Land is precious in the most densely populated state in the Union. For more than 65 years, "Greenbaum" has been synonymous with real estate in New Jersey.
Our practice extends from negotiation, to acquisition and financing, through permitting and approvals, to registration, sales and leasing. Our work includes all types of real estate development: residential, industrial and retail, office and mixed use commercial projects. Although our firm has been providing this breadth of real estate services for more than 65 years, our practice has continually evolved and expanded to include newer specialties such as environmental permitting and litigation, redevelopment law, eminent domain, affordable housing, regional planning legislation and planned real estate.
Our involvement in the real estate industry includes representation of the New Jersey Association of REALTORS®, participation as a Master Sponsor of the New Jersey Builders Association and NAIOP New Jersey Chapter and counsel to the New Jersey Chapter of the Community Associations Institute. Our attorneys counsel developers, homeowners associations, lenders, borrowers, landlords, tenants, contractors, land owners and municipal agencies.
Commercial Real Estate Transactions
As respected players in commercial real estate we have handled some of the largest transactions in New Jersey. Our experience covers all types of development, construction, sale and leasing of industrial facilities, shopping centers, office and commercial buildings, multi-family projects, residential subdivisions, planned residential communities, golf courses and affordable housing. In addition, we have significant practices in the areas listed below.
Land Use Planning and Zoning
We provide a full menu of services in the areas of land use, zoning and related environmental and regulatory matters encompassing state and federal compliance, planning and regulatory enforcement. Our lawyers represent developers and property owners in connection with all types of residential, commercial and industrial development projects. We appear regularly before local zoning and planning boards throughout the state, before administrative agencies, and in related litigation in the state and federal courts in New Jersey. We are experienced in counseling clients in Mount Laurel compliance. The Department has been involved in many of the leading court decisions and has played a significant role in the development of real estate land use law in New Jersey.
Condominiums, Planned Developments, and Community Associations
Our attorneys have vast experience in the regulatory compliance, sale and operation of condominiums, and other residential and commercial developments. Our practice includes newly constructed projects, the conversion of rental properties to condominium ownership, mixed-use developments, and cooperatives. We represent developers in registrations with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the related structuring and offering of interests to the public, as well the associations formed to administer and manage these developments. Three partners in this practice group are authors of the treatise, New Jersey Condominium & Community Association Law, which has been a resource for attorneys and other real estate professionals throughout the state since 1985. Three of our partners are members of the College of Community Association Lawyers.
The members of our Real Estate Department provide our clients with a wide and varied range of practical leasing experience. We represent landlords and tenants of office, retail, industrial and residential space and have drafted and negotiated all forms of leases from the "net lease" to the "gross lease." In representing our clients, we make certain that they are aware of and appreciate the specific economics and allocation of risk of lease agreements and collateral documents.
Our Environmental Practice Group assists clients in resolving issues arising under solid and hazardous waste laws, the Federal Clean Water Act, the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the New Jersey Spill Act and other state superfund laws. We represent clients in state and federal courts, as well as before state, federal and local agencies in connection with enforcement actions, investigations and clean-up cases, and in related insurance coverage disputes.
We are at the forefront of redevelopment in New Jersey. Our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience providing services to developers, landowners, and municipal governments. We have appeared before local and county governments as well as the key state agencies that decide redevelopment issues. This breadth of experience is critical to address complex real estate transactions, land use issues, construction and environmental issues. Our attorneys understand both sides of the redevelopment partnership, and know how to get a project approved and built.
Real Estate Financing
We have represented many lending institutions in construction loans and permanent financing secured by mortgages for all types of real estate. Our group also represents borrowers, both owners and investors, in obtaining such financing.
Real Estate Litigation
Litigation is a fact of life in commercial real estate. More than half of the firm's 100+ lawyers are litigators, and we have litigated some of the most prominent and precedent setting cases in the state. We have argued more than 30 cases involving real estate law before the New Jersey Supreme Court, the most recent on behalf of a large homeowner association involving First Amendment claims of some residents. We won for brokers the right to prepare contracts of sale without a lawyer. We were instrumental in the case responsible for what buyers and sellers recognize as the "three day attorney review." We represent many major developers and large commercial mortgage firms in litigation. Our lawyers have also filed briefs and argued as "friends of the court", as we did most recently in a redevelopment case that further defined the nature of land that may be subject to redevelopment. Our well known construction litigation group has prosecuted and defended significant construction defect and related claims.
Real Estate Tax Appeals
We have counseled the owners of many types of commercial properties in evaluating whether their property is properly assessed. Our lawyers have prosecuted tax appeals in the Tax Court of New Jersey and have successfully contested the assessments of apartment buildings, hotels, shopping centers, office buildings and industrial properties.
When governments seek to acquire property by eminent domain, property owners need experienced representation to protect their rights. Whether through negotiation with public entities to obtain the highest value for their property, or litigation to challenge the government's right to take, members of the Real Estate Department work throughout the condemnation process to protect our clients' rights. Our attorneys regularly work with a team of expert professionals to assess the impact of the taking, evaluate the offer made for the condemnation, and achieve the most favorable result.
Sterling Credentials Count
Six partners have been elected to the prestigious national peer group, the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. As a result of our standing within the profession, our lawyers are often called upon by other law firms to act as expert witnesses regarding real estate issues in litigation and other dispute resolution forums.
- Closed a $5 million dollar loan refinancing mortgages for a non-profit school.
- Represented multiple condominium unit owners in the same condominium challenging their real estate tax assessments.
