Warshaw Burstein LLP | Real Estate
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Practice Areas

Real Estate

Our real estate group has a long and successful history of representing real estate owners, investors and tenants in a wide variety of transactions and activities throughout the United States. We represent regional and foreign banks and non-bank lenders and help them craft creative financing of many types of residential and commercial real estate projects. We also represent corporate and individual clients who undertake real estate transactions to further their business or personal goals.

For each real estate transaction we undertake, our attorneys assess the client’s long-term and short-term objectives, weigh with the client the optimum organizational and tax structure to accomplish those objectives and move efficiently through negotiation towards documentation and consummation of the transaction. We pride ourselves in seeing opportunities for developing specialized solutions in structuring transactions of which our clients may have been unaware. The ownership structures that we conceive and develop are always carefully planned and often highly sophisticated and complex.

Our real estate attorneys have impressive expertise in a broad range of areas, including:
  • Acquisitions and sales/leasing and subleasing
  • Development
  • Financing
  • Land use and zoning
  • Landlord-tenant
  • Litigation
  • Workouts
  • Taxes

We are equally proficient at representing the seller or the buyer in a real property transaction, the landlord or the tenant in a lease negotiation, and the lender or the borrower in a loan transaction. We draw on the skills of our tax, trusts and estates and litigation attorneys where desirable, with a focus on achieving the optimum result for our clients on each transaction.

Acquisitions and Sales; Leasing and Subleasing

We handle all aspects of the acquisition and disposition of all types of real estate, including office buildings, hotels/resorts, shopping centers, health care facilities, mixed use projects, residential developments, manufacturing facilities and corporate headquarters. Our clients include real estate development companies, REITs, funds, hotel/resort operators, banks, home builders and end users of all kinds.

Our experienced landlord/tenant attorneys have represented a wide array of clients with valuable real estate interests in virtually every administrative, city, state and federal forum located in New York, including the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), the New York City Loft Board and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Whether representing owners, management, developers, investors, brokers, cooperatives, condominiums, or tenants, we pride ourselves on formulating aggressive, thoughtful and cost-efficient strategies to represent our clients zealously.


Our attorneys have extensive experience representing owners, investors, sponsors and purchasers on development projects, including a wide variety of condominium and cooperative matters, such as:
  • Conversions of occupied, vacant and rehabilitated buildings
  • New construction and renovation of apartment buildings and loft buildings
  • Conversions in landmark and historic districts
  • “Condops”
  • Commercial condominiums
  • Building sponsor and board disputes

Our group is also involved in all types of commercial development projects, including domestic independent living and assisted living facilities, office buildings, shopping centers and international hotel development joint ventures. We regularly advise clients on complex real estate financing issues related to development and we work closely with our tax attorneys to provide sound and creative financing alternatives that provide beneficial tax treatment.

Land Use and Zoning

Our land use and zoning attorneys have extensive experience representing property owners, developers, architects, engineers and consultants in all facets of New York City development projects. Our attorneys frequently appear before a variety of regulatory agencies having jurisdiction over New York City land development, including the Department of Buildings, Board of Standards and Appeals, the City Planning Commission and the Department of City Planning. We represent clients in a wide variety of land use and zoning matters, such as:
  • Undertaking zoning due diligence, including analyzing development potential of property and making certain that development projects comply with New York City zoning resolutions
  • Filing special permit, variance and appeals applications with the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals
  • Filing discretionary approval and zoning map amendment (“rezoning”) applications with the NYC Department of City Planning and the City Planning Commission
  • Representing both purchasers and sellers in connection with zoning lot mergers and the transfer of development rights (“air rights”), including preparing and negotiating key documentation, including zoning lot development agreements (“ZLDAs”)
  • Appealing Department of Buildings interpretations and determinations
  • Drafting various land use easement agreements and restrictive declarations necessary for obtaining Department of Buildings approvals

Real Estate Litigation

Our experienced real estate litigation attorneys have represented a wide array of clients before nearly every New York administrative, city, state and federal forum, including the DHCR, the New York City Loft Board and the HPD. Whether representing ownership, management, developers, investors, brokers, cooperatives, condominiums, apartment owners, landlords or tenants, our attorneys pride themselves on formulating aggressive, thoughtful and cost-efficient litigation strategies. We have successfully represented clients in the following types of matters:
  • Real estate ownership disputes
  • Cooperative and condominium disputes
  • Commercial and residential landlord-tenant disputes
  • Commercial and residential mortgage foreclosure actions
  • Tax lien foreclosure actions
  • Commercial real estate arbitrations
  • Real estate administrative proceedings
  • Bankruptcy and creditors’ rights disputes
  • Property damage claims
  • Zoning, “air rights” and land use disputes
  • Appeals

We always are mindful of the value and certainty that comes with settling disputes upon terms favorable to our clients. Wherever possible, we plan strategically with clients during early phases of matters to avoid future litigation. Whether prior to commencement of litigation or at various critical stages of litigation, we thoroughly explore all options with our clients to achieve the most favorable and cost-effective results possible. When litigation becomes necessary, we represent our clients skillfully and zealously so as to best protect their interests.


We handle all aspects of real estate loan workouts, restructurings and foreclosures. Our knowledge of capital markets and real estate finance enables us to help our lender, borrower, owner, developer and investor clients to maximize their interests in the underlying properties. Because of our close relationships with our clients, we often are involved at the very outset of a transaction and provide guidance along the way to minimize our clients’ exposure to risk. We work with our bankruptcy litigators to make certain our clients’ issues relating to distressed real estate are represented effectively both in and out of bankruptcy and court.


Our tax attorneys regularly advise a diverse client base that includes syndicators, developers, lenders and equity investors with respect to a broad range of real estate transactions. These transactions frequently involve foreign and domestic institutions and funds as well as large corporations, emerging companies and closely held real estate companies. We advise on forming and structuring real estate funds, acquisitions and dispositions (both taxable and tax-free) and restructuring distressed real estate investments. Frequently we are called upon to create innovative structures and solve complicated problems.

We structure transactions for our clients that enable them to receive beneficial tax treatment and tax credits. Our expertise includes:
  • Advising clients in the use of tax credits, including historic tax credits (federal and state) and low income housing credits (federal and state), which provide capital for developers seeking to invest in older buildings where cities desire to maintain the charm and character of older structures and neighborhoods
  • Advising clients in the use of new market tax credits and low-income housing credits, which seek to spur investment in distressed communities and affordable housing.
  • Structuring 1031 tax deferred exchange transactions, including “like-kind exchange” and “improvement-exchange” transactions
  • Assisting foreign national investors in the United States with respect to the EB-5 Visa Program administered by the United States Immigration Service

Given the ever changing landscape of tax laws, we work especially closely with our tax lawyers to make certain our advice is current and complies fully with New York state and federal tax laws.