Real Estate | Fennemore Craig
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  • Commercial Developers of Retail, Office, Industrial and Commercial Projects

    We offer a comprehensive commercial, retail, manufacturing and industrial real estate practice. We represent sellers, buyers, users, developers and redevelopers of numerous major commercial projects in the Southwest and across the country. We have a great deal of experience with state and local government economic incentives and tax issues, assemblage and acquisition, entity formation and tax ramifications, construction, and permanent financing and leasing.

  • Commercial Property Leasing For Tenants and Owners

    We have an accomplished practice in the leasing of commercial property for both owners and tenants. We represent owners of high-rise office buildings and multi-tenant industrial complexes, as well as numerous shopping center owners nationwide. In connection with shopping centers, we represent national, regional and local tenants, including "big box" stores and all types of retail, theaters and hotels.

    We develop and implement leasing procedures for office, industrial and retail properties, including the development of lease forms tailored to particular strategies. Through developing standardized documents that encompass both the requirements of lenders and the practicalities of property management as well as facilitate negotiation and consummation of leases, we assist our clients in achieving competitive advantage while lowering transaction costs. In other cases, particularly for major national real estate advisors, asset managers, developers, and institutional investors, we work within pre-established lease forms and procedures.

    Additionally, we also have substantial experience with ground leasing of projects from municipalities to achieve the benefits of tax abatements, such as the Arizona Government Property Lease Excise Tax in lieu of real property taxes. Leading projects of this type include major office, retail and hotel projects.

  • Convenience Stores and Motor Fuels Facilities

    We have a long history of representing the owners and operators of convenience stores and motor fuels facilities. We have worked closely in many regions of the country with some of the largest names in the industry. Our work has included everything from standalone projects to those covering hundreds of sites, in all facets of the convenience store and motor fuels business, including:


    • Site acquisitions, including due diligence investigations and real estate financing;
    • Zoning and land entitlements, including government relations;
    • Regulatory issues, including antitrust concerns;
    • Operating issues;
    • Motor Fuels and other branding issues;
    • Cooperative arrangements, including licensing, co-branding agreements and co-management arrangements;
    • Franchisee issues, including issues arising under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act;
    • Leasing and subleasing;
    • Assignments and assumptions;
    • Enforcement of lease rights;
    • Environmental concerns related to the ownership and operation of motor fuel storage tanks;
    • Fuels issues, including Alt Fuels and renewable resources;
    • Site divestments; and
    • Post-sale contractual and environmental issues.


    The motor fuels/convenience store practice is a core part of our real estate and environmental work, with a number of our directors, associates and of counsel attorneys devoting the majority of their time to this work. We work closely with our land use, business and finance, real estate litigation and environmental and natural resource practice groups to provide full service to our clients.

  • Golf Course Development

    We have represented clients in the acquisition and development of property for many high visibility golf course projects throughout the Southwest, and internationally. We have assisted with the development of public and private golf courses and clubs, including membership documents, plans and related issues. Our experience in water rights and environmental issues has proven beneficial to clients at virtually every stage of golf course development.

  • Joint Ventures and Syndications

    We have extensive experience in forming and representing real estate joint ventures and syndications (generally limited liability companies or limited partnerships) for a variety of project types, including industrial parks, office buildings, shopping centers, master-planned communities, residential developments and recreational communities and golf course communities. Representative transactions range from $1 million to more than $600 million of equity, and include several projects that individually will produce revenues well in excess of $1 billion. We have represented landowners, developers and financial partners (including tax-exempt entities) in these joint ventures on a broad range of real estate and tax issues.

    Included in our syndication experience is forming "opportunity funds" that pool money for properties identified at a later date and that reinvest the proceeds into additional projects. Our experience with such syndications exceeds $100 million.

