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

Windels Marx has built up a vast understanding of development and redevelopment law, an interdisciplinary practice that draws upon the capabilities of our well-established real estate, land use, environmental, finance, tax, corporate and litigation and dispute resolution departments.

Windels Marx represents parties in all aspects and phases of redevelopment projects. We regularly represent developers (both for profit and not-for-profit), municipalities, governmental authorities and agencies and financial institutions in a wide array of development and redevelopment projects in New Jersey and New York. Our attorneys have significant experience in working with municipalities to craft redevelopment plans and in representing developers before governmental agencies in the redeveloper designation process. We have drafted and negotiated numerous redevelopment agreements between governmental authorities and developers and have assisted our clients in structuring innovative financing arrangements to make redevelopment possible.

Our practice includes advising our clients as to how to best develop and navigate their projects through the broad and complex statutory scheme in New Jersey which may impact such projects, including:

  • the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law,
  • the Long-Term Tax Exemption Law,
  • the Redevelopment Area Bond Financing Law,
  • the Five-Year Exemption and Abatement Law,
  • the Eminent Domain Act,
  • the Relocation Assistance Law,
  • affordable housing regulations,
  • the Municipal Land Use Law,
  • the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013,
  • the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009,
  • the Grow NJ Act,
  • the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Law,
  • the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission regulations,
  • the Atlantic City Tourism District Act,
  • the Local Public Contracts Law and
  • the Local Lands and Buildings Law.

Our representation of municipalities and redevelopers also includes advising clients as to the most advantageous form of entity to act as developer. In many cases, the redeveloper is a venture between a for-profit and a not-for-profit entity or some form of public-private partnership; we have prepared numerous types of joint venture, operating, cooperation and development agreements depending upon which is optimal for the particular project.

We have overseen the redevelopment process for our municipal clients as well as for developer clients in those not-uncommon instances where a municipality lacking the specialized expertise has sought our assistance.

Governmental Approvals

As developer's counsel we have represented our clients before a wide variety of municipal, county, regional and state boards and agencies (e.g., Housing Authorities, Boards of Chosen Freeholders, City Councils, Historic Preservation Commissions, County Improvement Authorities, NJDOT, New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, etc.) to obtain approvals necessary in connection with the development process, including presentations for preliminary and final site plan approvals. We have also taken an active role in obtaining environmental permits and when necessary, developing and negotiating remedial action work plans before the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Financing & Tax-Advantaged Programs

We also represent developers in connection with the review, preparation and negotiation of construction loans and permanent financing for their projects from either private or government sources including:

  • commercial banks,
  • Grow NJ tax credits,
  • Economic Redevelopment and Growth tax credits,
  • New Markets Tax Credits,
  • Urban Transit Hub Tax Credits,
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credits,
  • Federal Historic Tax Credits,
  • the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency,
  • the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and
  • Federal Home Loan Bank funds.

Leasing & Sales

We have also played a key role in assisting our clients in the lease and/or sale of the redeveloped project. Our extensive experience in working with governmental entities and our strong relationship with state and local officials, lenders, builders, consultants and other participants in the redevelopment process have proved invaluable in providing to our clients an efficient, cost-effective representation that has resulted in the successful completion of numerous redevelopment projects throughout the state.

Redevelopment Matters of Note

Atlantic City, NJ
  • Provided legal representation to a not-for-profit developer on all facets of a major non-casino redevelopment project to provide new facilities for Stockton University and South Jersey Gas.  The firm handled all negotiations with municipal and state entities for approvals, redevelopment and PILOT agreements, and incentives as well as land acquisition, leases and bond financing for the project. The residential portions of the project will be comprised of a 217,000 square foot building on the Boardwalk that will provide housing for 533 students, together with 9,000 square feet of retail space. The site of the former Atlantic City High School will be the location of a new, approximately 56,000 square foot academic building to serve the University. A new 866-car garage, which includes ground floor retail space, will provide parking for the University as well as for a new 72,000 square foot corporate headquarters for South Jersey Gas Corporation to be built atop the garage.
  • Represented a major casino owner in connection with the redevelopment of a portion its site to bring a state-of-the art conference center to its gaming facility.
Ewing, NJ

Representation of a public institution of higher education in its ground lease under the P3 provisions of the Economic Stimulus Act for development of Campus Town - a 9-building, $50 million project with nearly 80,000 square feet of commercial space and 130 student apartments in Ewing, NJ.

