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Development Services

Overview

To see how our team is helping development services clients navigate the impacts and potential impacts of COVID-19, please click here

Parker Poe’s Development Services Industry Team takes great pride in our history of helping clients structure, negotiate, and close commercial and residential real estate transactions. With more than 60 dedicated attorneys across the Carolinas, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., our deep bench of experience helps us achieve desired results for our clients at any stage of the development life cycle. We represent residential, commercial and multi-use developers, owners, buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, and lenders – we have seen every side of a deal.

With attorneys whose practices are focused on transactions as well as disputes and regulatory matters, for both buyers and sellers, we are ideally positioned to partner on a variety of development projects and assist with all related matters. We can advise on any single service below or help you navigate the entire life cycle of your real estate project.

Services

Real Property Assets

Parker Poe’s Development Services team helps any commercial or residential development project get started with the acquisition, assessment, and financing of a real property asset.

We have assisted clients in the acquisition of raw land to be developed for future residential multifamily complexes, single-family subdivisions, mixed-use developments, retail developments, hotels and resort properties, medical offices and facilities, build-to-suit manufacturing operations, distribution centers, renewable energy projects, student housing, and more. We have also helped clients acquire existing properties for redevelopment, including properties of all asset classes, distribution facilities, office and industrial parks, government-owned land, residential housing, and mixed-use developments.  

Along with representing the interests of commercial and industrial developers in their acquisitions, we also have experience representing real estate investment trusts (REITs), institutional investors, pension funds, public and private companies, hospitals, and municipalities that are acting as developers in a project. 

The acquisition and project finance services we provide include:

  • Land assemblages
  • Environmental assessments, including regulatory and compliance counseling
  • Letters of intent
  • Earnest money
  • Purchase and sale agreements
  • Nondisclosure agreements 
  • Development agreements
  • Interim construction and permanent loans
  • Equity investment/financing 

Feasibility & Entitlement

Every development project has a vision. Parker Poe’s Development Services Team measures success in our ability to see that vision through, protecting the project’s interest while maximizing value.

Our attorneys have significant depth in land use law to support the legal entitlement process, a stage considered by many as the most high-stakes and variable of the development life cycle. The entitlement process differs dramatically between various states and municipalities. By drawing on the resources, relationships, and experience of the firm’s Government & Municipalities industry team, our attorneys have insight and familiarity at the municipal level that help us navigate the different rules and regulations – as well as the preferences – of various review boards and decision-makers.  

The entitlement services we provide include:

  • Zoning: conducting the process from application to securing approval before town councils, boards, and commissions
  • Existing entitlement review for acquisition and disposition 
  • Zoning variances and special-use permits 
  • Site plan, subdivision, and recombination advice
  • Establishing and vacating easements 
  • Easement agreements
  • Encroachment agreements

Development Approvals

As an extension of the entitlement phase, our attorneys work alongside the entire development team – including the planners, architects, and engineers – to make sure the desired plan receives government approval. Our attorneys advise on securing the appropriate agreements, variances, restrictive covenants, encroachments, easements, and other approvals necessary to get the site plan approved so that building permits can be issued without delays. We also help to address any environmental concerns brought up by the review board.

In addition to the services offered in the entitlement phase, we provide:

  • Drafting and review of restrictive covenants, including commercial and residential declarations 
  • Utility approvals
  • Transportation and transit approvals
  • Landscaping and appearance approvals
  • Annexation, infrastructure, and development agreements

Funding

Parker Poe attorneys have closed thousands of commercial real estate transactions over the years and bring perspective from all sides of the deal. Drawing on the resources, experience, and connections of our Financial Services industry team – which has worked with almost every major bank’s commercial lending teams in the Southeast – we know what to expect to ensure a smooth closing. We coordinate the transaction and navigate issues related to title, title insurance, inspections, deeds, liens, condemnations, property valuations, and more.

Construction

When it is time to begin construction on any development project, Parker Poe is equipped to coordinate all of the legal aspects of the build. Our top-ranked construction attorneys understand fully how the construction and development industries work. They have spent years building relationships and working on projects with some of the best design and construction teams in the Southeast.

More than any other phase in the development life cycle, we know the construction phase has the tightest margins and timelines. We draft, negotiate, and review contracts for design and construction with a goal to protect the future interests of the project. We handle every type of contract and agreement, including:

  • Design agreements
  • Construction agreements, including prime contracts, trade contracts, subcontracts, supplier agreements, and materials storage agreements
  • Finished product, barter and countertrade agreements

Our team places a major emphasis on providing preventative counseling and advice, with the goal of avoiding counterproductive, costly disputes and litigation on issues such as: 

  • Payment and contractor claims
  • Scheduling and delays
  • Defective construction and warranty obligations
  • Design defects
  • Liens
  • Building codes and other regulations

If disputes do arise, the Development Services industry team includes highly skilled construction and real estate litigators that have represented clients in mediation, arbitration, and claims in federal and state courts in the Carolinas and Georgia. Our attorneys also regularly appear before government regulators regarding licensing and building code issues.

