Greenberg Traurig’s Powerhouse Real Estate Practice Thrives Despite ‘2020’: Diverse Roster of Clients, Asset Classes & Global Platform Made the Difference

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Throughout 2020, a diverse roster of clients across international markets and sectors allowed Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s award-winning Global Real Estate Practice to mitigate and counteract the catastrophic effects that the Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic had on the real estate sector worldwide.

Throughout 2020, a diverse roster of clients across international markets and sectors allowed Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s award-winning Global Real Estate Practice to mitigate and counteract the catastrophic effects that the Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic had on the real estate sector worldwide.

The powerhouse practice, which comprises 500 attorneys in 40 offices around the world (30 in the United States) was thrown head first into unprecedented situations during this year’s pandemic, as were its clients.

The pandemic shifted consumer demands, redefined the office environment, and impacted the hotel and travel industry, among many others. Greenberg Traurig’s Real Estate Practice mobilized its global platform and depth of experience whenever and wherever clients needed them. These talented legal professionals utilized their depth of experience to assist the firm’s diverse client base in emerging alternative assets brought to the forefront by the global crisis and guided those facing pandemic related challenges.

During this tumultuous year, the team closed on several landmark deals, including one of the largest commercial real estate sales in the United States, specifically in the New York office market; served as real estate counsel to one of the largest U.S. food and drug retailers; and lead on three of the top 20 real estate deals in Europe.

“Almost every day this year presented new challenges, and opportunities, for our clients around the world. The breadth and depth of our national and international platforms allowed us to act quickly and decisively to our clients’ immediate needs while also preparing them for the next normal. We were tactical in addressing our clients’ pandemic challenges and strategic in helping them close deals and fortify their platforms for what lies ahead,” said Stephen L. Rabinowitz, co-chair of the firm's Global Real Estate Practice and co-managing shareholder of the firm’s largest office, New York. “Overall, we were side-by-side with our clients in preserving their current real estate positions and helping them write the script for value-creation over the longer term.”

The “new normal” often meant closing deals remotely, cut-off from customary resources, and pivoting as financing and asset pricing, terms, and parties changed daily.

“As the pandemic deepened, we managed to successfully work through distressed asset situations, while also supporting clients opportunistically looking forward with new transactions, both domestically and cross-border, with logistics leading the way, along with alternative asset classes such as single-family residential, student housing and medical office,” said Michael J. Baum, co-chair of the practice.

Greenberg Traurig’s global legal services platform and highly experienced legal talent proved essential for clients seeking advice on vital portfolio management strategy, including leasing and finance distress matters; workplace protocols; compliance with government orders and regulations; and finding value in emerging asset classes.

“As the commercial real estate market normalizes in 2021, we are likely to see increasing demand for alternative real estate asset classes,” said Corey E. Light, co-chair of the practice.

“We expect to see growing demand for student housing and senior care facilities, consumers storage space, data centers, life sciences and technology parks, and co-working offices. We are also likely to see an uptick in industrial and logistics operations to accommodate e-commerce,” said Richard J. Giusto, co-chair of the firm's Global Real Estate Practice.

“We look forward to doing more, perhaps differently, focused on moving forward,” Rabinowitz said.

Following are select examples of Greenberg Traurig Global Real Estate team 2020 matters.

Greenberg Traurig Assists Iconic Client in One of the Largest 2020 Commercial Real Estate Sales in the U.S., Specifically in the NY Office Market

Greenberg Traurig represented SL Green Realty in the $952.50 million sale of a 20-story, 636,00 square foot office building located in Manhattan. The sale is one of the largest in the United States since March, specifically in the New York office market. The landmark deal closed in December 2020.

Greenberg Traurig Advises Heimstaden Bostad on the Acquisition of a Residential Real Estate Portfolio for EUR 830 Million; One of the Top 15 Deals in Europe

Greenberg Traurig advised Heimstaden Bostad, one of the largest Swedish housing companies, on the acquisition of a real estate portfolio in Berlin. The purchase price amounts to EUR 830 million. It was reported in PropertyEU magazine as one of the Top 15 deals in Europe for 2020. The portfolio comprises 130 properties and includes 3,902 residential units, 208 commercial units and 321 parking spaces. The total lettable area comprises 282,000 square meters. Greenberg Traurig has advised Heimstaden on all legal aspects of the transaction by way of an asset deal. The firm has already advised the Scandinavian housing group, Heimstaden, on several transactions, including the purchase of 300 residential and commercial units in Berlin for EUR 54 million in May 2020. The transaction, announced in September 2020, is expected to close in early 2021.

Greenberg Traurig Assists in Acquisition and Financing Transaction Involving a Portfolio of 26 Medical Buildings

Greenberg Traurig represented longtime clients, Kayne Anderson Real Estate and Remedy Medical Properties, in the acquisition and financing of a portfolio of 26 medical office buildings located across the country from a publicly-traded REIT. Greenberg Traurig also represented Kayne Anderson Real Estate in the acquisition and financing of a related portfolio involving the acquisition of 7 senior housing facilities from the same publicly-traded REIT. A Greenberg Traurig team spanning over a dozen offices overcame numerous obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic and completed these transactions on an exceedingly tight timeframe, all while working remotely. These transactions required significant contributions from Greenberg Traurig’s multidisciplinary team throughout the United States. The transaction closed August 2020.

Greenberg Traurig is Real Estate Counsel to One of the Largest U.S. Food, Drug Retailers in $1.75B Convertible Preferred Stock Purchase

Greenberg Traurig served as real estate counsel to long-time client Albertsons in the purchase of $1.75 billion of convertible preferred stock of Albertsons led by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, Inc. As one of the largest U.S. food and drug retailers, Albertsons has 2,252 stores in 34 states and Washington D.C. The deal, which closed June 9, 2020, involved thousands of pages of closing documents that needed to be finalized during the pandemic and protests that prevented team members working in the Chicago office. The work was shipped to the firm’s Miami and Phoenix offices, which handled a significant amount of closing documents. The team worked around the clock to finalize this significant transaction. As a client for 14 years, Albertsons regularly relies on Greenberg Traurig for legal work connected to key real estate transactions. The firm’s ability to accomplish a transaction of this magnitude reflects our unmatched platform in real estate by the firm’s ability not only to draw upon lawyers across the U.S. but work with corollary practices under the banner of one firm, such as Corporate, REITs, and Tax. Greenberg Traurig’s team of dedicated attorneys worked relentlessly to assist Albertsons despite the challenges of the pandemic. This closed July 2020.

Greenberg Traurig Helps Client Conduct Purchase Transaction During Lockdowns in NYC, Israel

The firm represented Harel Group, longstanding firm client and major player in the Israeli insurance industry, in negotiation of the purchase agreement for the acquisition of Harel’s 10% interest for $250 million in a building in New York City and the joint venture agreement with Paramount Group, Inc., a fully integrated REIT focused on Class A office assets. The entire transaction was conducted remotely during the height of lockdowns in New York City and Israel. The building is a trophy asset in the city and was refinanced in 2019 by Paramount. The sale of the 10% interest to Harel completed Paramount’s recapitalization of the property. The 48-story, 2,500-square-foot office building is located on Broadway between 50th and 51st streets in midtown Manhattan, with direct access to the subway system and surrounded by popular cultural and entertainment destinations. The transaction, signed in mid-April at the height of COVID-19 and closed in June 2020, was valued at $2.5 billion, making it one of the largest real estate transactions to close in New York City this year. This deal reflects the fact that quality assets in New York City will still attract investors, especially institutional investors who are looking for long term investments, regardless of the pandemic. The deal closed in June 2020.

