Chris smith

Chris M. Smith

Co-Head, New York Real Estate practice

Chris Smith is an internationally recognized real estate attorney experienced in every major type of real estate product and transaction. Mr. Smith has handled developments, financings, investment funds, acquisitions, dispositions and corporate style mergers and spin offs involving residential developments, office buildings, shopping centers, hotels and distribution centers, both nationally and internationally. A significant portion of his practice also includes the representation of clients in leasing, renovation and condominium development of commercial office space and mixed-use products, as well as real estate foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Clients consistently affirm that he is the best of the best. These clients range from individuals to international corporate developers, private equity providers, corporate entities, family offices and financial institutions. Illustrative of his clients are AIG, Shorenstein Properties, SL Green, Fosterlane Realty and The Soloviev Group.

Chris has served as an adjunct professor at St. John's University School of Law and presented as an industry expert at seminars and conferences on various real estate topics, including joint ventures, ground leasing, public/private partnerships, acquisitions and direct investment in real estate.

Bar admissionsNew York
CourtsUnited States District Court for the Southern District of New York


  • LargaVista Company in connection with a joint venture with Related Properties for the development of 300 Lafayette Street, including a ground lease representing owner to said entity, clean-up of environmental conditions on the former gas station site, removal of space tenants, formation of the joint venture, financing of construction, lease of the office portion to Microsoft and sale of property.
  • Solow Realty and Development in connection with the development of the condominium project at 685 First Avenue, including the acquisition of the site from Con Edison in joint venture with Fisher Brothers, the demolition of the building on the site, environmental remediation, the buyout of Fisher Brothers and the construction of the project and sale of the non-tower portion of One United Nations Park condominium in NYC, comprising 396 residential units and retail and garage spaces.
  • Pacolet Milliken Enterprises as the fee and minority owner of 7 Bryant Park in connection with the development of a 470,000 square foot office tower, including the negotiation of a ground lease to the joint venture, the joint venture documentation, the obtaining of easements for said development, the construction and financing of the building and the sale of the leasehold interest in said project to the Bank of China.
  • Soloviev Realty Group in connection with the US$825 million disposition of a 3-property NYC multifamily portfolio on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and in subsequent phases of a 3-phase sale of a US$1.6 billion five (5) building NYC multifamily portfolio.
  • Affiliates of the Kuwait Investment Authority in the acquisition, financing, restructuring and sale of The Atlanta Hilton.
  • A European sovereign wealth fund in connection with its acquisitions through private REITS of a portfolio of logistics facilities located throughout the United States; an 11-building portfolio located in the Hudson Square neighborhood of New York City; and 601 Lexington Avenue in New York City and the Atlantic Wharf Office Building and 100 Federal Street in Boston.
  • SL Green Realty Corp., New York's longest commercial property owner, in a joint venture with affiliates of Jeff Sutton with respect to an expansion of a leasehold at 650 Fifth Avenue in New York City and a simultaneous lease transaction with Nike, Inc. for the building's entire retail component consisting of the ground and five additional floors − an area of 70,000 square feet.
  • Shorenstein Properties in the purchase, financing and disposition of the 2MC North Office and the 3MC Office, retail and parking elements within Miami Central Station, a nine-acre mixed-use railroad station development complex in downtown Miami and in connection with a joint venture with L&L for the development of a mixed use project in the Wynwood area of Miami.
  • AIG Global Real Estate in the acquisition by a joint venture of Morgan Properties and AIGGRE of a portfolio of 86 multi-family properties from the Kushner Companies for US$2 billion.
  • Parkview International in the acquisition, franchising and financing of Hilton Hotels in Bellevue and Seattle, Washington.
  • SL Green Realty Corp. in leases with an affiliate of Citigroup Inc. extending Citi's triple-net leases of its world headquarters covering 2.6 million square feet at 388-390 Greenwich Street through December 31, 2035. The transaction is believed to be the largest lease transaction of its type in New York City history.
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation in the public/private US$355 million redevelopment of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park along the East River shoreline in Brooklyn, New York, including residential, retail, hotel and mixed-use properties.
  • Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media, L.P. in the leasing of 400,000 square feet of office space at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York City for its headquarters, Warner Music Group in the leasing of its headquarters at 1633 Broadway and SportsNet in its headquarters lease at 4 World Trade Center.
  • Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (“ICE”), the owner of the NY Stock Exchange, in its lease of approximately 143,000 RSF over four consecutive floors at 1345 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York, a building which has and is undergoing US$120 million modernization, as well as an agreement to dovetail the early termination of ICE’s existing lease with an affiliated landlord, Fisher Brothers, at Park Avenue Plaza in NYC, with the commencement of the term under the lease.
  • David Werner Real Estate Investments in the purchase from Pfizer of a 1.9 million SF life sciences and office campus in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, located 22 miles northwest of Philadelphia which includes 14 interconnected office, life science and mixed-use office buildings across 340 acres, the leaseback to Pfizer of a portion of the campus and the extension of an 800,00 SF long-term lease with Dow Chemical Corp.
  • The Olayan Group in its US$1.4 billion acquisition and US$570 million financing of the property at 550 Madison Avenue, New York City.
  • The US Department of Transportation as lender in the US$526 million financing of the construction of the Moynihan Train Hall Redevelopment Project in New York City which helped transform the James A. Farley Post Office Building into a modern state-of-the-art train station.
  • Solow Realty and Development as owner/borrower in the leasing of and its US$1.2 billion financing of 9 West 57th Street, New York City and US$550 million financing of four residential towers in New York City.
  • Ogden Cap Properties in connection with the refinancing of the US$50 million term loan made by The Bank of New York Mellon secured by the client's fee estate in the 442 residential apartment unit complex known as Windsor Court located at 135-155 East 31st Street, New York, New York.
  • Fosterlane Management Corporation as landlord in connection with the leasing of 750 7th Avenue, New York, New York.
  • SL Green Realty Corp. in connection with the restructuring of a luxury retailer's flagship at 650 Madison Avenue store and the redevelopment, condominiumization and sale of residential condominium units.
  • SL Green Realty Corp. as tenant in a 99-year ground lease of 126-132 Nassau Street for the development of a new, as-of-right, 215,000-square foot building and conveyance to Pace University of a leasehold condominium similar to the SLG transactions at 220 East 42nd Street.
  • Wharton Properties in the sale of an 11-story, mixed-use building located at 530 Broadway for US$382 million.
  • Shorenstein Properties as borrower in connection with a US$4.35 billion securitized loan from Barclays relating to Borrower's leasehold interest in a 43-story, 1.1 million square foot building located at 1407 Broadway, New York City.
  • SJM Partners in connection with the formation of a joint venture with CubeSmart for the development of a self-storage facility at 92nd Street in Manhattan, including the negotiation of a ground lease for said property, the financing of the development and the financing and construction of the same.
  • AIG Global Real Estate with respect to a joint venture with O'Donnell S. De R.L., a Mexican-based developer, for the development of an automotive manufacturing industrial park composed of 5 separate build to suit buildings totaling 2.6 million square feet, for Audi's first North American production plant.
  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law
  • B.S., Rutgers University

Awards and recognitions

Chambers USA

  •  Band 1, New York Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (2019-2024) 
Additional Awards and recognitions
  • The Best Lawyers in America® (2006-2023)
  • Best of the Best USA (2016-2023)
  • Recipient of Lawyers Alliance for New York/Cornerstone Award in recognition of his pro bono services (2017)
  • Named as a leading practitioner in The International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers, Who's Who Legal 100, Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers, New York Super Lawyers
  • Top 100 and Expert Guides


  • Ten Unexpected Issues When a Property Sale becomes an Entity Sale – Bloomberg BNA Tax Management NE Journal, May 4, 2016

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Mattone Family Institute for Real Estate Law − Advisory Board Member
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York and New York State Bar Association
  • Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate
  • Real Estate Board of New York
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers