Real Estate Services

Overview

“The firm is flexible and understanding, just plain excellent. Its partners are top-notch. They are relationship and service oriented.” Chambers USA

More competition means more challenges, and our Real Estate Services team commands a deep understanding of the issues facing developers, real estate funds, tenants, landlords, brokers, lenders and construction companies in every aspect of acquiring, selling, developing, financing, leasing, managing and restructuring real estate assets.

Clients benefit from Richard Layton’s winning combination of technical property expertise, local market knowledge and industry insight. Our experience includes work on deals and advice to clients in every major sector, including industrial, office, retail, hospitality, health care, education and residential real estate. We represent sources of capital, which include lenders and equity investors, and the users of capital, including developers and long-term owners of real estate assets, on projects across the country.

“Market-leading practice for complex financing, leasing and development projects. Acts for a broad client base including lenders, buyers, sellers, tenants and conservation organizations. Recognized for its strength in representing public sector and governmental clients. Also assists secured creditors and developers in restructurings and workouts for troubled real estate portfolios.” Chambers USA

We Understand the Issues

More competition means more challenges, and our Real Estate Services team commands a deep understanding of the issues facing developers, real estate funds, tenants, landlords, brokers, lenders and construction companies in every aspect of acquiring, selling, developing, financing, leasing, managing and restructuring real estate assets.

Clients benefit from Richard Layton’s winning combination of technical property expertise, local market knowledge and industry insight. Our experience includes work on deals and advice to clients in every major sector, including industrial, office, retail, hospitality, health care, education and residential real estate. We represent sources of capital, which include lenders and equity investors, and the users of capital, including developers and long-term owners of real estate assets, on projects across the country.

Adding Value

Having worked for decades on real estate purchase, sale and development projects throughout Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region, our lawyers have the experience to help clients structure and negotiate the best business deals, then quickly document and close the transaction. Whether the project involves single commercial properties or multiple property portfolios valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, we bring value to the table through our track record of completing more, and more sophisticated, transactions than most other Delaware real estate lawyers.

We staff each deal with one or two working lawyers who maximize speed and efficiency through the kind of thorough market knowledge that requires little learning curve; however, the depth of our bench allows us to add additional lawyers when the size, complexity or timing warrants a larger team. Our lawyers give clients all the help they need to get deals done, from land acquisition and land use approvals, through the financing and construction phase, to the sale, purchase or lease of the project.

Because we are project-driven rather than process-driven, we structure every transaction to our client's best advantage. The number of real estate transactions in the Richards Layton legal portfolio ensures that we bring sound business judgment to each deal, offering an efficient and thorough due diligence review of title, property conditions, environmental considerations and legal obligations as well as an assessment of future opportunities. As the largest Delaware law firm, our Real Estate Services team has the vast resources of the firm available to us, including litigation, bankruptcy, restructuring and alternative entities expertise, among others.

Government and Market Insight

The importance of our familiarity with local government officials and market assessment cannot be overstated. We are able to handle unique development and regulatory issues (even in environmentally sensitive coastal areas), forge relationships with public officials that are essential for efficient deal closing, and resolve even difficult zoning or property tax problems. Our lawyers are skilled at settling crucial issues to secure the timely approval of permits and zoning applications, and make sure all due diligence, from determining environmental liability to insuring the title, is completed. While we are effective at appealing land use decisions, our real strength is in resolving the concerns of regulating bodies short of litigation.

Typical of Richards Layton’s broad and deep Delaware market sophistication, we have represented the City of Wilmington itself on development, land use and litigation involving a variety of real estate projects.

Finance and Investment Connections

Because Richards Layton has experience with some of the largest financial institutions and institutional investors in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region, we can facilitate the financing of any development project. Turbulent times often require creative financing alternatives or combinations—we consider the most advantageous structure using conventional lending and available equity sources, such as syndications and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Our lawyers advise owners, syndicators, underwriters and investors (including entrepreneurial individuals and funds looking for substantial investment returns) on financing strategies, and excel at evaluating real estate and facility portfolios to maximize asset value. We evaluate and structure financing alternatives, develop and analyze lease versus ownership advantages, and identify tax and economic incentives.

