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Real Estate

Getting results for developers, owners, investors and lenders

Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP understands and provides business and legal advice for all stakeholders in the real estate industry, including:

  • Owners
  • Investors
  • Capital providers
  • Developers
  • Pension funds
  • Opportunity funds
  • REITs
  • Traditional lenders
  • Alternative lenders
  • Master and special servicers
  • Landlords
  • Tenants
  • Builders
  • Contractors
  • Public private partnerships

For these clients, we assist with virtually all facets of real estate, including purchase and sale, financing, joint venture, master limited partnership, public-private-partnership, space leasing, air-rights leasing, ground leasing, entitlement and development, property management, operations, workouts, litigation and dispute resolution. The property types include office, multifamily, retail (malls and shopping centers), hospitality, educational, industrial, religious, mining and raw land among others.

Read our California Land Use Blog
Read our Hotel Law Blog

Purchase and Sale

Having helped clients with thousands of real estate purchases, sales and development projects throughout the United States and internationally, JMBM's real estate lawyers have the experience necessary to help structure and negotiate the best deal, then quickly document and close the transaction. Our interdisciplinary strengths allows us to handle related due diligence including ADA, corporate and tax issues, financing, land use and zoning, environmental, labor, and intellectual property, as well as litigation and matters involving distressed assets, such as bankruptcy, receivership and workouts. We represent clients in the purchase and sale of assets and loans, including portfolios, both performing and non-performing. We represent clients in the opportunistic purchases of distressed properties and debt, and note acquisitions.

Loan Negotiation and Documentation

JMBM's real estate lawyers advise owners, lenders, funds and investors on financing strategies. We can negotiate and document the full range of loans including construction loans, permanent loans, acquisition loans, working capital revolving loans, and other real estate secured loans. We can facilitate the financing of any development project using conventional lending sources, mezzanine financing, conduit and securitized financing, debtor-in-possession financings and related roll-ups. We evaluate and structure financing alternatives, develop and analyze lease versus ownership advantages, identify tax and economic incentives and assure that transactions comply with regulatory requirements. Our experience includes handling tri-party agreements, participant and syndication agreements, inter-creditor issues, contingent interest and shared appreciation loans. We anticipate and resolve issues dealing with title, deed, environment and other problems that typically arise.

Land Use, Permitting and Entitlements

JMBM's land use lawyers are among the most effective and respected in California. Our particular strength is handling all permitting and compliance issues for clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate or expand operations. We work closely with local government officials to make certain the land for real estate and development projects has the appropriate zoning and required permits and approvals, including all elements of vested rights. We are knowledgeable, skilled negotiators who can produce results when dealing with local governments, including boards of supervisors, city councils, zoning boards and planning and redevelopment agencies, as well as with state and federal agencies that oversee environmental and land use issues.

Projects that we have helped move through the approval process include shopping centers, office buildings, multifamily developments, hotels, resorts and theaters, plus a wide range of such industrial projects as mines, energy plants and manufacturing facilities. Such projects have included all phases of public-private-partnerships and government incentives, including tax increment incentives, transient occupancy incentives, bond issuance and lease financing. We have handled projects that include urban development and redevelopment, urban and suburban mixed use, suburban residential subdivision, coastal projects and historic sites.


We counsel our real estate clients in identifying, evaluating, and efficiently resolving environmental issues, including air, water, hazardous materials, and soil-related work. Environmental issues often arise in the sale, purchase, or financing of real property, and in expansions and relocations. The consequences of incomplete or ineffective environmental counsel can kill or significantly delay a project, or lead to litigation with substantial damages, fines or jail time as potential penalties. JMBM's environmental lawyers provide our clients with environmental guidance that combines practical business understanding, dispute resolution skill, and detailed insight on the laws and regulations. Our environmental group includes members with vast experience in litigation, regulatory, and administrative matters and we regularly advise clients on compliance issues, including CEQA, and represent them in enforcement actions. In the context of a real estate transaction, we provide site assessment and also handle any related remediation issues.


If you are an owner, developer, investor or lender in any commercial market sector, you can turn to JMBM for help with any development project. Our lawyers will get your shopping center, office, multifamily, industrial, hotel, resort, healthcare or mixed-use development project done right. Using the experience we have gained from working with the key players in the development process, we do what’s necessary to make a project successful – get regulatory and land use approvals, negotiate development agreements, conduct environmental due diligence, secure loans and development incentives, and work to bring the construction and lease or sale of the project to completion. Our attorneys have negotiated and documented all aspects of development, construction, financing, management and operations for projects that range from high-value residences to complex, multi-phase, multi-use projects.

We are actively advancing entitlement programs throughout California, working with municipalities on coordinated development proposals, navigating regulatory requirements, and defending clients against litigation brought by project opponents. Our attorneys are tuned in to the changing world of California redevelopment, working closely with the successors to the former redevelopment agencies, and are actively involved in structuring and implementing redevelopment projects under changing law.

Commercial Lending

Our real estate and commercial finance lawyers represent foreign and domestic banks, opportunity funds, pension funds and other traditional and non-traditional lenders in structuring, negotiating and documenting financial transactions, including permanent real estate secured loans, construction loans, syndicated and participating loans, mixed-collateral and personal property secured loans, lines of credit, and the like. Our real estate lawyers’ extensive experience with all real estate asset classes permits us to creatively and efficiently structure and document loans secured by any type of real estate, while our commercial lawyers’ experience provides the framework to secure loans by securities, other investment property and specialty collateral. We have documented agricultural loans, asset-based loans and factoring transactions, as well as reimbursement agreements relating to letter of credit facilities. Put simply, if a lender wants to make a loan, we can document it.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

JMBM's ADA compliance and defense team has defended more than 750 ADA and related accessibility claims across the country for owners, operators, developers and lenders. The targeted properties are all “public accommodations” that include commercial real estate such as hotels, apartment communities, shopping centers, retail stores, banks, restaurants, sports facilities, wineries and theaters. We also assist clients in administrative proceedings and litigation, and have represented numerous clients in Department of Justice investigations.

We provide comprehensive analysis of ADA issues, strategic planning to minimize and mitigate ADA claims, and aggressive litigation defense when claims are brought. JMBM is among the most active law firms in this space, providing efficient and timely counsel to clients around the country. A significant part of our practice is devoted to helping clients with proactive accessibility-compliance audits and developing written policies and procedures. We also advise on website accessibility, online reservation systems, Certified Access Specialist (CASp) strategies and claim prevention.

Working with our team of experienced ADA consultants, we quickly analyze your property and procedures for accessibility issues from barrier removal to “cyber accessibility,” make cost-effective recommendations, and develop the best compliance and litigation strategy. We can also counsel you on insurance coverage and possible indemnity claims against owners, design professionals, contractors and other potentially responsible parties.

Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Workouts

JMBM has a long history of successful results for clients faced with distressed real estate loans. The JMBM Bankruptcy Group knows how to move quickly to preserve assets, create a winning strategy and resolve problems, whether by negotiation, forbearance, litigation, receivership, bankruptcy or foreclosure. Whether a deal is in the process of being put together or is in danger of falling apart, JMBM's insolvency team is ready at a moment's notice.

Often, borrowers, guarantors and creditors are best served by reaching out-of-court agreements. JMBM bankruptcy lawyers know how to negotiate from strength to reach deals that make sense and avoid litigation. We handle out-of-court debt and equity restructuring, complex workouts, assignments for the benefit of creditors, receiverships and foreclosures representing debtors, creditors, committees, assignees, receivers and investors.

Our bankruptcy lawyers have bought and sold billions of dollars' worth of real and personal property assets for our clients. We help clients structure sales to maximize value. JMBM lawyers have sold real estate and personal property in bankruptcy sales, receiver’s sales, sales by assignees for the benefit of creditors, UCC sales, foreclosure sales and auction sales. Choosing the right sale procedure often makes the difference between paying off a loan in full and leaving money on the table. Choosing counsel who understand how sales are conducted in Bankruptcy Court is essential to a successful acquisition. JMBM bankruptcy lawyers are equally at home in bankruptcy courts, federal and state courts, arbitrations, mediations and judicial references. Our bankruptcy attorneys are well known to the courts, counsel and experts.


JMBM's Global Hospitality Group® comprises the premier hospitality practice in a full-service law firm, and the most experienced legal and advisory team in the industry. Our team has assisted clients with hotel purchase and sale, financing, development and other transactions at more than 4,700 hospitality properties located around the globe and valued at more than $125 billion. Our practical experience gained from this work enables us to provide our clients with one of the most extensive virtual databases of market terms for deals and financings. For more information about the Global Hospitality Group® and our current views on industry issues, visit


The complexity of construction projects – large or small – requires expert legal advice to prevent or resolve problems that arise before, during, and after construction. JMBM's lawyers help clients confidently approach all phases of their construction ventures and resolve issues to minimize problems, expense and delays. We represent public and private owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers and suppliers at every phase of the construction process. We advise on land use, labor, general business, tax and contract issues, negotiate and draft design and construction contracts and provide all construction loan documentation. We help with project administration and management issues to control downtime and ensure that work disruption is avoided or kept to a minimum. We’ll also evaluate all covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), guaranty strategies, and title and priority issues. We are strong advocates for our clients when litigating and resolving defect and claims disputes, either through trial or alternative dispute resolution. We represent their interests in controversies involving bid protests and mistakes, cost disputes, design error, professional liability, defective installation and contract disputes. Our industry knowledge allows us to resolve problems in ways that minimize expense and time for our clients.