  • Land Use, Planning and Zoning

    Condemnation, Inverse Condemnation and Eminent Domain  

    Our attorneys are experienced in handling  condemnation and eminent domain matters including: addressing condemnations and partial takings by state, county, city and public agencies, as well as private entities; dealing with both entire property and partial takings giving rise to severance damages, cost of cure measurements and other consequential damages;  addressing the apportionment of damages between the property owner and those with leasehold  partial fee or lesser interests with and without clauses in entitlement documents addressing the apportionment of such damages.  Additionally, our attorneys have broad experience in challenging appraised values and the use of appraisers and other specialized experts to address the compensation issues associated with all such takings. Our attorneys have tried cases to verdict and obtained rulings prohibiting takings and demands for immediate possession. Our senior attorneys have spoken regularly at  continuing education seminars for condemnation lawyers, appraisers, right-of-way experts and others involved in condemnation matters.   


    Land Use, Zoning and Regulatory Entitlements  

    Our attorneys handling land use and zoning matters serve commercial, industrial and residential developers; renewable energy project developers, municipalities and other government entities, as well as; brokers, lenders and borrowers. They work with government entities at all levels, as well as, Indian communities on a broad variety of land use  and zoning matters. .


    Our attorneys advise clients with respect to state land entitlements; amendments to city and town general plans and county comprehensive plans; approval and adoption of plan amendments (both text and map); adoption and modification of area plans and,, comprehensive master plans (PADs, PUD’s, RUPDs, CUPDs); negotiation, drafting and approval of development agreements, annexation and pre-annexation agreements, economic incentive agreements, and the creation and application of overlay zoning districts, approval and amendment of existing zoning districts; adoption and approval of site plans, preliminary plats, final plats, use permits, special use permits, sign permits and comprehensive sign packages; as well as opposition and challenges to zoning and rezoning applications. Our attorneys also bring substantial experience in the pursuit of zoning code interpretations; approval and implementation of master planned developments; impact created by historic preservation districts and overlays, conservation easements, hillside overlays, and the proposal and adoption of text and ordinance amendments, formation of community facilities districts and all other aspects of the zoning and land use legislative and administrative processes.


    Our development attorneys have significant experience representing clients seeking to purchase, lease and entitle lands managed by the Arizona State Land Department for purposes of residential and commercial development; to acquire easements and rights of way over State Trust Lands for purposes of streets and access roads as well as municipal and utility infrastructure lines. We also have a substantial background in analyzing and arguing State Land issues regulated by the Federal Enabling Act, the Arizona Constitution and Arizona State statutes. Representative agencies with which our attorneys routinely interfaces on land use, land exchange and property acquisition include the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service,  state and county departments of transportation, water resources, natural resources, mining and mineral resources, flood control districts and others. 

  • Master-Planned Communities

    From acquisition and financing, to development and sales, we have extensive experience with master-planned community developments projects of varying size and complexity.

    We have assisted clients in acquiring land from the Arizona State Land Department, and securing development agreements and Planned Area Development approvals from municipalities. We were instrumental in coordinating a project, which includes a central lake/water recharge project owned and operated by a municipality that may serve as a prototype for future master-planned communities. Another significant enterprise included the acquisition (through an assemblage of eleven different landowners), development approval, construction, covenants, conditions and restrictions, and home builder sales for a large East Valley master-planned community in the Metro Phoenix Area.

    We have substantial experience working with age-restricted CC&Rs, retirement communities, and homeowners' associations.

  • Production Home Builders

    We represent home builders in connection with the acquisition and development of real property, including unimproved land, finished lots, and various stages in between. We work with master developers, other home builders, and local municipalities to prepare cooperative construction and development agreements concerning the construction and installation of infrastructure (such as roads, water, sewer and other utility facilities). We assist home builders with the sale of parcels and improved lots through the use of “rolling option” agreements, dual beneficiary trust agreements and other arrangements, including financing arrangements with land bankers, master lenders and other financial entities. We also provide general advice and assistance in the development process, including drafting of construction contracts and declarations of covenants, conditions and restrictions, advising on sales and property tax issues, and assisting with business planning and entity selection issues.

