Dealing with complexity and moving your projects forward

We advise on all aspects of real estate development including land use, zoning, and other aspects of planning, public sector financing, incentives, historic preservation, and financings. We’ve gained approvals and entitlements for our clients that have moved major projects forward, and have obtained billions in incentives for developers and investors.  

Delivering for clients in this area of the law requires a strong industry reputation, sector specific experience, and excellent relationships. We are an acknowledged thought leader in all aspects of development and land use, and are a go-to law firm for large-scale mixed-use projects. 

We have more than 100 legal professionals working in this field in locations around the world, advising on areas of interest to our developer and investor clients.  

“This is a team that understands and delivers. Real estate development has become increasingly complicated, but the team at DLA Piper manages to co-ordinate all of the relevant departments and specialisms to ensure the required outcome is delivered.”

Legal 500 2022

Our experience covers the many business, legal and real estate issues relating to the entitlement and development of land and the built environment. This includes managing complex approval processes, and obtaining and negotiating incentives as part of a prospective purchase, financing, sale, or lease transaction. We regularly navigate NIMBY and other stakeholder concerns in urban and suburban areas. 

We’re also experienced in governmental regulatory matters. This often involves projects that have an impact on existing infrastructure, flood plains, wetlands, coastal zones, historic buildings, and other sensitive areas. We work closely with developers and their team of consultants to analyze the applicable legal requirements, defining an optimum development plan and executing a coordinated approval strategy. 

Awards and recognition

  • Tier 1 nationwide USA, Legal 500
  • 10 Ranked Land Use Attorneys, Chambers 2022
  • 3 Nationally Ranked Land Use Attorneys, Legal 500 2022
  • “Exceptional knowledge of the lobal political and government staff stakeholders. They provide exceptional advice and well -reasoned strategic guidance. Simply put, [they] help us get through the entitlement process quicker and better than other groups.” – client interview, The Legal 500 2022
  • “Established team with a wide-ranging commercial property offering. Particular strength in large-sale development projects and landlord and tenant work, including corporate occupancy. Experience handling cross-border mandates for an impressive domestic and international client base.” – Chambers 2002
  • "Highly experienced in contentious planning matters, acting for objectors and other parties on a range of issues, including affordable housing planning. Equipped to advise on a broad range of planning issues associated with energy developments. Works with both public bodies and private clients. Capable of advising on multi-jurisdictional planning matters." - Chambers 2022 


