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Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2015

Speaker(s): Douglas L. Harmon, Elisha A. King, Ellen M. Goodwin, Louis J. Hait, Richard S. Fries, Ronald D. Sernau, Ross Z. Silver, Steven D. Klein, Steven G. Horowitz, Thomas B. Mason
Recorded on: Jun. 4, 2015
PLI Program #: 57150

Elisha King is the Deputy General Counsel of DLA Pipper LLP(US). She is an experienced litigation and employment lawyer, and has tried numerous cases in the areas of professional liability, employment discrimination and business torts. Ms. King regularly advises firm lawyers on professional responsibility and other legal issues.

Ms. King was recognized among the Top Washington Attorneys in the “Young Gun” category by The Washington Business Journal. She was also named one of Washington, DC’s Legal Elite by Washington SmartCEO magazine.

Prior to her legal career, Ms. King worked as a news reporter for The Washington Post.

Courts and Forums

  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the District of Maryland
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Ellen Goodwin is a partner in the firm’s 60-lawyer Real Estate Finance & Investment Group, the former co-chair of the Group, and resident in the New York office.  Ms. Goodwin concentrates her practice on commercial real estate finance, and has represented investment banks, commercial banks, funds, and insurance companies on a variety of loan transactions for both securitizations and portfolios, including construction loan financings, loan syndications and participations, co-lending and senior/subordinate arrangements, and mezzanine finance.  She has been out in the forefront of CMBS 2.0 and acts as form and program counsel for a number of active CMBS lenders.  Ms. Goodwin’s expertise additionally extends to the work-out, restructuring, and foreclosures of both securitized and portfolio mortgage loans, and she has extensive experience working with special servicers.  She represents both sellers and purchasers of whole loans, subordinate debt, and mezzanine loans.

Ms. Goodwin is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the CRE Finance Council, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the American Bar Association, and the Real Estate Board of New York, and has served as a lecturer on various topics concerning real estate finance and work-outs and restructurings of mortgage and mezzanine loans for the Practising Law Institute, the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, and the International Council of Shopping Centers.


Alston & Bird’s Real Estate Finance & Investment Group in New York serves as one of Morgan Stanley’s national outside counsel for their mortgage loan origination program (in connection with loans that are intended to be held on Morgan Stanley’s balance sheet or syndicated as well as loans that are slated for CMBS execution). In that capacity, Alston & Bird LLP served as lender’s counsel for Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Holdings LLC, as administrative agent for Morgan Stanley Bank, N.A. as lead lender on a $535,000,000 mortgage loan secured by the State Street Financial Center in Boston, Massachusetts, a $125,000,000 first mezzanine loan secured by the equity interests in the mortgage borrower, and a $125,000,000 second mezzanine loan secured by the equity interests in the first mezzanine borrower. Our representation also included sales of portions of the mortgage loan to certain co-lenders as well as the sales of both of the mezzanine loans, including the preparation and negotiation of co-lender and intercreditor agreements.


Alston & Bird LLP served as lender’s counsel for Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Holdings LLC, as administrative agent for Morgan Stanley Bank, N.A. as lead lender on a $782,000,000 mortgage loan secured by mortgage borrower’s ground-leasehold interest in 5 Times Square in New York, New York, a $208,000,000 first mezzanine loan secured by the equity interests in the mortgage borrower, and a $170,000,000 second mezzanine

loan secured by the equity interests in the first mezzanine borrower. Simultaneously with the closing of the mortgage, first mezzanine and second mezzanine loans, a third mezzanine loan in the amount of $100,000,000 and a fourth mezzanine loan in the amount of $100,000,000 were also originated by third party lenders.

Louis J. Hait is a Partner in the New York office of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, having joined predecessor Kaye Scholer LLP’s real estate department in 1983.

Mr. Hait's practice covers a broad range of commercial real estate, with an emphasis on the representation of capital providers at all levels of the capital stack, including representing banks and other lending institutions in originating structured mortgage and mezzanine debt, negotiating intercreditor and co-lender agreements, and acquiring portfolios of performing and non-performing loans; representing hedge funds, private equity and opportunity funds and pension plans providing mezzanine, preferred equity and common equity joint venture investments; and construction lending, leasing, acquisitions and sales. Mr. Hait has counseled both institutional lenders and borrowers in complex real estate loan workouts and restructurings during multiple down cycles in the real estate market. He has a particular expertise in fashioning "one-off" solutions for hard-to-structure, would-be loan assets.

Mr. Hait regularly writes and lectures on commercial real estate law. Most recently, he was a faculty member for the Practicing Law Institute's conference entitled "Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2016," at which he spoke on "Recent Trends in Real Estate Lending." Mr. Hait most recent publications were "Does a New York Foreclosure Create an Opportunity for a Tenant to Walk Away from Its Lease Obligations," which appeared in the Winter 2015 edition of NY Real Property Law Journal, and "Does the Use of Equity Pledges in Mortgage Loans create a 'Clogging' Issue?" which appeared in Law360 in March 2013.

Mr. Hait is recognized as a leading practitioner in Chamber’s USA:  Americas Leading Lawyers for Business.

Mr. Hait received his J.D. from New York University.

Professional Expertise

Since the beginning of his real estate career in 1985, Douglas Harmon has been a prominent leader in New York City and a trusted advisor on the international real estate scene. Mr. Harmon has handled many of the world’s largest, highest-profile and record-setting transactions over the last two decades. Headquartered in New York City, Mr. Harmon is Chairman of Capital Markets at Cushman & Wakefield. Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield in 2016, Mr. Harmon was a Senior Managing Director and member of the Management Committee at Eastdil Secured, where he worked since 1993. Since 1997, he has sold or recapitalized over $150 billion in transactions, with a focus on New York City.

Mr. Harmon’s real estate transaction experience is broad and extensive, with a resume that includes well-known office properties like the Sears / Willis Tower and the GM Building, to major residential assets such as Peter Cooper Stuyvesant Town, Parkmerced, The Apthrop and Columbus Square, to iconic hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria and the Chelsea Hotel. Furthermore, Mr. Harmon has been a pioneer in transacting in what are now Manhattan’s most exclusive submarkets. Just a few examples include Chelsea Market, Google’s NYC Headquarters (111 Eighth Avenue), the Starett-Leigh Building,Time Warner Center and 10 Hudson Yards.

Major Transactions

  • Helmsley Portfolio (1997 – 2000) – In his early 30’s, Mr. Harmon handled the sale of the Helmsley Portfolio, valued at over $5 billion, marking a watershed moment in his career. Major assets included One Penn Plaza, 230 Park Avenue-Helmsley Building, Starrett-Leigh, Park West Village, Greybar Building, 500-512 Seventh Avenue, 140 Broadway, 1466 Broadway, and the Villas at Park Merced.
  • GM Building (2003, 2006) – Sold the GM Building to Harry Macklowe in 2003 for a record-breaking sum of $1.4 billion, at the time the priciest in New York City history, also sold Jamestown’s GM interest (Macklowe’s sole partner at the time) at a $2.5 billion valuation.
  • Apthorp (2006) – Quarterbacked the sale of the Apthorp in 2006, achieving a record for the highest price ever paid on a per-unit basis at $2.4 million plus per unit.
  • Google NYC Headquarters (111 Eighth Avenue) (2010) – Handled/closed this transaction in 2010; at $1.9 billion, this marked the largest NYC transaction of the last few years, the largest single transaction to a user, and a watershed moment for the Midtown South submarket of Manhattan – as Google expanded in the building and completely transformed Chelsea and the Meatpacking District.
  • 200 Fifth Avenue (Eataly) and 1107 Broadway (2007) – Played a critical role in arranging the sale of 200 Fifth Avenue and 1107 Broadway, then known as the Toy Buildings, which have since transformed the Flatiron District of Midtown South.
  • Sony Building / 550 Madison Avenue (2013, 2016) – Advised Sony to sell their Midtown headquarters for $1.1 billion. Sony purchased the building from AT&T in 2002 for approximately $236 million. In 2016, he navigated Ownership through a $1.5 billion sale – the highest price achieved for a vacant office building at $1,800 PSF.
  • 650 Madison Avenue (2013) – $1.35 billion sale representing the largest single-asset sale transaction in 2013.
  • 5 Times Square (2014) – Led this $1.55 billion sale, marking the largest single-asset transaction in 2014.
  • Three Bryant Park / 1095 Avenue of the Americas (2015) – Sold for $2.2 billion, marketing the largest single-asset transaction in 2015.
  • 450 Park Avenue (2007, 2014) – Achieved the record for the most expensive office building in New York City on PSF basis both times he sold the building, achieving $1,583 PSF in 2007 and $1,700 PSF in 2014.
  • Sears / Willis Tower (2004,2015) – Sold this iconic tower in 2004 and again to Blackstone for $1.3 billion in 2015, marking the highest price ever paid for an office building outside of New York City.
  • Villas at Parkmerced (1998, 2005, 2010, 2014) – Sold or recapitalized this deal four different times every year it was the largest multi-family deal in the country. Located in San Francisco, Villas at Parkmerced contains 3,300 units and over 150 acres. The latest sale for $1.5 billion was the largest residential sale in the country since 2007.
  • Crown Building / 730 Fifth Avenue (2015) – Led the sale on behalf of the Winter and Spitzer families in the $1.775 billion sale. At $4,490 PSF, the 2015 sale sets the world record for the highest price ever paid for an office building on a PSF basis.
  • Peter Cooper Stuyvesant Town (2015) – Sold this iconic, 110 building, 11,250 unit, 80-acre, $5.45 billion residential transaction, marking the largest single transaction ever recorded.
  • 10 Hudson Yards (2016) – Led the complex $2.2 billion recapitalization of 10 Hudson yards as Allianz bought a 44% joint venture interest from Coach, JPMorgan, and Related.

Education & Achievements

Mr. Harmon holds an MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA and a BA from Brown University.

He is a longtime Board Member of the New York Stage and Film Company, a not-for-profit dedicated to the development and production of new works of emerging and established artists for theater and film. He also serves on the advisory board of Caravel Management, LLC a New York-based emerging and frontier markets investment firm.

Mr. Harmon currently serves on the board of directors for a number of real estate projects in Manhattan, and was named Broker of the Year in 2003 and 2004 (the last two years Institutional Investors Inc. awarded this particular country-wide distinction). Mr. Harmon has accumulated numerous other real estate awards and accolades.

Ronald D. Sernau, co-chair of the Real Estate Department, has more than 25 years of experience in real estate law, representing sophisticated parties in particularly visible transactions involving trophy properties. The community has consistently recognized Ron as a member of the inner circle in New York's real estate industry.

Ron offers clients the insight he has gained by representing opposing interests in similar transactions. He has represented landlords and tenants, lenders and borrowers, purchasers and sellers, equity investors and developers, managers and owners, and brokers and principals. He draws on his experience to address legitimate interests that the opposing party must protect, and to minimize the negotiation of issues that the opposing party can compromise. Ron's clients, some of which have relied on his advice for decades, routinely involve Ron in their strategic decision making.

Ron's clients include a variety of enterprises that are involved with real estate. He represents some of the most prominent real estate developers in New York City in their investments in, and their development of, premier properties. Various businesses, from large publicly traded companies to boutique investment firms, engage Ron to address their real estate concerns. He also has substantial experience in providing general legal advice for luxury retailers, with a particular focus on real estate issues.

Ron created the Proskauer Commercial Leasing System, which automates the commercial leasing process, reducing the processing time for a commercial lease from several weeks to several days. Realcomm, a real estate technology trade organization, awarded Ron with its prize for the best use of technology in real estate law in 2004.

An avid speaker on real estate topics, Ron has appeared before groups sponsored by the Association of the Bar of The City of New York, the New York Hospitality Council, Inc., the New York State Bar Association, the Georgetown Commercial Leasing Institute, CB Richard Ellis, Inc., the Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate, Practising Law Institute, The Real Estate Board of New York, Inc and the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He lectures at New York University and his articles have appeared in The New York Law Journal and The National Law Journal.

Related Practices

Real Estate

Real Estate Finance

Private Equity Real Estate

Health Care Industry


Cornell Law School, J.D., 1986
magna cum laude
Order of the Coif

Editor, Cornell Law Review, 1985-1986

Ithaca College, B.S., 1981
summa cum laude

Bar Admissions

New York

Ross Z. Silver is a real estate partner resident in Fried Frank's New York office. He joined the Firm in 1987.

Mr. Silver has extensive experience with acquisitions and sales for single assets and portfolio transactions, leasing on behalf of landlords and tenants, financing, and joint ventures relating to all types of commercial properties, including office buildings, hotels, and mixed use properties.