  • Property Tax

    We have extensive experience in real and personal property tax matters. Our property tax attorneys appear regularly in the state courts, and before the various county and state administrative tribunals that review appeals of property tax valuations and related issues. Our attorneys have handled appeals determining significant legal issue related to all varieties of state and local tax issues.

    We have handled property tax valuation cases that include: residential property (predominantly apartment complexes); commercial buildings (resorts, hotels, shopping centers, high-rise and industrial manufacturing facilities); vacant land; agricultural property; producing copper mines; gas and electric utilities; and local exchange, long-distance and cellular telecommunications companies.

    We have also represented numerous clients in actions in various United States District Courts, the federal appeals courts for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, the Arizona Tax Court, both divisions of the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Arizona seeking the recovery of discriminatory or illegally collected taxes.

  • Real Estate Finance

    We structure, negotiate and document a variety of commercial and real estate financing transactions, such as asset-based lending documentation, security agreements, project financing, leveraged leases, loan restructures and workouts, letters of credit, repurchase and reverse repurchase agreements and acquisition financing. Our financing experience ranges from complex national and international multi-level credit arrangements to small business and personal loans in both the real estate and commercial finance industries.
  • Real Estate and Lease Litigation

    We are experienced in all facets of real estate litigation, including landlord/tenant, construction, condemnation, specific performance, adverse possession, injunction and quiet title actions. We have significant experience in drafting workout and settlement agreements, enforcing judgments obtained through settlements or trials, and collection procedures, including garnishments, property seizures and attachments.
  • Water and Environmental Issues

    We provide environmental counseling for industries and businesses across the country. We routinely work in the areas of federal and state Superfund laws, groundwater quality protection, wetlands regulation, environmental audits and site assessments, environmental impact assessments, and permitting.

    Our landmark work on the Groundwater Replenishment District Act in Arizona helped create a balance between growth and water conservation, and an assurance of long term water supplies for the Phoenix Metro Area. We have substantial experience in water rights matters, including water rights conveyances, water farm transactions, demonstrations of assured water supply for residential subdivisions, water rights adjudications, golf course and real estate development, water service agreements, and infrastructure financing.
  • Workouts and Restructurings

    We represent clients in state and federal court proceedings, Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, debt restructuring, liquidation cases, out-of-court workouts, asset recovery, foreclosure actions and other insolvency proceedings. Our real estate attorneys team with the Bankruptcy, Creditors Rights and Financial Restructuring practice with regard to troubled commercial and residential real estate assets, including such areas as (i) negotiation and documentation of financing agreements, debt restructurings, loan workouts, forbearance agreements, cash collateral arrangements, and debtor-in-possession financing arrangements; (ii) receiverships, pre-judgment remedies such as replevin, garnishment, attachment, restraining orders and injunctions, deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, judicial and non-judicial foreclosure actions, collection actions and deficiency actions and other commercial litigation matters; (iii) Uniform Commercial Code issues and sales; (iv) complex bankruptcy litigation; (v) fraudulent transfer analysis; (vi) counseling clients with respect to transfers of claims against or interests in bankrupt entities; (vii) formulation, negotiation and promulgation of plans of reorganization and related documents; (viii) reviewing and issuing non-substantive consolidation opinions; and (ix) representing clients with environmental claims in bankruptcy cases. Our real estate attorneys represent financial institutions, insurance companies, and receivers in the administration and liquidation of multi-million dollar commercial real estate and residential real estate portfolios, including the sale of property, the management of properties and the sale of mortgage portfolios by bid, both commercial and residential, and through receivership court administration. We also guide buyers past the due diligence, title insurance and contract pitfalls associated with buying troubled real estate assets. Once the property is purchased, assistance extends to real property management issues, including residential, multi-family and commercial leasing matters.

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