Hackensack, NJ

Representation of Hackensack University Medical Center in its joint venture with Seton Hall to establish a new school of medicine, as part of the redevelopment of the Roche Pharmaceutical campus in Nutley and Clifton, NJ. The project included extensive negotiations with two host municipalities in connection with redevelopment and PILOT agreements, the use of Redevelopment Area Bonds, and the use of state incentives.

Harrison, NJ

Representation of a redeveloper in the negotiation of a redevelopment agreement and tax exemption addressing the multi-phase, long-term redevelopment of the Harrison, New Jersey waterfront. The project also includes substantial issues of property acquisition and environmental remediation.

Jersey City, NJ

Representation of the redeveloper in negotiating a number of access, use, shared facilities, infrastructure and other agreements with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as a P3 agreement, in connection with Journal Squared -- a 2.3 million square foot, multi-phase, mixed-use project.

Linden, NJ

Representation of a regional developer in the negotiation of a redevelopment agreement and tax abatement for a major warehouse-industrial project in Tremley Point. The firm also is counseling on the real property acquisition, which includes complex issues of access and title, as well as significant environmental issues associated with this former industrial site.

Morristown, NJ

Represented the developer of New Jersey's first Transit Village in Morristown, which was constructed on a NJ Transit-owned surface lot. The project included residential and retail uses, as well as structured parking for commuters and building occupants. The NJ Transit-related portion of the representation included extensive negotiations with the railroad with respect to:

  • site control,
  • garage requirements,
  • parking operations,
  • temporary parking during construction, and
  • financial relationships.
Neptune, NJ

Representation of a non-profit developer in connection with redevelopment of four blocks of blighted and abandoned properties in Neptune with commercial office space and mixed-use structures. The project involved significant community relations issues.

Newark, NJ
  • Representation of a major cultural institution in Newark sponsoring mixed-use redevelopment on adjacent property. The project included negotiations with developers, interaction with the State and the NJEDA, which hold interests in the property, negotiation with the City of Newark for redevelopment financing and tax exemption, and interaction with NJDOT and the City with respect to a pedestrian bridge and waterfront improvements.
  • Counsel to a nationally-recognized bank in their multi-faceted financing role for Teachers Village (Newark, NJ), a complex, qualified school construction bonds and new markets tax credit transaction, including representing the bank as bond purchaser, bridge lender, escrow agent and administrative agent.
  • Counsel to a non-profit entity formed to acquire key parcels in the Broad Street corridor for the purpose of redevelopment, including negotiations with the redevelopment partner.
  • Representation of a major Newark developer with respect to land acquisition, State initiatives and tax abatements for redevelopment projects on Broad Street and Market Street.
  • Representation of a major developer in downtown Newark in connection with long-term tax abatement and financing of remediation costs of a vacant skyscraper being converted to luxury residences through New Jersey's first issuance of bonds pursuant to the Redevelopment Area Bond Financing Law.
New Brunswick, NJ
  • Representation of a redeveloper in its $300 million financing of a Rutgers University redevelopment project consisting of: a new 175,000 square foot academic building for the Rutgers University School of Arts & Sciences; a separate building consisting of a 500-bed residence hall for Honors Students; a 500-bed apartment-style residence building comprised of apartments for Rutgers University students as well as 13,000 square feet of retail space and a public plaza; a 300-space multi-story parking structure and surface lot; and a new administrative and classroom building, chapel and 10 student apartments for the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. The transaction included: a tax-exempt bond sale in the amount of $237 million and a master lease of the facilities to Rutgers; the acquisition of multiple parcels and the negotiation of development agreements, ground leases and facility licenses; and the sale of $33 million in Urban Transit Hub tax credits.
  • Representation of a redeveloper (with not-for-profit and for profit partners) in connection with the state's first Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit project. The mixed-use project consists of an 11 story residential tower (with affordable components) above a public parking garage, office space, and retail space. The project includes a PILOT Agreement, Urban Transit Hub Tax Credits, New Markets Tax Credits, Development Service Agreements and Redevelopment Agreements with the local redevelopment entity.
  • Representation of a redeveloper (with not-for-profit and for profit partners) in connection with the acquisition and clearance of an entire city block in down town New Brunswick and the construction of a mixed use redevelopment project consisting of a nine-story, 250-room hotel and conference center, a community work force development center, over 40 residential condominiums, on site parking and over 6,500 square feet of street level commercial/retail space. The project includes a PILOT Agreement, Redevelopment Area Bond Financing, Development Service Agreements and Redevelopment Agreements with the local redevelopment entity.
  • Representation of 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.
  • Representation of a redeveloper (with not-for-profit and for profit partners) in the ownership, development and construction of an approximately 261,000 square foot redevelopment project in the downtown area of New Brunswick, New Jersey, consisting primarily of the construction of a student housing facility for use by students of Rutgers University and other surrounding universities and colleges (including 13,000 square feet of retail space) and consisting of a total of 186 furnished apartment suites, with a total of 671 beds, on-site laundry facilities, common areas, quiet study areas and an outdoor plaza. Financing for the project was provided by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority's issuance of approximately $54,000,000 in tax-exempt bonds. The project includes a PILOT Agreement, Development Services Agreements and Redevelopment Agreements with the local redevelopment entity.
  • Representation of a redeveloper (with not-for-profit and for profit partners) in connection with the development and construction of two buildings, totaling approximately 230,000 square feet of office space for the County of Middlesex, the City of New Brunswick Police Department and the United States Post Office in a $43 million redevelopment project in downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey. The project was financed through the issuance of certificates of participation.
New York, NY