Mr. Silver's representative clients include Highgate Hotels, MetLife, The Feil Organization, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Blackstone Group, Square Mile Capital, Coach, Inc., JEMB Realty, The Landis Group, and Beacon Capital Partners.

Mr. Silver is consistently ranked by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. He has also been consistently recognized by Legal 500 as a leading individual in Real Estate.

In 2014, Mr. Silver was selected by Law360 as a Real Estate MVP of the Year (one of only seven real estate lawyers in the country to be chosen for this honor).

Mr. Silver has been honored for his dedication to pro bono work, notably he has been recognized by the IDEAL School & Academy and by the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York.

Mr. Silver is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.  He is a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia Business School in the MBA Real Estate Program.

Mr. Silver received his JD, cum laude, from New York University School of Law in 1987, where he was a John Norton Pomeroy Scholar and was elected to the Order of the Coif.  He graduated, magna cum laude, in 1984 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his BS from the Wharton School of Finance and his BA from the College of Arts and Sciences.  Mr. Silver is admitted to the bar in New York and the District of Columbia.

Steven G. Horowitz's practice concentrates on U.S. and international real estate finance and investment transactions, including joint ventures, mortgage finance, securitization and capital markets, restructuring and real estate-related mergers and acquisitions.

He frequently represents commercial and investment banks, foreign and domestic institutional investors, property owners and a wide variety of corporations in their real estate matters.

Steven has extensive experience in financing, acquisition and disposition of significant properties throughout the United States, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Transaction types encompass all forms of joint ventures, mortgage securitization, loan syndication, mortgage loan trading and subordinate debt, such as mezzanine loan and preferred equity funding. In addition, he focuses on credit tenant and portfolio leasing, workout and bankruptcy matters, investment entity formation and tax­oriented finance transactions, and investments in non­traditional property types such as resorts and hotels, Indian gaming casinos, mines, timber, utilities, sports fitness clubs, hospitals and nursing homes.

Steven repeatedly has been recognized by the business and legal press for his work on behalf of clients, including The Best Lawyers in America, which includes him in its 2016 edition, making Steven one of a small group to receive this honor for more than 10 consecutive years.

He joined the firm in 1987 and became a partner in 1989. Previously Steven was a partner and real estate practice chair at the law firm of Hill & Barlow in Boston, Massachusetts.

Steven Klein is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and is a member of the Firm's Real Estate Practice Group.  Mr. Klein's practice covers a broad range of real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, financings, leasing, construction and development, restructurings and recapitalizations.  He also has substantial experience in REIT offerings, REIT mergers and formation of investment funds.  He has advised clients on securitized funding agreements, permanent and mezzanine loan agreements, loan restructuring agreements, partnership and limited liability company agreements, private placement memoranda, property management agreements, retail and office leases and regional shopping centre agreements.  His clients include Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, DiamondRock Hospitality Company, AECOM Capital and Lehman Brothers. 

Chambers USA (2013) ranks Mr. Klein among the leading individuals practicing Real Estate Law in New York. He has also been included in Legal Media Group’s Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Real Estate Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500 and New York magazine’s "Best Lawyers.”

Mr.  Klein is an adjunct professor at the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate, where he has taught courses on commercial leasing, commercial real estate transactions and real estate development and investment.  He is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and of the Advisory Board of Chicago Title Insurance Company. 

Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Klein was Chair of the Real Estate department of Willkie Farr & Gallagher.  Mr. Klein received his Juris Doctor from Rutgers University School of Law in 1986.

