed HUD-insured loans in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., and represents major industry players who finance a range of development projects, from affordable housing and multifamily housing to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

We plan, structure, negotiate and close transactions involving complicated federal, state and local development programs and incentives, including:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs
  • Federal and state historic tax credits (HTC)
  • Federal and state low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC)
  • New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC)
  • Historic preservation
  • Urban development

Advocacy, Thought Leadership and Innovation

Our attorneys regularly present at flagship HUD and lender conferences, and have held key leadership positions with advocacy groups, including the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Southwest Mortgagee Advisory Council, the Western Mortgagee Advisory Council and the Eastern Lenders Association, among others.

We literally “wrote the book” on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) multifamily mortgage insurance, having authored a chapter in the Navigating HUD Programs book, first published by the American Bar Association in 2012, and contributed significant portions of the text to HUD’s Multifamily Accelerated Processing Guide (Rev. 2020).  Our knowledge of FHA issues is matched by our deep experience representing lenders and borrowers in FHA-insured financings.  Since 2009, we have closed more than 4,000 HUD and FHA-insured loan transactions across the country:

  • In every active FHA multifamily mortgage insurance program
  • In every HUD office where multifamily and healthcare loans are handled

Vorys created proprietary software that streamlines the preparation of loan documents to increase efficiency and implement quality controls, exemplifying our dedication to delivering innovative client solutions and excellent service.  To learn more, click here.

Acquisitions, Sales/Dispositions and Leasing

Vorys handles every aspect of the acquisition, sale and leasing of all types of real estate — from industrial facilities, lab and biotech space, shopping centers, offices and commercial buildings to multifamily housing projects, commercial and residential condominiums and residential subdivisions. 

We represent public and semipublic facilities, private developers, businesses and agencies in complex multiparty transactions.  Our leasing clients include owners and landlords of all types of retail/commercial properties, as well as tenants of retail, office and industrial space — a number of whom we represent on a national basis.

Our work includes:

  • Negotiating complex purchase and sale agreements
  • Resolving title defects
  • Addressing environmental concerns
  • Effecting 1031 like-kind exchanges
  • Negotiating and drafting leases and related documents 

Our clients benefit from our expansive real estate knowledge and our deep experience in representing and negotiating with financial institutions, municipalities and other public bodies. 

Construction

Vorys attorneys, who include professional engineers and former on-site construction personnel, have extensive experience in leading all legal aspects of construction projects — from land acquisition and design to finance and bid and contract negotiations to scheduling and delivery.  We have worked with local counsel to represent numerous domestics clients on international construction matters, both transactional and litigation.

Our work also includes:

  • Negotiating and drafting construction management agreements and design professionals' contracts
  • Mechanics’ liens issues
  • Permitting matters
  • Payment and performance bonds
  • Construction litigation and dispute resolution (course of construction, change order and delay disputes; post-completion defects; and other complex cases)

Our clients span the construction industry spectrum:

  • Property owners (vertical/commercial, multifamily, heavy industry and health care, among other industries)
  • Developers
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Public and private contracting authorities
  • Financial institutions
  • Contractors
  • Material suppliers

Condominiums

Vorys represents prospective owners and developers in navigating the gamut of issues related to commercial and residential condominium projects.

We advise on the coordination and preparation of all necessary organizational and governance documents.  We provide counsel throughout the governmental approval process.  Vorys regularly counsels clients on the real estate tax benefits of using the condominium structure in the multifamily market, as well as using a condominium to overcome challenges related to project planning, utilities, zoning and project finance.  The firm’s experience includes purely residential condominiums, both vertical and horizontal.  More recently, however, we spend the majority of our time working with clients to develop commercial condominiums, often in a mixed-use environment.  Vorys attorneys also have significant experience designing and implementing strategies to cure title defects resulting from improperly created condominium projects.

Joint Ventures and Private Offerings

An integral part of our real estate practice, Vorys has deep experience in leading the entity-structuring process, including the formation and documentation of real estate joint ventures and the syndication of equity interests in real estate ownership entities that own assets all across the country.  We regularly represent sponsors in complex negotiations with joint venture partners, including institutional investors, private equity firms, REITs, endowment funds and high-net-worth investors.  Vorys also regularly assists clients with private offering documents to syndicate equity to accredited investors.

Our real estate attorneys partner with our tax, corporate and securities law practices to ensure that all structuring issues are addressed and resolved seamlessly as part of the overall real estate transaction.  We emphasize tax planning and tax-efficient structuring in counseling clients to maximize the value of their investments.

Our lawyers’ involvement in (or ability to understand) all aspects of the underlying real estate issues gives our clients an advantage in documenting an ownership structure that works for the particular real estate assets of the venture.

Public and Semi-Public Transactions; Urban Development

Vorys’ real estate practice is backed by a team of attorneys who regularly coordinate with municipalities and other public entities to represent public and quasi-public entities, facilities, developers and agencies in complex multiparty transactions. 

We advise on all legal aspects of urban redevelopment projects:

  • Land acquisition
  • Demolition
  • Leasing
  • Construction
  • Financing

Our work includes serving as lead counsel to Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation in all aspects of developing a multiuse project in downtown Columbus, Ohio, that comprises office and retail space, a hotel and parking.  Vorys’ leadership in numerous urban redevelopment projects, such as the Ohio State University Campus Partners initiative in Columbus, Ohio, and Pullman Square in Huntington, West Virginia, further illustrate the range of the firm’s capabilities in the public-private arena.

Eminent Domain

Recognized by Chambers USA as a “go-to practice” for eminent domain matters, we regularly represent public authorities and private clients in matters relating to condemnation and the power of eminent domain. 

Our work includes negotiating and litigating disputes involving public purpose, just compensation and related issues in condemnation suits.  To learn more about this practice, click here.

Foreclosure

We are experienced in even the most complicated foreclosure, restructuring and workout matters involving commercial properties.

Our attorneys have spearheaded foreclosures, restructurings and workouts of mortgages for a range of properties, including:

  • Office buildings
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Health and recreation facilities
  • Golf courses
  • Farms
  • Multiple-unit apartment buildings/large apartment complexes
  • Senior living facilities
  • Mobile home parks
  • Manufacturing facilities

Our work also includes the appointment of receivers and the facilitation of the transfer of operations and management after sale.

Zoning and Land Use Planning

Lauded as a “go-to” practice for land use and zoning matters by Chambers USA, we advise clients in navigating the full range of zoning and land use issues.

We represent clients in zoning, building regulation, land use and land planning matters, including obtaining approval of industrial and commercial projects, residential subdivisions and planned developments. 

In this area, we counsel clients in the process of annexing property into incorporated municipalities.  Our attorneys also assist in governmental permitting processes that are critical to successful land development projects.


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