  • 601W Companies LLC in connection with the renovation and rehabilitation of the 2.5 million square foot Old Main Chicago Post Office. Successes include obtaining the largest Class L tax incentive in the history of the State of Illinois, expected to save our client USD100 million over a 12-year period.
  • Related Midwest in connection with obtaining approval of its plan for a showcase site at 400 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. The plan calls for two towers rising to 875 and 765 feet with a combined 1,100 apartments, as well as the completion of a riverwalk along the Chicago River and funding for the long-delayed 4.5-acre DuSable Park. We represented the client on the initial acquisition of the site and led the project through entitlements, which included 2+ years of negotiations and coordination with the neighborhood, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the Chicago Park District.
  • Sterling Bay Companies in connection with securing the entitlements from Chicago’s City Council for the USD6 billion Lincoln Yards project, a 14 million square foot mixed-use development, and USD488 million of tax increment financing. We represented Sterling Bay in the initial zoning and public financing approvals and continue to represent it in connection with additional property conveyances and plan modifications required to facilitate the project.
  • University of Chicago in connection with Phase 2 of the redevelopment of Harper Court in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. Phase 2 will include the construction of a mixed-use tower anchored by a science and technology innovation center to be undertaken by a third-party developer. The firm's work includes disposition, leasing, venture structuring, financing, land use entitlements, and government affairs.
  • Hines Interests Limited Partnership in connection with the acquisition, permitting, financing and development of the USD2 billion Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station in Boston. Work included negotiation of an agreement with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Boston Redevelopment Authority to acquire the air rights above Boston’s main transit station as well as the closing of a USD870 million construction loan for the first phase of the project.
  • HYM Investment Group in connection with obtaining zoning approvals from the City of Boston for the redevelopment of the Suffolk Downs racetrack, the largest development project ever approved in Boston. The project encompasses more than 10.5 million square feet of residential and commercial space on 102 acres in Boston. An additional 5.6 million square feet has been approved for development on 60 acres in the neighboring city of Revere.
  • The McClellan Highway Development Company, an affiliate of our long-time client The HYM Investment Group, in connection with a joint venture to develop a USD230 million residential and retail project that will be the first building of the 16.2 million square foot Suffolk Downs project in East Boston and Revere, Massachusetts. The transaction also involved an additional, separate contribution agreement for a second joint venture to develop another residential building at the site, an option for future residential joint venture developments totaling 3.8 million square feet, and cross-easement agreements and covenants for the entire 161-acre Suffolk Downs site. The DLA team previously completed a multi-year master plan permitting process for the Suffolk Downs site, which required separate permitting efforts and negotiations with the state, and cities of Boston and Revere.
  • Redgate Capital Partners and Hilco Redevelopment Partners in connection with securing a PDA Master Plan approval from the Boston Planning & Development Agency for the L Street Station project, a 1.7 million square foot mixed-use redevelopment of the former Boston Edison power plant in South Boston. In addition to decommissioning the environmentally contaminated site and creating 5.7 acres of new waterfront public space, the former plant will be redeveloped into nine new blocks containing 860,000 square feet of office and R&D, up to 610 residential units, 240 hotel keys, and 100,000 square feet of retail, civic and cultural spaces in four historic turbine halls that will be preserved.
  • Tishman Speyer in connection with local and state permitting for the first phase of the “Enterprise Research Campus” development project adjacent to a major university in Boston’s Allston neighborhood. The roughly USD1 billion first phase will create 900,000 square feet for research, office, hotel, retail, restaurant, conference center, and residential uses, as well as significant public realm improvements and affordable housing opportunities.
  • Union Square Station Associates LLC in connection with the formation of a joint venture with USAA Real Estate Company to develop the first phase of a USD1.5 billion mixed-use transit-oriented development of 2.4 million square feet in Union Square in Somerville, Massachusetts. Our work involved negotiating with city agencies and private parties for the acquisition of land, working with the city and the community on rezoning the area, completing the state environmental review process, obtaining other state and local permits, negotiating with a joint venture partner, and negotiating with a development partner for a proposed life sciences building.
  • Atlas Capital Group in connection with the USD1 billion redevelopment of ROW DTLA. Located in the Arts District of Los Angeles, ROW DTLA consists of seven buildings on 30 acres of lot area. Our team worked with Atlas to conceive a new community in the heart of an emerging area by managing the design, tenant plan, entitlement and permitting of the more than 2.2 million square feet of existing floor space to reposition the space as a mixed-use retail, restaurant and creative office complex that will include off-hour and weekend entertainment and public market uses. Following repositioning of the space, we worked to obtain entitlements allowing alcoholic beverages to be dispensed at 26 separate locations at the site. The city agreed with our stance on CEQA that the project would qualify for a categorical exemption. Recently, we obtained a clearance from the Planning Department allowing the final large-scale onsite historic warehouse building to be repositioned for creative office uses, bringing to a successful conclusion the necessary approvals to achieve the client's vision for the project.
  • Gafcon/1HWY1, LLC, in connection with the USD2.5 billion Seaport Village Redevelopment project in San Diego. The DLA Piper Land Use team is assisting Gafcon with issues related to state lands as well as California’s Assembly Bill 900 and the California Environmental Quality Act. Additional work includes financing, state legislation, project description and litigation. The mixed-use project features 40 acres of land and 30 acres of water and will include several hotel properties, an aquarium, an observation tower, retail and restaurant space, an entertainment complex, marinas, parks and plazas, new conference space, and an urban beach.