Select Representative Transactions*

  • Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.:  $956 million sale of North American Industrial Fund III portfolio to Blackstone Group LP and Prologis Inc.
  • AECOM Capital:  Joint venture with the Mack Family Office and Urban Partners LLC to acquire and develop five development sites located in the South Park district of Los Angeles.
  • Goldman Sachs:  $1.85 billion refinancing consisting of first mortgage and four mezzanine loan tiers secured by a portfolio of hotels located in Hawaii and San Francisco.
  • Goldman Sachs:  Acquisition and restructuring of a $180 million mortgage loan secured by the YOTEL New York hotel, and subsequent $200 million refinancing of YOTEL consisting of first mortgage and senior mezzanine loans.
  • Prominent NYC developer:  Restructuring of construction loan and mezzanine loan.
  • Real Estate fund:  Loan restructurings.
  • Team of Private Equity Funds:  Purchase of $1.1 billion of timeshare loans, consisting of both construction and acquisition loans.
  • Bloomberg L.P.:  Lease for 700,000 square-foot new world headquarters at the “Alexander’s Site” in New York City, and numerous other acquisitions and leases, nationally and internationally, including in California, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., London, Prague, San Paulo, Rome and Tokyo.
  • Leases and construction agreements on behalf of Apollo, Avenue Capital, Alix Partners, Bank of America, Citibank, Crain, Greenhill, Jones New York, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Level 3, McKinsey & Company, Moelis, Pinebridge Capital, SAC and other corporate tenants.
  • Trinity Church: Redevelopment of 330 Hudson Street.
  • Sale-leaseback transaction with Disney and Wal-Mart.
  • Paramount: Acquisitions and financings of New York City office buildings.
  • Port Authority of NY and NJ:  Redevelopment of 42nd Street Bus Terminal.
  • DiamondRock Hospitality Company: Acquisitions and financings of several individual hotels and portfolios, including Westin Boston, Chicago Marriott and a 4-hotel portfolio from Blackstone.
  • CBL Properties, The Mills Corporation and Simon Property Group:  Acquisitions, joint ventures and financings with respect to regional mall centers and portfolios.
  • Land developer and home builder:  Loan restructurings.
  • Hospitality and residential developer:  Loan restructurings.
  • Private Company:  Acquisition of an office building in London.
  • Multifamily Company:  Restructuring of over $1 billion in CMBS debt, which encumbers a large portfolio of multifamily properties across the United States.
  • NorthStar Capital Partners LLC:  Joint ventures and financings with respect to retail portfolio in Puerto Rico, golf courses throughout the United States, and a mixed-use project in Manhattan.
  • Scout Real Estate Capital:  Acquisition, debt and equity financing and development of Wyndham Bermuda Resort & Spa, 6000 acres of waterfront land in Hawaii, and two Martha’s Vineyard hotels.
  • Praedium:  Acquisition of office properties.
  • Ventas:  Acquisition of 67 healthcare and seniors housing properties.
  • Lehman Brother Holdings Inc. (and various debtor and debtor affiliates):  Mezzanine construction financing of data center facility in Ashburn, Virginia; preferred equity investment in NYC residential condominium development; construction loan to develop luxury golf course in Texas; restructuring of residential condominium mortgage and mezzanine loans; restructuring of various debt and equity relationships with a major private developer and owner of an office building portfolio in the southeastern United States; marketing and potential sale of REO assets acquired by Lehman via foreclosure of otherwise; restructuring of loan facilities encumbering a portfolio of residential assets in Florida in which a Lehman affiliate is an equity investor.

*Representations occurred prior to Mr. Klein joining Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. 

Thomas B. Mason is the Chair of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP’s Legal Ethics and Malpractice Group. He represents lawyers and law firms in malpractice, disqualification, disciplinary investigations and prosecutions, partner admissions and departures, and law firm dissolutions. Mr. Mason’s disciplinary experience includes matters before the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) as well as numerous state bars. He also counsels and advises lawyers and law firms in all of the above areas so as to avoid problems or disputes before they arise. Mr. Mason was named Washington, D.C., Ethics and Responsibility Lawyer of the Year in 2014 by Best Lawyers. He has served as an expert in ethics and related issues on numerous occasions.

Some of his most notable representations include:

On behalf of a national telecommunications carrier, obtained a dismissal (at the pleading stage) of a claim for nearly $10 million in outstanding legal fees purportedly due to the former outside counsel.

Secured a dismissal of malpractice claims against an Amlaw 100 law firm in a multi-defendant action. The claims against the other defendants remain pending.

Handled dozens of disciplinary complaints and disqualification controversies, obtaining many outright dismissals of the former and frequently dissuading opposing counsel from even filing motions to disqualify with respect to the latter.

Successfully defeated a motion to disqualify brought by one AmLaw 100 firm against another AmLaw firm.

Litigated numerous malpractice cases, at both the appellate and the trial level. Obtained a dismissal of all counts at the motion to dismiss state on behalf of a client based on ripeness and damages issues.

Obtained dismissals in five separate bar disciplinary matters in which the presiding judge or court filed a complaint or found misconduct against our client. Also obtained a dismissal in a bar matter in which a court had previously disqualified the client for a conflict of interest.