Asset Management

Once construction is complete and the property opens, we advise on any legal issues that arise from the continued ownership and operation of a real estate development. This includes ongoing regulatory compliance, tax planning strategies, refinancing, and drafting and negotiating leases (as discussed in our next phase below). 

If the property owner has assigned a property management firm, Parker Poe attorneys work alongside that firm to support the services it provides, including preparation, negotiation, and review of leases, vendor agreements, property tax advice, and management contracts. Our Development Services industry team includes attorneys that are skilled in all areas of real estate litigation, including landlord/tenant disputes as well as creditors’ rights and bankruptcy.

Sale & Leasing

The commercial leasing team at Parker Poe has great depth, versatility, and experience in creating solutions to clients’ challenges. We work with owners of real estate developments and properties to understand their leasing standards, guidelines, and goals.

We have experience assisting clients in a variety of lease needs, including retail leases, subleases, ground leases, build-to-suit and retrofit-to-suit leases. Whether our clients are corporate property owners, private real estate investors, or developers that continue as owners, we have experience working with extensive real estate portfolios and support whoever is charged with the leasing function, including in-house counsel, real estate management teams, or property management firms. We handle the leasing from the letter of intent through lease negotiations, tenant improvements, guaranties, financing, and third-party approvals.

Parker Poe’s team is strong in document preparation and due diligence and pragmatic in lease negotiations. Our attorneys are deal-makers with keen business acumen who will work hard to negotiate advantageous leases for your development or property. Because our team has years of experience in representing landlords, tenants, and lenders, we understand the interests of all parties and are skilled negotiators in deals between invested parties.

When a developer or other property owner is ready to sell, we handle the legal aspects of the sale or disposition of a development or property in much the same way we did the acquisition. Now acting as seller’s counsel we deploy the same services and resources for our clients to help them recognize the full value of their real property assets. 

Representative Experience

Centennial Campus
Raleigh, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Jamie Schwedler & Mark Frederick

We are advising North Carolina State University on a large-scale project that includes modernizing the zoning of Centennial Campus to create a more user-friendly framework for future development. The rezoning to a Campus Master Plan district includes more than 900 acres of land in southwest Raleigh, including some parcels owned by the State of North Carolina and allocated for use by the university. The project will support existing university operations and create future opportunities for innovative development. The zoning application establishes a framework for an urban learn/live/work/play environment that aligns with NC State’s mission focused on teaching, research, and statewide outreach.
(See coverage in WRAL TechWire and the Triangle Business Journal.)

East Main Street Redevelopment
Durham, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Nicholle Allen-Steele & Anthony Fox

We are advising a municipality as a party to a public-private partnership (P3) in an important downtown revitalization project that includes two private developers and three subprojects, including commercial space, affordable housing, and an educational facility. We have structured and negotiated all agreements, including the master development agreement, purchase and sales agreement, and ground lease agreement for affordable housing. We are also advising on the land use and zoning. In later phases, we will be negotiating leasing space for a preschool and retail use. We are also working on financing for the project, which will combine traditional municipal financing options with developer-driven tax credit financing.
(See coverage in Building Bull City.)

Factory Relocation & Build-to-Suit Exchange
Charlotte, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Brent Milgrom & Tim Logan

We represented a manufacturer relocating one of the last operating factories from the redeveloped portion of Charlotte’s South End. The deal included sale of the existing property to a national developer and the acquisition and upfit of a replacement facility utilizing a build-to-suit 1031 exchange. We also assisted the client in performing due diligence with respect to multiple potential replacement properties within a very tight time frame in order to synchronize the sale and acquisition.
(See coverage in the Charlotte Business Journal.)

EchoPark Automotive Expansion
Atlanta, Ga. & Other Sites
Lead Attorneys: Craig Lynch, Ellen Smith, & Collier McLeod

We represented Sonic Automotive in the acquisition of several sites across the country to expand its EchoPark brand and footprint, including in Atlanta, Tampa, Nashville, and Houston. One of these transactions involved the redevelopment of commercial property to allow for a new regional headquarters, showroom, and customer experience center. This particular acquisition included a 12-acre parcel that involved the conveyance of a retail store for repurposing, as well as land use and zoning counsel required to allow this conveyance. We handled negotiations with the seller and the Georgia Department of Transportation regarding an issue with respect to an adjacent highway interchange, and we secured approval of a change in conditions application from a county board of commissioners.
(See coverage in Forbes and the Atlanta Business Chronicle.)