Serving as counsel to the National Urban League in the development of its new headquarters on 125th Street in Harlem, NY. The assignment is part of a major redevelopment project billed as the "Urban League Empowerment Center" and was announced by the Governor of New York State and the Mayor of New York City. When completed, the redevelopment will include space for arts, culture, retail and community use.

Perth Amboy, NJ
  • Representation of a designated redeveloper for repositioning of a failed redevelopment project in Perth Amboy, including land acquisition and financial initiatives.
  • Representation of a regional redeveloper in connection with its designation by the City of Perth Amboy for redevelopment of a former industrial site undergoing environmental remediation including negotiation of a redevelopment agreement and obtaining land use approvals.

Representative Governmental Entity Clients and Matters of Note

Borough of Dunellen
  • Representation of the Borough in connection with the redevelopment of retail and for-sale residential uses, with a retail mixed use component, on an underutilized site adjacent to a NJ Transit station. The project includes three separate redevelopers, as well as a long-term tax exemption and Redevelopment Area Bond Financing.
City of Lambertville
Borough of Carteret / Carteret Redevelopment Agency
  • Representation of the Borough of Carteret in connection with the complete redevelopment of a nine-acre gateway site, involving a multi-phase redevelopment process with major residential and commercial condemnation and relocation issues.
  • Representation of the Borough of Carteret in connection with its desired redevelopment of a closed landfill. This lengthy process included addressing significant environmental remediation issues, substantial property acquisition through condemnation, and resolution of major financing issues, tax increment financing and negotiations with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority on roadway redesign.
  • Representation of the Borough of Carteret in connection with the redevelopment of a former auto body facility and municipal garage for residential use. The project included condemnation and construction of a new municipal garage.
Township of Brick
Highland Park Redevelopment Agency

In addition to the specific matters described, we have negotiated multiple redevelopment agreements on behalf of the above governmental entities, some of them extremely complex. We have also negotiated a tax abatement on behalf of the City of Linwood. In addition, we negotiated the redevelopment agreement, ground leases and tax abatement on behalf of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority ("NJSEA") for the Xanadu / American Dream project.

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For 2020, Windels Marx is ranked by U.S. News - Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" for Real Estate Law (Metropolitan Tier 1-NJ), Banking and Finance Law (National Tier 3 and Metropolitan Tier 1-NJ), Land Use and Zoning Law and Litigation – Real Estate (both Metropolitan Tier 3-NJ).