- Represented a property owner in a condemnation case which settled for approximately $5 million more than the township offered for the property.
- Represented a bank in connection with a $2.5 million construction loan for a warehouse.
- Successfully negotiated the reduction of penalties and the entry of an Administrative Consent Order on behalf of a retail gas station alleged to have violated various environmental laws and regulations.
- Advised clients with regard to application of and compliance with Notification and Public Outreach Rules.
- Successfully negotiated the settlement and closure of an Escrow Agreement where residential Seller previously agreed to undertake responsibility for compliance with Freshwater Wetlands Regulations by providing on-site mitigation for a restricted Transition Area upon which an inground swimming pool encroached.
- Successfully negotiated payment of counsel fees and execution of an Access Agreement with a party responsible for remediation of environmental contamination on the client's property.
- $35M loan by a bank to a developer client's affiliate secured by a first mortgage on a property in Edison, NJ.
- $35M revolving loan by a bank to a developer client's affiliate secured by a first mortgage on a property in Edison, NJ.
- $11,889,735 extension and modification of a loan by an insurance company to client’s affiliates secured by a first mortgage on a property in Secaucus, NJ.
- $1M loan by a bank client to a realty company secured by a first mortgage on a property in Long Island City, NY.
- $90,286,551 extension and modification of a loan by a lender to a developer client's affiliates secured by first mortgages on six properties in Bridgewater, Parsippany, Princeton and Roseland, NJ.
- Extension and amendment of a ground lease by clients to a bank of a branch banking office in Staten Island, NY.
- Extension and amendment of a lease by a developer client's affiliate to a beverage company of a 453K square foot warehouse and distribution center in Woodbridge, NJ.
- Represented an owner/developer as local counsel in its $22 billion merger/acquisition of an operating trust. The transaction represented the largest public to private merger and acquisition transaction in the multifamily REIT sector. We also provided an opinion on the enforceability of the instrument creating a security interest in the property (valued at $215 million) for the lender, Fannie Mae, in a $1.265 billion credit facility.
- Represented a shopping center owner and manager in the negotiation and closing of a like-kind exchange involving eight (8) shopping centers in three states. In addition to the title transfer, the transaction involved modification of six (6) existing mortgage loans. Members of the Real Estate Department, the Litigation Department and the Environmental Practice Group assisted on leasing, litigation and environmental issues.
- Committee for a Better Twin Rivers v. Twin Rivers Homeowners’ Association, Supreme Court of New Jersey, A-118-122-05. The firm represented the Twin Rivers Homeowners’ Association, from trial through appellate levels to the New Jersey Supreme Court, in a matter where the central issue concerned the applicability of the constraints of the New Jersey Constitution to the rules and regulations of homeowners’ associations. On July 26, 2007 the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held that the internal membership rules and regulations of private homeowners’ associations must be reasonable, and are generally not subject to scrutiny under the state Constitution.
- Represented a commercial bank in the closing of a second mortgage loan in the amount of $2,685,000, to the owner and operator of a trucking terminal.
- Negotiated a lease consisting of 124,123 square feet of warehouse property for a tenant in Florida.
- Represented a commercial bank in the closing of a leasehold mortgage loan in the amount of $10 million, to the tenant of a medical office building in Staten Island, New York.
- Represented a property owner in the sale of a warehouse in the amount of $23 million in Carteret, New Jersey.
- Represented a public company providing travel related services in the negotiation of a lease for its new corporate headquarters in New Jersey. The building, which is being built to suit, will have approximately 240,000 rentable square feet.
- Successfully obtained insurance coverage proceeds for a homeowner for contamination caused by a leaking Underground Storage Tank.
Real Estate Tax Appeals – Recent Settlements
- Settled a real estate tax appeal on a shopping center which resulted in a reduction of 29% in assessments.
- Assessment of shopping center reduced from $10,220,600.00 to $7,250,000.00.
- Assessment of shopping center reduced from $750,000.00 to $600,000.00.
- Assessment of 160-unit apartment complex reduced from $4,672,600 to $4,050,000.
- Assessment of beachfront home reduced from $3,604,300 to $3,100,000.
- Assessment of 80,000 square foot multi-tenanted office building reduced from $8,000,000 to $4,250,000.
- Assessment of 117 room hotel reduced form $4,319,400 to $2,844,200.
- Exemption granted for nonprofit company.
Real Estate Tax Appeals – Recent Trials
- Reduction in assessment for 51 condominium units in the aggregate amount of $529,000.00
- Assessment of vacant residential land from $9,825,000.00 to 4,950,000.00.
- A 200,000 square foot multi-tenanted office building was revalued for $30 million. The Tax Court reduced the assessment to $19 million. The City’s appeal from the Tax Court judgment was denied, but the firm’s cross-appeal seeking a further reduction was granted. Settlement discussions after the appellate ruling resulted in an assessment of $16 million in the fourth year after the initial revaluation.
- Rollback taxes were imposed on 100 acres of vacant land previously assessed as farmland that were sold to a residential builder. The tax bill was in excess of $500,000. The owner argued, and the Tax Court agreed, that the status of governmental approvals was critical to the value determination. The comparable sales used by the appraisers had closed with all governmental approvals having been obtained. The subject property did not have all approvals on the relevant assessing dates. In fact, only general development approval was granted as of the assessing dates for the first two of the three rollback years. The Tax Court sanctioned a substantial adjustment in the sale prices of the comparable sales made by the owner’s appraiser and reduced the taxes by $150,000.