FUSE District Redevelopment
Gastonia, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Mac McCarley & Laura Goode 

We represented the City of Gastonia in a redevelopment project in the FUSE district of downtown. The project was structured as a public-private partnership (P3) with three individual parties. The redevelopment involved underutilized parcels that had previously held a factory, warehouses, and mills. As part of the plan, the city had acquired multiple properties in this district, one of which is now the FUSE minor league ballpark, currently under construction. Our advice included negotiating the economic development agreement with the developer/team owner to develop the parcels surrounding the ballpark, as well as the use and operating agreement for the ballpark and team office space lease agreements. As part of the economic development agreement, the city will convey city-owned parcels to the developer/team owner for other development. We advised on all the legal aspects of the project.
(See coverage in the Charlotte Business Journal and Business North Carolina.)

The Creamery
Raleigh, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Jamie Schwedler & Collier Marsh

We represented the developer in securing approvals for the redevelopment of a historic building site on the Glenwood South corridor of downtown Raleigh. The Pine State Creamery was first built as a dairy plant around 1920 and was later designated a Raleigh Landmark. Plans for this revitalization project include preservation of the historic building and development of existing surface parking into two 20- and 40-story mixed-use towers, separated from the Creamery building by a pedestrian plaza and woonerf, a Dutch concept that reimagines a street as a social space. Our involvement included handling the rezoning process, coordinating the certificate of appropriateness process for historic entitlement approvals, and acting as local counsel for related real estate transactional matters.
(See coverage in the Triangle Business Journal.)

Workforce Housing Project
Henry County, Ga.
Lead Attorneys: Ellen Smith & Collier McLeod

We represent KCG Companies as land use and zoning counsel with respect to the development of a new multifamily, mixed-use project in South Metro Atlanta in Henry County. We lead the rezoning process for this affordable housing project, successfully introduced KCG Companies to Henry County, and are working with planning and zoning staff, county commissioners, and neighboring property owners primarily through Zoom because of the pandemic. Showing flexibility to meet county and stakeholder demand, our team of attorneys, engineers, and KCG as the developer, all of whom connected through CREW Network, changed architects midstream to ensure an innovative design that will be the cornerstone for future development along the West Village Parkway corridor into Ellenwood. Approval of this rezoning application marked the first approval for a multifamily development in unincorporated Henry County in nearly two decades and is believed to be a foundational housing development as other large employers and commercial businesses expand in the area.
(See coverage in Moving Henry Forward.) 

High Hampton Resort Revitalization
Cashiers, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Richard Few & Olivia Daly

We represented the joint venture established by an out-of-state developer and Blackberry Farm, a historic property in one of North Carolina’s mountain resort communities, in rehabilitating this historic inn, related cottages, and a golf club. The inn and cottages’ rehabilitation is being structured to qualify for federal and North Carolina historic tax credits. Our team handled the historic tax credits, joint venture agreements, development agreement, and other related legal services for this redevelopment. Additional transactional legal considerations will include agreements to assign operating responsibility to Blackberry Farm, who will be responsible for daily operations of the inn and other amenities once completed.
(See coverage in Town & Country and Plateau Magazine.)

Depot 499
Apex, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Jamie Schwedler & Collier Marsh

We secured zoning approval for a new mixed-use center on more than 200 acres in Apex, North Carolina. We represented Lennar in the entitlements, with plans to develop 150 acres of the overall project. The planned development will have up to 650,000 square feet of commercial/office space, 850 apartments, 650 townhomes, and a public elementary school. The project will complete offsite traffic and pedestrian connections in the area to provide a fully walkable mixed-use center, while still preserving a significant number of trees and open space, and it incorporates a contribution towards 45 affordable housing units.
(See coverage in the Triangle Business Journal and Our Town, Apex.) 

Industrial Development: Manufacturing & Distribution Facility
Kings Mountain, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Sam Moses & Tim Logan

We represented Evans Food Group, a food manufacturer, in its recent expansion just outside of Charlotte. Our attorneys partnered with Parker Poe Consulting on site selection and incentives services. We also advised on the land assemblage of more than 20 acres of greenfield space for development of a new manufacturing and distribution facility. Our team handled the drafting and negotiations of purchase agreements for acquiring the land from two separate owners and advised on all title and survey review, which included addressing issues that would have encumbered the title.
(See coverage in the Charlotte Business Journal.) 

Industrial Expansion: Production Facility
Gastonia, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Sam Moses & Tim Logan

We represented GNT, a foreign-owned, food processing company, in an expansion of its U.S. operations. Along with representing the company as site selection and incentives counsel, we advised on the acquisition of 49 acres of land for new development. Our client was the first company to select the site in a newly developed commercial business park. Our representation included negotiating the purchase agreement with the county, reviewing and commenting on the subdivision plat and declaration for the park, having terms of the declaration waived or amended in our client’s favor, and securing approval for our client’s plans for construction. Our Development Services Team also advised on the construction contracts.
(See coverage in Gaston Gazette and the Charlotte Business Journal.)