Prior to private practice, Mr. Mason worked for the Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland, where he represented clients in a wide variety of cases, including espionage, civil rights, mail and wire fraud, and controlled substance prosecutions. He went on to join the District of Columbia Public Defender Service where he had an intensive criminal trial and appellate practice.

Mr. Mason served on the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee from 2006 to 2012, including three terms as Chair from 2009 to 2012. Mr. Mason is currently a member of the District of Columbia Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee. He also served on this Committee from 2002 through 2008. During his tenure, the Committee adopted the most extensive revisions to the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct since the D.C. Bar adopted the Rules themselves in 1991.

Mr. Mason speaks and writes frequently on ethics and malpractice matters. He is a frequent speaker at the D.C. Bar and has also spoken before various sections of the American Bar Association, the Practising Law Institute, the America Law Institute and a number of other bar and industry organizations. He has written on such topics as non-lawyer partners and multiple “of counsel” relationships with different law firms. Mr. Mason has taught ethics and professional responsibility at the Georgetown University School of Law since 2008 and has taught on various subjects at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Columbus School of Law at Catholic University and American University’s Washington College of Law.

Mr. Mason has been nationally recognized by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers and he is AV Peer Review rated by Martindale-Hubbell with a 5.0 out of 5.0 rating.

RICHARD FRIES is a co-leader of Sidley’s global real estate practice and is well-known throughout the New York and national legal, real estate and finance communities. According to Chambers USA, “true master negotiator” Richard Fries is a “superstar” who is regarded as “one of the premier real estate litigators in the City.” Chambers notes that he is “extremely well respected for his collaborative approach and expertise in complex workout and restructuring matters.” In 2014 and 2015 Who's Who Legal acknowledged Richard as one of the 10 "Most Highly Regarded" real estate lawyers in all of North America.

Richard focuses his practice on a wide array of complex real estate financing and workouts transactions, in which he represents national and global institutional lenders, investment banks and private equity firms.

Richard has been involved in the financing, foreclosure and restructuring of permanent, construction, acquisition, bridge and mezzanine loans of all types, including agented and syndicated facilities, secured by office buildings, land development projects, healthcare complexes, hotels, mixed-use projects, condominium and rental apartment buildings, shopping centers, franchise operations and automobile dealerships, among other real estate and business assets.

Richard is particularly distinguished for his work in high-profile distressed commercial loan workouts and restructurings, mortgage foreclosure, distressed portfolio and asset sales, creditors’ rights and insolvency. With a keen understanding of the “last day” of a defaulted loan workout, Richard has developed a unique market-leading practice using litigation tools to restructure real estate loans, projects and businesses. His experience and reputation in loan workouts has been acknowledged by Chambers as “legendary.”

He also has extensive experience representing private equity investors, property owners and developers in real estate joint ventures, commercial real estate litigation, construction, hospitality and partnership disputes, asset disposition, loan portfolio sales and project development.

Richard also represents national lending institutions in the purchase and sale of performing and underperforming loan portfolios, real estate assets and participation interests in loans, and the implementation of national standard loan and workout programs and documentation for real estate, commercial and private banking loan products.

Richard has been highly recognized by Chambers USA as one of the country’s leading real estate lawyers. He has been ranked by Chambers in “Band 1” in Real Estate Nationwide for 2013 (the year such rankings began) through 2016 and in “Band 1” for Real Estate Finance in New York each year from 2009 through 2016. He has also been recognized as a Leading Lawyer in The Legal 500 for Real Estate and was named by Best Lawyers as its Real Estate Litigation Lawyer of the Year in New York City in 2013.


  • Chambers USA, Real Estate Finance, New York, Band 1 (2009–2016)
  • Chambers USA, Real Estate, Nationwide, Band 1 (2013–2016)
  • The Legal 500, Real Estate (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016)
  • Best Lawyers, New York City Litigation - Real Estate Lawyer of the Year (2013)
  • Best Lawyers, Real Estate (2008, 2010–2017)
  • International Who’s Who of Real Estate Lawyers (2010–2014)
  • Who’s Who Legal, Real Estate (2010–2016) (“Most Highly Regarded,” 2014 and 2015)
  • Law360, Real Estate MVP (2011)
  • NY Super Lawyers, Top 100 list (2011–2016)
  • NY Super Lawyers, Real Estate (2006–2016)
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Real Estate Lawyers (2008, 2010, 2012)
  • Real Estate Weekly’s “All Stars in Real Estate” (2008)