Leasing and Lease Administration

JMBM represents landlords and tenants in commercial leasing transactions, including ground and air rights leases. We negotiate and prepare leases for office, industrial, shopping center and retail, mixed use developments and other commercial establishments, and handle ancillary transactions such as tenant improvements, common areas, and parking. We are experienced in sophisticated mixed use issues, reciprocal easement agreements, lease termination negotiations, contract and lease administration and abstracting lease portfolios. We also handle lease disputes and lease terminations in normal business contexts as well as in bankruptcies and workouts.

Portfolio Management

For our clients with large portfolios of commercial real estate – including funds, investors, lenders, and owners – we provide a full range of legal services required to maintain and enhance the value of their specific assets. These services include negotiating and documenting a variety of agreements and licenses to facilitate effective and profitable portfolio management.

Entity Formation

JMBM's lawyers help clients determine the entity structure that is best for their real estate venture and work tirelessly to maximize tax advantages in entity and project structuring. We structure limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships and trusts for the purpose of acquiring, developing and operating real property. We are experienced in the structuring, formation and capitalization of REITs.

Construction and Building Materials

JMBM is an active participant in the construction and building materials industry. We advise materials suppliers (including rock, sand and gravel quarry operations, and aggregate mining) in a full range of issues, including their highly specialized needs in land use, natural resources, environment and other real estate issues.

Real Estate Litigation

JMBM's litigation attorneys have significant experience in resolving real estate disputes on behalf of tenants, landlords, owners, developers, lenders and investors.

Our Commitment

JMBM's real estate lawyers are committed to the preservation, development, improvement, and operation of real estate. We understand how it can build wealth as well as community. Times and markets may change, but our focus never does. We are committed to getting the deal done, solving problems, and helping our clients meet their goals.

Please call us to discuss your needs and how we can help.

  • JMBM's Distressed Assets and Real Estate Group comprises a team of experienced finance, real estate, bankruptcy, tax and land use lawyers. Whether it is a solution to a problem or the response to an opportunity, we mobilize quickly to address the complex issues surrounding distressed real estate and other assets. To position our clients for […]
  • SAN FRANCISCO – February 8, 2008—Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP (JMBM), one of California's foremost full-service law firms, has announced that a team comprised of their Real Estate, Corporate, Finance, Tax and Land Use attorneys advised the California State Automobile Association (CSAA) in a complex sale and leaseback transaction that allowed for the sale […]
  • SAN FRANCISCO – December 12, 2007 – Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP (JMBM), one of California's foremost full-service law firms, today announced that on behalf of its client, CMR Commercial Mortgage Fund LLC, the Firm closed a $25.5 million loan to Nevada Towers, a Chapter 11 debtor-in-possession. The loan is secured by a first […]
  • LOS ANGELES – August 15, 2007 – Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP (JMBM), one of California's foremost full-service law firms, today announced that it closed a 5.9 million-square-foot real estate transaction for its client, Arden Realty Limited Partnership, from affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate Acquisitions V LLC. The portfolio of office buildings in the […]
  • On behalf of its client, CMR Mortgage Fund, LLC (CMR), of San Francisco, California, Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP (JMBM), a California full-service law firm with expertise in complex real estate sales, financings, work-outs, and bankruptcies, has closed a nearly $100 million loan to Halekua Development Corporation (Halekua), an out-of-possession debtor in a Chapter […]
  • After precedent-breaking litigation, JMBM client, United Rock Products Corporation, and the City of Irwindale, California reached agreement to extend the life of the Irwindale quarries for 25 years. The transaction is most notable for the creation of a joint powers authority between the City of Irwindale and the Irwindale Reclamation Authority, the first such arrangement […]
  • When a leading New York developer wanted to pursue its first California venture, JMBM was the Firm of choice for the deal financing. We closed the senior debt portion of the capital financing for our commercial lending client, HSBC, on the new $330 million Wilshire Carlyle luxury condominium tower. The 24 story, 78-unit crescent-shaped tower […]
  • JMBM represented both the developer and the investment fund providing the financing for a California project that was one of the largest industrial properties ever built on spec. We helped our clients form a joint venture for building the 1.7 million square foot facility, handled the acquisition of the land, and closed the nine-figure sale […]
  • On behalf of our client California Mortgage and Realty's CMR Mortgage Fund, JMBM real estate and bankruptcy lawyers closed a nearly $100 million loan to Halekua Development Corporation, an out-of-possession debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The loan enabled Halekua to redeem from its bankruptcy estate approximately 161 acres of land known as Royal […]
  • We closed a 5.9 million square-foot real estate acquisition for longtime client Arden Realty Limited Partnership. The portfolio of office buildings in the purchase spanned six West Coast markets, including San Francisco, Orange County, San Diego, Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City. The challenging transaction involved more than two months of intensive legal work to […]