Development & Land Use


5th Largest Real Estate Law Firm in New York, The Real Deal (October 2019)


We assist clients through every step of the development process, including:

  • land acquisition;
  • financing;
  • land use analysis and strategy;
  • ground leases;
  • condominiums and air rights transfers;
  • zoning and planning approvals, environmental reviews and remediation and other regulatory issues;
  • governmental incentives, including tax abatements, tax increment financing, state and federal tax credits, environmental and redevelopment grants and loans, and business retention and relocation grants and loans;
  • ownership participation, public/private partnerships, and governmental development agreements;
  • construction and rehabilitation; and
  • leasing.

Our projects range from residential and commercial developments to complex mixed-use developments.

Land Use

Our land use and zoning lawyers possess extensive experience in this unique area of law. They are adept at addressing the complex and, at times, adversarial challenges associated with securing approvals for new developments and the renovation or adaptive reuse of existing properties. Our work extends to related environmental and regulatory matters encompassing state and federal compliance, planning and regulatory enforcement, as well as obtaining and defending land use approvals before local boards and in various courts.

Legal services in this area include:

  • zoning and land use planning;
  • due diligence investigations;
  • site plan, subdivision and variance applications before municipal zoning and planning boards;
  • environmental permits;
  • appearances before county planning boards, regional boards, administrative and regulatory agencies;
  • prerogative writ actions, appeals of unfavorable land use decisions and defense of approvals; and
  • zoning, condemnation and other land use-related litigation in state and federal court.

The firm has represented clients in appearances before boards across New Jersey and in hundreds of numerous municipalities. They have earned the respect of board members and professionals throughout the state, and are widely sought as knowledgeable professionals and strong advocates.

Representative Matters

  • Represented the National Urban League, Inc. ("NUL"), in the acquisition of a 99-year ground lease of the existing 125th Street Garage site premises from the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York State Empire State Development Corp. and the development of the "Urban League Empowerment Center," a 400,000 square foot corporate headquarters complex, comprised of NUL executive and program offices and commercial office space, conference center, retail space and a museum of the American Civil Rights Movement.
  • Represented a developer in the ongoing $300 million revitalization of Harlem's New Victoria Theater Project as a mixed-use property, including a prominent hotel, market and affordable-rate housing, retail and cultural space.
  • Represented a major New York residential owner in a $750 million development and 1,000,000 square foot expansion of a major residential complex in Harlem, New York.
  • Represented a joint venture of three major regional developers in residential redevelopment of two city blocks in New Brunswick, including land use approvals, redevelopment agreements, PILOT agreements and public-private financing of parking garage component.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in connection with numerous development and leasing transactions, including a corporate headquarters (300,000 square feet), an office complex (1,200,000 square feet), a research laboratory (655,000 square feet), an employee training center (300,000 square feet), a customer training center (450,000 square feet), a chemical storage facility (17,000 square feet), and construction and development of an office tower in midtown Manhattan (800,000 square feet).
  • Represented a non-profit development company in connection with land acquisition, relocation, financing and construction for several redevelopment projects in New Jersey, including a renovated courthouse/apartment tower complex, a city and county office facility, a hotel/conference center/condominium project, a mixed-use complex with rental apartments, residential condominiums, university bookstore, offices for public and private entities, restaurants, retail space, supermarket, wellness center and parking garages, a mixed-use cultural center with theaters, rehearsal space, offices, apartments and parking, a satellite campus of a state university and a new utility headquarters, and a downtown university student dormitory. Projects included the use of certificates of participation (COPS), tax increment financing, tax abatements, New Markets Tax Credits, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Urban Transit Hub Tax Credits, and tax-exempt bond financing.
  • Represented an international investment bank in connection with site plan approvals and negotiation of a developer's agreement for a new data center in New Jersey.
  • Represented a large religious organization in connection with the disposition of transferable development rights appurtenant to a number of New York City parcels.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 transportation company in connection with the development of a large distribution facility.
  • Represented a fund in connection with the negotiation (from borrower's perspective) and tranched closings of $335 million in senior (leasehold mortgage) and junior (leasehold mortgage and mezzanine) loans for construction of a green residential condominium in Battery Park City. We also handled subsequent project changes, loan and ground lease modifications, approval of procedures for unit sales and other aspects.
  • Represented a major cultural institution sponsoring mixed-use redevelopment on an adjacent property to create a 24-hour environment that leverages the presence of the cultural facility. The project included negotiations with developers and major corporate tenants, and with multiple governmental entities in connection with property interests and redevelopment financing and incentives.
  • Represented the developer of a multi-block, stadium-oriented, mixed-use riverfront redevelopment project in obtaining redeveloper designation, tax abatements, state infrastructure financing, land use approvals and in defending multiple legal challenges to the project, and site plan approval.
  • Represented the owner of a large development site, adjacent to the High Line park (New York, NY), in a sale to the developer/owner of the Standard Hotel.
  • Represented a health care institution following its acquisition of a building in obtaining relief from unrecorded restrictions that prohibited its use for medical purposes.
  • Represented a prominent commercial property joint venture owner in a multi-phased construction management agreement at 3 Columbus Circle (New York, NY), a class "A" property.
Land Use
  • Represented the developer in its land use application for a significant non-casino project in Atlantic City, NJ involving a satellite academic campus and student housing for a state college, as well as a new headquarters for a public utility.
  • Represented a joint venture of three major regional developers in land use approvals of a residential redevelopment of two city blocks in New Brunswick.
  • Represented the developer of a multi-block, stadium-oriented, mixed-use riverfront redevelopment project in obtaining land use approvals, among a myriad of related development and dispute matters.
  • Represented a teaching hospital in connection with land use approvals for numerous development projects, including a major solar panel installation, a new emergency room and ambulance drop-off area, parking expansion and electrical utility upgrades.
  • Represented an academic institution in obtaining approvals for a new building and parking garage that required more than 15 use and bulk variances and that met with significant public opposition, which we successfully defended when challenged at the appellate levels.
  • Represented an academic institution in land use matters pertaining to the development of an athletic and recreational complex.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in connection with land use approvals for a major phased expansion of an existing research and technology facility in Piscataway, NJ.
  • Represented an international telecommunications company in the subdivision and rezoning of surplus property at its New Jersey research campus for the purpose of resale for development.

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Related Practice

For 2021, Windels Marx is recognized by U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" in both the National and Metropolitan - Tier 2 (New Jersey) categories for Land Use & Zoning Law. Visit the Best Law Firms directory and learn more about Windels Marx recognition

The New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 is a comprehensive economic recovery plan that provides new development tools and incentive programs intended to spur the State economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading for our analysis of the Community Anchored Development, Aspire, Emerge and Innovation Evergreen Programs.