Sandra Y. Kellman

Sandra Y. Kellman

Retired Partner

Sandi Kellman concentrates her practice on all aspects of commercial real estate development and finance, with particular focus in the hospitality sector on acquisition, disposition, development, management and financing of hotels and mixed-use projects, representing owners and brands in single property and complex multi-state portfolio transactions. Under Sandi's leadership as a previous Global Co-Chair of the Hospitality and Leisure practice, the group has been recognized by Law360 as "Hospitality Group of the Year" in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Sandi works on projects throughout the United States and abroad, including projects in the Caribbean and Middle East.

Sandi has been a member of DLA Piper's firmwide Policy Committee and she was a founding chair of DLA Piper's Global Real Estate Summit.

Bar admissionsIllinois


  • Mansueto Office and Lodging Capital in the acquisition and financing of The Waldorf Astoria Hotel Chicago
  • Blackstone Real Estate Group and its affiliates in the acquisition, financing and disposition of more than 100 portfolio and single-asset hotels in 30-plus states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as Jamaica and Brazil, including negotiation of hotel management agreements
  • Real estate investor and Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin in the US$825 million acquisition of MGM Resorts International’s Circus Circus hotel and casino property on the Las Vegas Strip
  • Oravel Stays Singapore Pte. Ltd. a/k/a OYO in its formation of a joint venture with Highgate, an industry-leading investor and manager of hospitality assets; subsequent acquisition of the Hooters Casino Hotel Las Vegas through that same joint venture vehicle; and negotiation of a management agreement with Highgate
  • The Wm. Wrigley Company, a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, in the strategic positioning and disposition of the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago, along with several other real estate assets
  • Several hotel developers in the development of major mixed use projects in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Oman and Dubai
  • RNLN Real Estate Advisors, LP in the sale of the Clevelander South Beach Hotel and Essex House, two iconic hotels in the historic Miami Beach Art Deco District and a related bar facility at Miami Marlins Park
  • Navy Pier Chicago in the comprehensive redevelopment of this historic site for its 100th anniversary, including a ground lease to construct and operate a new hotel on site
  • Blackstone in its acquisition and financing of three hotels and a parking garage in downtown Salt Lake City. The transaction involved franchise agreements with Courtyard by Marriott; Fairfield by Marriott; and Hyatt House; a joint venture; financing; a number of management agreements (including hotel, leasing and parking); liquor licenses; and lease agreements
  • A major hotel REIT in the acquisition, historic qualification, entitlements and vertical subdivision of a landmark hotel on Chicago's Michigan Avenue
  • A major national developer in structuring ownership and management issues relating to a 90+ story mixed use tower
  • A private equity group in hotel management agreement negotiations with Starwood Hotels for a two-hotel new construction development in Boston
  • The purchaser of a city block in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, with hotel, restaurant, office and retail components, including acquisition, financing and negotiation of hotel and restaurant management agreements
  • The developer of a major luxury mixed use project in downtown Chicago in analyzing and negotiating hotel management agreement proposals 
  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law
    Note and Comment Editor, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
    cum laude
  • B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    with high honors


  • Chambers USA
    • Band 2, Nationwide Leisure & Hospitality (2012-2022)
  • Recognized in the 27th edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2021)
  • Recognized by Leading Lawyers as a Leading Lawyer (2021-2022)

She has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer in Real Estate, as the result of research projects conducted jointly by Law & Politics and Chicago magazines. Sandi has also been selected as one of Real Estate Forum's Women of Influence, and the Leading Lawyer Network has named her among the Top 50 Women Real Estate-Related Lawyers in Illinois.

Sandi was recognized by Who’s Who Legal 2020 in the category of Hospitality. Sandi is noted as being "held in high esteem for her impressive hospitality practice, where she excels in related real estate development and portfolio management."


Insight Overview

Sandi writes and speaks frequently on real estate development topics. She is on the planning committee and regularly speaks at the ALIS Hotel Investment Conference, and was on the planning committee and a guest speaker at the 2001 and 2000 UCLA Hotel Industry Investment Conferences. For several years, she has been a guest speaker and panel moderator at the NYU Hotel Conference and the Lodging Conference in Phoenix. Sandi is a guest lecturer at the University of Texas Austin McCombs School of Business.



  • Panelist, "Management Agreement Fundamentals for the Franchise Lawyer, and Vice Versa," Georgetown Hotel and Lodging Summit, (2020)
  • Panelist, ''Hotel management agreements – what's important for each party,'' Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit, Miami, FL, (2016)
  • Panelist, “Mixed-Use Development – Best Practices and Success Stories,” Americas Lodging Investment Summit (2016)
  • Panelist, “When and How Do You Select the Right Development Team?,” Americas Lodging Investment Summit (2015)
  • Moderator, "The Transactions Outlook – Both An Improving Economy And Improving Hotel Performance, Plus More Active Capital Markets: Does This Mean The Transaction Volume Is Also ‘Going Up’? What Is The Outlook For 2014 And What Can We Expect?,” Americas Lodging Investment Summit (2014)
  • Panelist, "Loan to Own: Navigating Hotel NPL's – Moving from a Shunned Strategy to an Active One," NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference (2012)
  • Moderator, "The Transactions Outlook – What Is Trading, Where Are The Deals, How Are They Getting Done? Will 2012 Be A Buyers Or Sellers’ Market?," Americas Lodging Investment Summit (2012)

Media Mentions

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Member of the Law360 2021 Hospitality Editorial Board
  • Member, "The Hotel of Tomorrow Project," Think Tank
  • Sandi is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants