In addition to problems caused by the economy and the real estate and financial markets, ownership and development of real estate today has its own unique problems that may restrain transactions and reduce value.
Schiff Hardin's attorneys provide the kind of smart, innovative and multi-disciplined legal counsel required to solve these problems encountered by our clients.
Our lawyers have represented banks and other lenders in mortgage foreclosure proceedings or exercising a power of sale in connection with term and construction loans. In some cases the loans have involved multiple facilities owned by affiliated borrowers, cross-collateralization of all loans, and adding portfolio-wide covenants.
We have also represented investors in purchasing distressed mortgage debt in transactions that included the negotiation of loan restructure with the debtor, either before or after acquisition of the debt, and financing the purchase of the debt through loans secured by collateral assignment of the mortgage debt.
Restructuring and Workouts
We have represented various lenders and owners in workouts of loan transactions involving condominium and cooperative properties, office properties, industrial properties, retail properties from malls to single stores, and hotel properties, including preparation and negotiation of default letters, forbearance agreements, workout agreements and standstill agreements. These transactions have included cash flow notes, current pay and accrual notes, equity kicker/appreciation interest notes and combinations of such matters. In addition, we have prepared and negotiated deed-in-lieu of foreclosure agreements and, where circumstances dictate, "friendly" foreclosure agreements.
When bankruptcy cannot be avoided, our attorneys are ready to handle many different contingencies. We have represented a variety of clients in these proceedings, from commercial lenders to ad hoc lien holder committees. When necessary, we have investigated and prosecuted fraudulent transfer claims, and defended lenders against lender liability claims as well.
Construction and Environmental Issues
Troubled real estate development projects often have a myriad of construction law and environmental issues. We have construction and environmental practices recognized by the leading peer review services as outstanding. Our attorneys have resolved problems that troubled projects have with state and federal regulators, zoning and redevelopment issues, as well as defective design and construction claims, and insurance claims arising out of failed projects. Our attorneys have helped clients gain compliance with newly applicable "green" requirements and compliance with ever changing water and air quality standards.
Other Typical Problems We Solve Include:
- Negotiating or renegotiating financing with traditional and non-traditional lenders and equity investors
- Renegotiating construction contracts, development agreements and ground leases
- Remediating and allocating the expenses associated with design and construction defects
- Avoiding the delays and other pitfalls of bankruptcy proceedings
- Removing and settling mechanics' liens
- Remediating environmental problems and allocating expenses among responsible parties
- Evaluating various methods of procuring project design and construction, especially for completion of previously abandoned projects
- Re-establishing construction schedules
- Prosecuting and defending insurance claims
- Assisting condominium associations with delinquent assessments and unit owner mortgages
- Resolving disputes within real estate ownership organizations
- Assisting in effective navigation of the tax and regulatory maze
- Assessing the environmental condition of collateral and developing strategies for minimizing potential environmental liabilities
- Advising in connection with evolving building codes and policies such as "green building," energy efficiency, or sustainable design/construction programs and protocols