Leasing Capabilities

We work with landlords and tenants in all aspects of leasing, from traditional space leases for retail, office and industrial transactions to ground leases, master leases, leaseback to NNN and the considerations necessary for successful transactions structured on the basis of a credit tenant. We are experts in understanding the greater impact of a lease on a project, and we are skilled at what it takes to get a lease signed, financed and sold.

Environmental Capabilities

Our expertise and experience allows the Real Estate Services team to provide environmental support in all aspects of real estate transactions. Our attorneys advise clients on environmental risks and help clients to ensure compliance. We have strong relationships throughout the state and assist clients when interfacing with state and regulatory agencies. We address issues involved in environmental land use and permitting matters, and manage and advise on the effect of these issues on transactions, including financing and sale.

Land Use Capabilities

We represent clients in all aspects of land development to obtain approvals, including interfacing with state and local officials. We help clients navigate the complexities of the processes required to obtain variances and special use permits. We represent clients in planning commissions, historic review, zoning board of adjustment, design review and other bodies to obtain land development approvals.

LLC and Corporate Capabilities

Our premier Delaware alterative entities and corporate practices allow us to bring to bear the expertise of our firm in the application and use of special purpose entities in structured finance and commercial real estate financing. We advise and assist clients with the formation of joint ventures and private equity transactions.

Restructuring Capabilities

Richards Layton represents secured creditors and developers in restructuring troubled real estate projects and real estate portfolios. Our wide-ranging knowledge of and contacts in the industry have given us special skills in lender liability, foreclosures and other workout-related transactions. Our lawyers can resolve defaults on commercial property loans by restructuring the loan agreement or handling portfolio transactions for both buyers and sellers.

Because we have the ability to represent all parties (lenders, buyers, sellers, developers), we are skilled at staying abreast of the market. For example, in our role as seller’s counsel, our extensive transactional experience enables us to anticipate and address buyer concerns and bring all parties to a successful closing. And we can handle such complexities as debtor-in-possession financing and deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure transactions.

Representative Clients

  • American International Group, Inc.
  • Bank of America
  • The Buccini/Pollin Group
  • City of Wilmington
  • Colonial Parking, Inc.
  • LC Homes, Inc.
  • Wilmington Trust Company
  • WSFS Financial Corporation

Publications

  • "Liquidated Damages in Delaware Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreements," The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, September 2019   View >
  • "Practical Considerations for Commercial Lenders Regarding Environmental Liability," Delaware Banker, Spring 2019   View >
  • "Change of Mortgagee Address," September 10, 2018   View >
  • "Unlawful Restrictive Covenants," August 27, 2018   View >
  • "Changes to Tax Withholding Requirements," August 13, 2018   View >
  • "Changes to the Limited Liability Company Act Affecting Commercial Real Estate," August 7, 2018   View >
  • "Important Changes to Regulation of Acquisition, Development and Construction Lending," June 5, 2018   View >
  • "New Limitations on Eminent Domain," May 2, 2018   View >
  • "New Requirements for Computer Security Breaches in Delaware," December 5, 2017   View >
  • "The Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act: Considerations for Commercial Real Estate Finance," The Abstract, Fall 2017   View >
  • "New Delaware Mortgage Laws," September 21, 2017   View >
  • "Make Sure You Bring a Note - The Delaware Supreme Court Creates New Requirements for Foreclosing Mortgage Lenders," Delaware Banker, Summer 2017   View >
  • "Statewide Realty Transfer Tax Increase," July 5, 2017   View >
  • "New Pleading Requirement in Mortgage Foreclosures?," May 1, 2017   View >
  • "Delaware Purchase and Sale Issues for Buyers," The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, November 2016   View >
  • "Recording Community Documents," August 15, 2016   View >
  • "Changes to Delaware Fair Housing Law," August 9, 2016   View >
  • "Delaware Mortgages Unsealed," June 29, 2016   View >
  • "2016 Changes to ALTA/NSPS Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for Land Title Surveys," April 5, 2016   View >
  • "New FASB Rules and Your Balance Sheet," March 29, 2016   View >
  • "No "Leap-Frog" in Refinancing: Delaware Supreme Court Embraces Delaware's Pure Race Priority Status," Delaware Banker, Fall 2015   View >
  • "Bankruptcy Remote Entities in Commercial Real Estate Transactions," Practical Law The Journal, November 2015   View >
  • "Notice of Termination of Utilities for Common Interest Communities," September 8, 2015   View >
  • "Amendments to the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act," August 17, 2015   View >
  • "Delaware Neighborhood Conservation and Land Banking Act," August 17, 2015   View >
  • "Delaware Adopts Rapid Arbitration Act," April 15, 2015   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Reauthorization of Terrorism Risk Insurance Act," January 9, 2015   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Condominiums No Longer Subject to ILSA," September 25, 2014   View >
  • "Office of the Common Interest Community Ombudsman Created," August 18, 2014   View >
  • "Support for R&D for Small Businesses," July 29, 2014   View >
  • "Evictions under Agricultural Leases," July 8, 2014   View >
  • "New Downtown Development Districts," June 24, 2014   View >
  • "An Overview of the Real Estate Finance Opinion Report of 2012," Delaware Law Review, 2014   View >
  • "Important Changes for Residential Leasing," July 1, 2013   View >
  • "Delaware Passes the Commercial Real Estate Broker's Lien Act," May 14, 2013   View >
  • "Potential Environmental Legislative Amendments that Will Affect Future Site Development in the State and Facilities under the State's HSCA, Tanks and Oil Pollution Programs," March 14, 2013   View >
  • "Commercial Real Estate Loans: Environmental Due Diligence for Lenders," PLC Real Estate, 2013   View >
  • "Commercial Real Estate Loans: Lender's Environmental Liability," PLC Real Estate, 2013   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Changes to Contractor Payment Rules," August 7, 2012   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Department of Justice Extends Deadline for Pool Accessibility," May 29, 2012   View >
  • "Substantive Changes to Real Estate Broker Licensing Law," February 14, 2012   View >
  • "Condominium Project Recertification a Must," January 5, 2012   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Substantive Changes to Real Estate Broker Licensing Law," November 21, 2011   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update - Legislature Removes Impediment to Seller Financing of Commercial Real Estate," August 11, 2011   View >
  • "Delaware Laws & Programs Affecting Business - 2011 Edition," July 2011   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Street Connections Through Age-Restricted Communities," June 6, 2011   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Revised Seller's Disclosure Forms Create New Burdens for Builders and Other Sellers," April 6, 2011   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Revised Seller's Disclosure of Real Property Condition Report Forms Create New Burdens for Builders and Other Sellers," April 5, 2011   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Tax Withholding Form Issued for All Sellers of Delaware Real Estate," December 28, 2010   View >
  • "Lonergan v. EPE Holdings LLC: The Delaware Court of Chancery Discusses the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing," November 8, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Estimated Taxes for Non-Resident Sellers of Delaware Real Estate," August 24, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Commercial Loan Insurance Requirements Now Enforceable," August 24, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Homeowners’ Association Authority to Regulate Demolition," August 5, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Delaware Prohibits Private Transfer Fees," August 5, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update: Changes for Leasehold Mortgages," August 5, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Real Estate Law Update," August 5, 2010   View >
  • "Real Estate Law Update: New Requirements for Residential Developers," July 15, 2010   View >
  • "Real Estate Law Update: Technical Amendments to the DUCIOA," July 15, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Common Interest Ownership Act Amended and Deferred," July 8, 2009   View >
  • "Delaware Common Interest Ownership Act Deferred," February 18, 2009   View >
  • "Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act," November 13, 2008   View >