This Is What Leadership Looks Like In The Real Estate Legal Sector

I have been blessed to have many so many wonderful connections in my 30+ years in the real estate industry. These relationships have been the foundation of everything I have tried to in the sector from initially building my public relations firm into one of the largest in the country to now building CRE // Tech into the premier events, connectivity and content platform in the real estate tech sector.

In my opinion, great companies are a reflection of the people they surround themselves with. They never are truly a reflection of one person as much as they are of a community of people. And of the core values and integrity that “collective” represents. And in my experience, my friends at Cole Schotz, LLP are among the best people I have ever met in the real estate legal sector.

So when I thought of one law firm to participate in our quest to help build the CRE tech sector into a thriving community, I immediately thought of them. Their leadership, integrity, talent and prestigious client base was exactly what this young industry needed. And so I called my old friend Leo Leyva, Partner at Cole Schotz and it was an immediate, “We’re in!”. Amazing. Humbling. So proud.

For the CRE tech sector to thrive it's essential that it grows beyond just the thought leaders, the bloggers, the investors, the occupiers, brokers and of course, the startups. We need the law firms, the accounting firms, the banks, the service professionals to also be investing in the space. It's exactly what has happened in Silicon Valley. There are enormous law firms devoted JUST to tech. There are banks with huge investment portfolios and balance sheets in the tech sector. And on and on...

So, thanks to my friends at Cole Schotz, LLP for stepping up and stepping into the CRE tech sector. Your leadership is needed and your participation is crucial to the success of the industry.

If you don't know Cole Schotz, I conducted a recent interview with two of my good friends at the firm, Leo Leyva, Partner and Jordan Metzger, Partner to get an overview of their real estate practice. I hope you will reach out to them directly and you will quickly see that these are the exact types of professionals we need to be attracting to the CRE tech sector.

Thank you Cole Schotz, LLP!

Michael: Tell us about your firm and your real estate practice.

Leo & Jordan: Cole Schotz provides a full range of legal services from offices in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Texas and Florida.  Relationships and results are at the core of the Cole Schotz experience. Achieving success for each client is our goal, and our relentless commitment to that end sets us apart. In particular, our real estate team has earned a national reputation for providing practical and strategic solutions for real estate developers and investors. Our clients include property owners, potential property owners, landlords, tenants, sub-landlords, sub-tenants, institutional and private lenders, public and private equity investors, syndicators, joint ventures, developers, construction companies, general contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, property managers, brokers and appraisers.

M: Describe the type of work you do and for what type of real estate clients.

L&J: The scope of our work includes the acquisition, sale, asset management, risk and business opportunity analysis, development, redevelopment, financing, leasing, subleasing, syndication , joint venture and environmental  and construction concerns of commercial (including retail, office and hotel), industrial, warehouse and multi-family residential properties.  We also counsel clients on structuring strategic debt acquisitions and originations, debt restructurings and workouts, asset acquisitions, dispositions and recapitalizations, and the prosecution of property and equity foreclosures (both contested and uncontested), to achieve their investment goals and business objectives.  This requires a multidisciplinary approach, capitalizing on the knowledge and experience of members of our real estate, corporate, litigation and restructuring departments.

M: Can you tell me something about the kinds of strategic thinking you bring to the table for your clients – be it in a transaction or a dispute?

L&J: We put ourselves in our client’s shoes in handling transactions and view ourselves as advisors not just lawyers.  Because many of us have litigation backgrounds, we review and negotiate transaction documents with an eye toward how they will be interpreted should a dispute arise.  And foremost, we are deal-makers, always looking for ways to close the deal for our clients, while protecting their interests at every turn.

M: Who are some of your real estate clients?

L&J: Cove Property Group, Onyx Equities LLC, Sentinel Real Estate, The Savanna Fund, Vornado Realty Trust, Gramercy Property Trust, Seritage, 60 Guilders, 100 Mile Fund, Raith Capital, G4 Capital Partners, Romspen Fund, Tall Pines, Latus Partners, Glacier Capital Management, Gabrellian Associates, Madison, Realty Capital, Red Starr

M: Are there any parts of your real estate practice that are growing particularly fast?

L&J: We have seen a lot of activity, particularly in the last six months, in the extremely hot Industrial sector – the building and leasing of warehouses. Given the proximity to NYC, these “last mile” options are very desirable for large trucking/logistics companies. We are also seeing a lot of activity in the retail redevelopment space.  Old department stores and shopping malls are being reinvented into “experiential retail” centers to provide more food and entertainment options. 

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Leo Leyva, Partner

Don't forget to come meet me in Los Angeles on September 28th and New York on December 7th for CRE // Tech! Tickets are on sale now!


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