Real Estate Lending
We represent lenders in real estate transactions, from the simple to complex, secured by fee, tenant in common and leasehold interests around the United States and abroad. ZEK has extensive experience in all aspects of construction and mortgage finance, as well as in the more specialized areas of syndicated facilities, economic development bonds and credit enhanced tax exempt bonds. We have been retained in numerous financings for multi-family housing, office and mixed-use development projects, the hotel industry, film studios, gas stations, automobile dealerships, restaurants and taverns, race tracks, golf courses, recording studios, warehouses designed to hold fine art, manufacturing facilities, shopping centers and single-use facilities. ZEK has been called upon to document mortgage transactions involving multi and single state multi-county properties. We are familiar with the single purpose entity requirements for loans to be securitized in connection with the issuance of collateralized mortgaged-backed securities and have documented commercial mortgage loans intended for securitization. Our sophisticated counsel is sought out by domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks to provide a thorough consideration of all options and strategies required to evaluate, underwrite, structure and close real estate loans.
For example, ZEK represented the New York branch of an international bank as the lead/agent in a syndicated acquisition and construction loan in connection with a large residential tower to be built on a fee and leasehold in northern New Jersey. In addition to the building loan and project loan documentation, ZEK prepared a complicated co-lender agreement incorporating the several tranches of each of the loans. This loan required negotiation with local and state authorities because of the availability of certain real estate tax advantages the borrower sought and obtained. We also represented the hospitality lending group of a commercial bank in extending a loan to acquire and upgrade a hotel to meet the requirements of its franchisor. This loan was complicated by the terms of the management agreement, which did not allow for the change in management on the sale of the hotel, the negotiation of a difficult tri-party agreement with the franchisor, issues involving the trade name of the enterprise and the transfer of the liquor license.
We represented a lender refinancing a divinity school that owned substantial real estate in Manhattan. As the school encountered more financial difficulties resulting from a decreasing endowment, it was obliged to sell portions of its holdings to a prominent real estate developer who coincidentally was a customer of the same lender. We represented the lender on the original financing and the restructure. As the properties were sold over time to the developer, we documented the loans to the new borrower to build three 100 unit condominiums, a series of maisonettes and a hotel.
As part of the bankruptcy of a major shopping center operator, the ZEK real estate group restructured the extension of two of the largest and well known malls in the United States. We represent several of the major CMBS mortgage servicers as well as the real estate workout areas of major banks. In that capacity we provided advice on issues such as the appropriateness of a major lease, the best way to resolve a real estate tax snafu caused by New Yoqrk City’s inability to allocate taxes between the fee owner, net lessee and the commercial condominium owners who were all to receive separate tax bills and how to handle condemnations of portions of the buildings subject to mortgages.
Because our attorneys are so broadly experienced in this field we have among us the expertise on related issues involved in real estate lending to avoid the inefficiencies of large firms that employ many inexperienced attorneys. We recruit and train lawyers to be banking real estate lawyers proficient in tax, environmental, corporate, uniform commercial code, swaps and derivatives, bankruptcy, leasing law as well as all matters of title, rather than tap partners and associates in corporate, finance, real estate, environmental, bankruptcy and tax departments as does a large firm. The result is ZEK’s offering (and related fee savings) of expertise concentrated in a few rather than the many at big firms
Our results are demonstrated by our loyal client base that seeks out our advice even on transactions handled by other counsel. Many of our clients face significant competitive obstacles in obtaining desirable real estate lending opportunities; our firm’s efficient and responsive approach often sways a prospective customer to our client. Our biggest compliment is that clients perplexed by deal complications, seek the counsel of our real estate finance group for level headed experienced advice and most of all good judgment.