Charlotte Metro Tower
Charlotte, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Jimmy Greene, Chuck Lee, Tom Quirk & Kate Mayes

We represented Childress Klein in its joint venture to acquire the Charlotte Metro Tower for up to $675 million. The 40-story office tower will include approximately 1 million square feet of office and retail space, LEED Gold certification, and a parking garage with 1,100 spaces. The Charlotte Business Journal called the project the “largest single real estate transaction ever made in Charlotte.”
(See coverage in the Charlotte Business Journal and Southeast Real Estate Business.)

Kannapolis Downtown Redevelopment
Kannapolis, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Anthony Fox, Scott Leo & Nicholle Allen-Steele

We represented the City of Kannapolis in a major redevelopment of its downtown district, including the addition of a minor league baseball stadium and pending mixed-use properties. Parker Poe attorneys assisted in structuring the public-private partnership (P3); drafting the original MOU, master development agreement, and parking garage agreement; as well as advising on ordinance revisions and appropriate statutory authorities related to public bidding laws. The firm assisted with the disposition of publicly owned buildings and facilities to accommodate the redevelopment and provided environmental regulatory advice related to the brownfields process. Parker Poe’s bond attorneys advised on the $52 million bond financing for the stadium project.
(See coverage in Ballpark Digest and on WBTV.­)

GoTriangle Tower
Raleigh, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Russell Killen, Jamie Schwedler & Collier Marsh

We represented GoTriangle, a regional transportation authority, as the developer of a 40-story mixed-use tower on top of a multimodal transportation facility. This project incorporates one of the first affordable housing conditional zoning cases in the City of Raleigh. Parker Poe successfully secured approval for rezoning from the city, as well as advised on all other legal aspects of the development and other due diligence and approvals. Our Development Services Team has assisted in helping to keep this project moving under tight deadlines, as it is partially funded by a federal grant that stipulates completion times.
(See coverage in the Triangle Business Journal and at GoTriangle.org.)

Rock Hill University Center
Rock Hill, S.C.
Lead Attorneys: Richard Few & Todd Haynie

We represented the developer in the redevelopment of 23 acres of industrial property, including an old mill and a water treatment facility, into a mixed-use facility that will support a local university and provide other services to local citizens. The proposed $200 million project will include student housing, a 164,000-square-foot athletic facility, as well as apartments, a hotel, restaurants, shops, and 228,000 square feet of office space. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
(See coverage in the Charlotte Business Journal.)

Rocky Point & Sunrise
Tampa & Orlando, Fla. 
Lead Attorney: Brent Milgrom

We represented the developer in two new multifamily projects in Florida. Rocky Point in Tampa and Sunrise in Orlando are two new signature Northwood Ravin properties currently being developed. Both properties are anticipated to open to residents in 2021.

Novel Stonewall Station
Charlotte, N.C.
Lead Attorney: Alan Dexter

We served as real estate counsel for Novel Stonewall Station by Crescent Communities, Uptown Charlotte’s premier mixed-use, transit-oriented development. Commercial condominium regimes separate vertical project elements on 5.3 acres: 459 upscale apartments in mid- and high-rise buildings above anchor Whole Foods Market and related retail, and two 181-room hotels above restaurants and complementary retail. Reciprocal easements govern internal roads, shared utility corridors, and parking in a 10-level, 1,350-space deck. Connection agreements with the city provide elevated platform access to Charlotte’s Blue Line light rail system.
(See coverage in the Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer.)

Fenton
Cary, N.C.
Lead Attorneys: Russell KillenJamie Schwedler

We are representing Columbia Development on a 95-acre parcel project owned by the State Property Office in Cary. This site will house 1 million square feet of office space, 820 residential units, plus retail and a hotel. For this project, we advised on all municipal rezoning work, including negotiating provisions for a new zoning overlay district and collaborating with town council and adjacent property owners. We also represented the developer in securing an approved development agreement with the Town of Cary, negotiating economic incentive packages (including advice on local taxes and contracts), and advising on trademarks, public relations, and branding.
(See coverage in The News & Observer and Multihousing Pro.)

Vermillion Village
Huntersville, N.C.
Lead Attorney: Tom Quirk

We are serving as real estate counsel on the transformation of a vacant property into a major mixed-use project that will help spur redevelopment in downtown Huntersville. The project will ultimately boast 400 residential units combining apartments and townhouse complexes and 165,000 square feet of grocery store-anchored retail space in multiple free-standing buildings. Our work includes the acquisition of the property from the town, negotiation of a joint venture agreement for the development of the retail parcels, advising on Brownfields and other environmental matters, and the negotiation of restrictions with the town, as well as easements and commercial use declarations.
(See coverage in the Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer.)

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