As a deal lawyer, the most exciting aspects of my work are closing deals and helping clients accomplish their business objectives.  My job is much more than simply drafting documents, conducting due diligence and apprising clients of risks.  My role is to craft solutions to the problems that inevitably arise in complex transactions, and to help lead all parties around the road blocks that threaten our clients’ investments of time and money.  

Mr. Wilkes concentrates his practice on commercial real estate and financing transactions. He has worked on a variety of sophisticated matters, including the acquisition, disposition, financing and leasing of commercial real estate and major redevelopment projects. He has experience negotiating and drafting real estate loan documentation, purchase and sale agreements and commercial and industrial leases. He has also provided local representation to major international lenders and multinational borrowers in cross-border loan transactions.

Mr. Wilkes began his legal career at a leading multinational law firm, where he practiced as an associate in the banking, capital markets and corporate groups and worked on several major commercial lending transactions and securities offerings for real estate investment trusts.  His professional experience also includes serving as Real Estate Development Manager at a community based non-profit organization in Newark, where he managed a multi-million dollar affordable housing development program with broad responsibility for arranging multi-layered financings, completing property acquisitions and dispositions and acting as the principal point of contact for all stakeholders at each stage of the development process.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected for inclusion by the New Jersey Law Journal on the 2014 list of "New Leaders of the Bar," the publication's annual listing of outstanding attorneys under the age of 40 and practicing in New Jersey

  • Member, Order of the Coif

A description of the standard or methodology on which the accolades are based can be found HERE. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Representative Matters

  • Representation of a major national bank as senior secured lender in connection with the structuring, negotiation, documentation and closing of a $75,000,000 revolving line of credit facility (including a $25,000,000 letter of credit sub-facility) to a multinational generic pharmaceuticals manufacturer and distributor and its affiliates, as borrowers.  The transaction also included the negotiation and documentation of an inter-creditor agreement between our client and a major international bank with respect to the international bank’s $50,000,000 secured line of credit, which closed simultaneously with the credit facility extended by our client.

  • Advised the sellers on the disposition of a major distribution facility in Jacksonville, Florida to an institutional investor for $90,500,000.  The sellers, which owned the landmark property since 1994, leased the property to a credit tenant under a complex, long-term triple net lease.  The team negotiated and drafted the purchase and sale agreement for the transaction, guided the sellers through the buyer’s due diligence and coordinated a successful closing that set a sales price record in the geographic location of the property.  

  • Advised the purchaser on the acquisition of the former headquarters of the Star Ledger in Newark, NJ and the conversion of the facility into a warehouse for the storage of fine art work.  Assisted by members of the firm’s land use and environmental departments, our team negotiated the purchase and sale agreement for the transaction, pursuant to which the seller obtained land use approvals for the change in use at the site.  We guided the purchaser through the due diligence, environmental compliance and land use approvals processes, and also assisted the purchaser in the refinancing of an existing property in Newark to fund the acquisition.  

  • Advised the seller on the sale of three industrial warehouse buildings in Newark, with an aggregate value of $48,000,000, as part of a $76,000,000 corporate transaction in which a public company acquired both the stock in our client’s operating business and fee title to our client’s real estate.  The team, assisted by our environmental group, negotiated the real estate provisions of the stock purchase agreement for the deal and separate purchase and sale agreements for each real estate asset. We guided the client through the title review, environmental review and bulk sale compliance processes, provided counsel regarding the assumption and satisfaction of certain mortgage debt, and worked successfully with the buyer’s attorney and our client’s corporate attorney and investment banker to conclude the multi-property real estate closing simultaneously with the stock purchase closing.  

  • Counseled a joint venture between developer Jonathan Rose Companies and JP Morgan Chase on title and construction loan closings for a mixed use redevelopment project in South Orange, NJ. The project will consist of a 215 unit LEED certified apartment building, retail space and a 500+ space parking facility, a portion of which will be available for public use. The firm advised on the transfer of property to our client pursuant to a Redevelopment Agreement previously negotiated by our team, and also negotiated a $38,500,000 million construction mortgage loan for the project. The deal represents a major milestone for the project and a significant step forward for South Orange’s downtown redevelopment.
  • Representation of a New Jersey-based bank on the negotiation and closing of mortgage loan facilities used to finance multi-family developments and commercial/industrial projects. Mr. Wilkes was a member of the firm’s team that advised this client on a $21,000,000+ acquisition and construction mortgage facility to finance a residential development in Gloucester County, and a $9,000,000 construction/permanent mortgage financing of a self-storage facility in Jersey City.
  • Representation of a New Jersey developer in condominium matters and real estate closings, including the negotiation and closing of a $6,000,000 construction loan for the second phase of a 96-unit condominium development project in Linden. Mr. Wilkes is also handling all contract negotiations and unit closings at the condominium.
  • Representation of a national bank in New Jersey real estate financing matters, including the negotiation, documentation and closing of a $16,950,000 mortgage financing. This loan deal, which financed a New Jersey manufacturer's acquisition of its primary facility from a real estate investment trust, involved extensive negotiations with borrower's counsel over a six-month period.  Mr. Wilkes was a member of a team that successfully advised on a range of issues in connection with this transaction, including the bank's environmental review, material changes to the bank's standard loan documentation and procuring consents from the manufacturer's factoring lender.

Uniquely NJ

  • Member, NAIOP New Jersey Chapter
  • Member, Mortgage Bankers Association of New Jersey, Commercial Property Division
  • Member, Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
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More Activities & Experience

  • Member, American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law
  • Board Member, Family Promise of Passaic County

Publications & Alerts

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Education

Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2010

The Catholic University of America, B.A., magna cum laude, 2007

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 2011
  • New York, 2011