  • Harridge Development Group in connection with securing all the required land use entitlements from the City of Los Angeles to develop the USD1 billion+ Crossroads Hollywood project, one of the largest, highest profile developments in the City of Los Angeles. The Land Use Group’s litigators spearheaded the expedited defense of litigation challenging the Project’s entitlements and CEQA clearance. We successfully defended the Project in Court against a national non-profit anti-development group, which alleged violations of state housing and redevelopment law, the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan, and CEQA. The lawsuit utilized the streamlined CEQA procedures allowed by AB 900, and resulted in a favorable judgment on all counts in favor of our client.
  • Silver Rock Resort in connection with the USD500 million development of a multi-phase 525-acre mixed-use master planned community project in the Coachella Valley of La Quinta, California. The master planned community is to include a Luxury Montage Hotel and branded Residences, a Pendry Lifestyle Hotel and module branded condominium project, a branded Montage Golf Villa project, a Conference and Shared Facilities Center, additional Resort Residential Villages, a Golf Course and Historic Club House, and numerous shared amenities. Our work includes drafting the master CC&Rs for the community, and CC&Rs, reciprocal easement agreements, amenities access and services agreements, and related documents for the project components including the hotel and residential components of the project, as well as negotiating agreements with the hotel brands, Montage and Pendry.
  • BlackChamber in connection with a USD850 million data center and residential, mixed-use project located one mile from the Silver Line Innovation Station and Dulles International Airport. The project consists of two 325,000 square foot, three-story, office-styled data centers, complemented by a 450-unit apartment complex in eastern Loudoun County, VA.
  • Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) in connection with securing the original Waterside rezoning and conversion of a 325-acre quarry site with a major town center, along with an industrial park and shopping center on the northernmost 100-acre portion of this area (value is USD1.2 billion). The team recently received approval for the COPT project to develop Waterside North with 1 million square feet of data centers, with our team just completing a third Zoning Concept Plan Amendment (ZCPA) to secure additional, creative financing for a critical, regional USD60+ million road-widening project (Old Ox Road, State Rt. 606) and update of the still-evolving data center plans (Virginia).
  • Innovation Station. DLA Piper oversees re-entitlement of the 100 acres that comprise Innovation Station, located at the confluence of Dulles International Airport, Route 28, and the Dulles Toll Road in Virginia. The proposed project consists of 2,700 apartments, two million square feet of office, 350,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, hotel, and Village Center.
  • LEGO in connection with its USD1 billion investment to develop its first precision-manufacturing facility in the USA. We assisted LEGO with the site selection process and with negotiating the PSA and lease agreements, as well as incentives agreements (valued at USD200 million) with the state and local development authorities in Virginia. The 1.7 million-square-foot factory is expected to create more than 1,760 jobs over 10 years.
  • One Loudoun in connection with securing approval for a 360-acre, 3.7 million square-foot, mixed-use community employment center, including 2.8 million square feet of office development and 600,000 square feet of retail, a luxury hotel, a movie theater, restaurants, and residences. This project received the Washington Smart Growth Alliance Award and was the first project to receive such recognition in Loudoun County, VA.
  • QTS Realty Services in the development of 1.1 million square feet of data centers throughout Northern Virginia. Work included amending the previously approved plans and proffers, as well as a special exception to permit a FAR increase from 0.6 to 1.0, as well as negotiations with the approving jurisdiction to facilitate a cash contribution towards adjacent road improvements in lieu of constructing the improvements on Loudoun County’s behalf.
  • Tysons Development, LLC in connection with securing unanimous approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to redevelop 8.35 acres that are strategically located at the landing to the Spring Hill Metro station in Vienna, VA. This USD1.5 billion investment in Tysons will result in the tallest building in the Washington, DC region.
  • North American Properties as development counsel in connection with Riverton, a USD2.5 billion redevelopment of brownfield property on over 400 acres in Sayreville, New Jersey (the largest brownfield redevelopment project in the state’s history). This major mixed-use project will include 1.5 million feet of retail space, almost 2 million square feet of office/commercial space, 800,000 square feet of hotel and conference center space, 2,000 residential units and a 400-slip marina. This community combines residential, retail, entertainment, marina, office, and hotel in a carefully curated street-level experience and aims to serve as a national example of next-generation, mixed-use development.
  • Atlanta Braves in connection with all aspects of the development of Truist Park and the surrounding mixed-use development known as The Battery Atlanta, including office, retail, residential, hotel and entertainment components. Our work on this project includes: structuring documentation of separate JV agreements for hotel, residential, retail and parking LLCs; negotiating public county revenue bonds and private financing for the stadium site; conveyance of the stadium site to the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority and negotiation of a stadium operating matters; drafting and negotiation of construction contracts for all components of the stadium and mixed-use project in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Transportation, Cobb County and other local authorities; development of plans for public infrastructure and transit serving and impacting the ballpark and nearby surrounding areas, including a pedestrian walkway bridge over Interstate 285; and implementation of a governing structure for the overall project via a Master Declaration.


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