Recent Representative Transactions Include:

  • Representation of several financial institutions in the origination and syndication of numerous high-profile and newsworthy acquisition, construction, development, bridge and mezzanine loans to owners, developers and their joint venture investors secured by office buildings, condominium and rental apartment complexes, hotels, other real estate projects and new ground-up construction sites located throughout the New York metropolitan area and nationally.
  • Representation of a syndicate of European financial institutions in the recapitalization and restructuring of a multi-tranche $1 billion real estate loan secured by a high-profile office building located in San Francisco. 
  • Representation of a private equity investor in the recapitalization of more than $2 billion of distressed multi-site development projects, mezzanine loans and joint venture interests located in Southern and Central California (each consisting of several thousand residential land development lots), as well as hotels and apartment complexes located nationwide, including repositioning a New York City residential apartment complex known as Riverhouse (one of the largest  “green” development residential projects in the country) and the restructure of partnership interests and real estate indebtedness in connection therewith. 
  • Representation of several financial institutions in distressed real estate loan workouts, mortgage foreclosures, restructures and insolvency proceedings involving office buildings, apartment complexes, new construction sites, assisted living facilities, undeveloped land assemblages, shopping centers, oil and gas and fast food franchise locations, hotels and related hospitality assets located throughout the country.
  • Representation of a lender syndicate, as senior lender, in the foreclosure, workout and ultimate disposition of a multi-tiered, multi-lender loan secured by The Ritz Carlton Club and The Residences at Kapalua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, a development consisting of hundreds of condominium units and fractional time shares managed, operated and controlled by Ritz Carlton.
  • Representation of a financial institution in the workout, through a future transfer (secured by springing guaranties, a consent judgment of foreclosure and a consensual sealed bid auction) of title in lieu of foreclosure, of a first mortgage loan on the Verizon Building, a vacant 800,000 square foot property located in lower Manhattan now used as a major East Coast data center and technology building.
  • Representation of a life insurance company, as the first lienholder, in a contested foreclosure action, repositioning of the underlying indebtedness and a loan sale through a consensual foreclosure process involving a major hotel located in New York, New York and the rights and interests of a ground lessor, several tranches of debt and equity, a hotel management company and numerous hotel suppliers.
  • Representation of the purchaser and holder of a distressed real estate loan on commercial property located in Tribeca, New York including the acquisition of the loan, the commencement and prosecution of the mortgage foreclosure of the real estate and the workout of the defaulted loan through a deed in lieu of foreclosure delivered by the owner to an affiliate of the purchaser of the loan.
  • Representation of a global financial institution in the sale, disposition and liquidation, over the past several years, of several portfolios of commercial real estate loans and hundreds of individual loans, each secured by real estate assets located throughout the country.
  • Representation of private equity firms in the acquisition of distressed real estate loans and the subsequent enforcement of remedies to facilitate the transfer of ownership of the loans into ownership of the underlying assets.
  • Representation of several global financial institutions in the origination and workout of numerous separate multi-jurisdictional commercial franchise finance loans secured by fast food (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s, among others) restaurants, hospitality facilities and oil and gas (Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Sunoco, Valero, among others) service stations and convenience stores located throughout the United States.


  • Co-author, “What’s New and Different, and What Isn’t,” New York Commercial Observer (September 9, 2016).
  • Co-author, “Appellate Decision Unwinds Foreclosure Purchase,” NYLJ, (August 23, 2015).
  • Author, “Commercial Division’s Rocket Docket,” New York Law Journal (August 18, 2014).
  • Co-author, “Distressed Real Estate Loan Dispute Resolution in 2012: Latest Developments, Trends and Strategies,” Inside the Minds: Real Estate Dispute Resolution (April 2012).
  • Co-author, “Residential Mortgage Foreclosure: It’s A Whole New Ballgame,” NYLJ (March 14, 2011).
  • Co-author, “A Primer on Today’s Commercial Loan Forbearance Agreement,” NYLJ (March 15, 2010).
  • Preparation of Practice Commentaries on New York’s Non-Judicial Foreclosure Statute Matthew Bender (May 2005).
  • Non-Judicial Foreclosure Legislation in New York (enacted July 7, 1998).
  • “Legal Counsel” (formerly known as “It’s The Law”), Real Estate Forum, monthly, and then quarterly, column (1982–2000).