Team of 35+ Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Represent Publicly Traded NYC-based REIT

A team of more than 35 Greenberg Traurig attorneys represented AFIN, a New York City-based publicly traded REIT, in the successful completion of a real estate financing transaction with Column Financial, Inc. for $715 million in commercial mortgage backed securities, on July 24, 2020. With interest rates at historic lows, AFIN took advantage and was able to lock in an interest rate which will improve the company’s financial position. The firm’s assistance permitted AFIN to work with underwriters to ensure financing that converted almost 28% of AFIN’s total outstanding debt from a two-month maturity into a five-year financing. The CMBS loan is interest-only at an interest rate of 3.74%, has a five-year term and is secured by 368 single-tenant properties. The COVID-19 pandemic caused immediate challenges, some of which included all attorneys, the client, and tenants working entirely remotely, new title and survey inspection protocols and restrictions. The team also had to work through municipal closures across 42 different states and jurisdictions, causing substantial delays. Despite these obstacles, the team worked around the clock putting out fire after fire to successfully complete the transaction. Closed June 2020.

Multidisciplinary Greenberg Traurig Team Assists JV Client in Acquisition of 14 Residential Assets in The Netherlands

The firm represented a joint venture between Round Hill Capital and a Middle-Eastern sovereign wealth fund in the acquisition of 14 residential assets (with 821 apartments), located in Apeldoorn, Amersfoort, Deventer, and Arnhem in the Netherlands. A multidisciplinary team of more than one dozen Greenberg Traurig real estate, corporate, tax and finance professionals were involved in the complex, multinational closing amid the COVID-19 lockdowns in June 2020.

Greenberg Traurig Represents Client in Polish Aspects of Central, Eastern Europe Portfolio Acquisition; One of the Top 10 Deals in Europe

In what PropertyEU magazine reported as among the year’s top 10 deals in Europe, Greenberg Traurig represented GLP on the Polish aspects related to the acquisition of Goodman Group’s Central and Eastern Europe logistics real estate portfolio. GLP is a leading global investment manager and business builder in logistics, real estate, insurance and related technologies. The transaction was subject to customary regulatory approvals. The acquired 2.4 million sqm portfolio is concentrated on key logistics routes across the region with access to growing markets for e-commerce and distribution. The acquisition of the portfolio follows a broader European expansion since GLP entered the market at the end of 2017. The estimated value of the portfolio is EUR 1 billion. The unconditional clearance by the Polish Competition Authority (UOKiK) was secured in May 2020.

Greenberg Traurig Represents Client in Simultaneous Marketing and Sale of 3 of NYC’s Largest Multifamily Projects, First-Class NYC Hotel, and Class A NJ Office Building

Greenberg Traurig represented the owner/developer in the simultaneous marketing and sale of three of the largest multifamily projects in NYC, a first-class hotel located in NYC and a Class A office building in New Jersey. The transaction value is $2.5 billion. Closed February 2020.

Greenberg Traurig advised Garbe Industrial Real Estate on Sale of Logistrial Real Estate in One of the Top 20 Deals in Europe

Greenberg Traurig advised Garbe Industrial Real Estate on the sale of Logistrial Real Estate whereby Garbe sells all shares in the company as well as a logistics portfolio. The portfolio consisted of 13 properties in full occupancy and six project developments in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. PropertyEU magazine ranked the transaction among the Top 20 in Europe this year. The total area of those properties amounts to approximately 580,000 square meters. The purchase price was approximately 800 million Euro. The buyer is Union Investment. The Greenberg Traurig team advised Garbe on all legal aspects of the share deal including advice regarding the form change of the sold company prior to the transaction. Greenberg Traurig has advised Garbe for several years regarding Real Estate M&A and Financing, already in 2016 on the structuring and implementation of the joint venture GIANT (Growth Industrial Asset Net-Income Trust). The sale was announced in February 2020.

Greenberg Traurig Client REIT Sells 6-Building Office Park; Firm Also Worked on Original Purchase in 2008

Greenberg Traurig represented KBS Real Estate Investment Trust relating to its $311MM sale of a six-building office park in New Jersey. The property totaled 1.19MM square feet and is located at 100-600 Campus Drive in Florham Park. Greenberg Traurig also assisted with the 2008 purchase of the office park. The deal closed in January 2020.

About Greenberg Traurig's Global Real Estate Practice: The Greenberg Traurig Global Real Estate Practice is a cornerstone of the firm and recognized leader in the industry. The firm’s real estate attorneys deliver diversified and comprehensive counsel for property acquisition and investment, development, management and leasing, financing, restructuring, and disposition of all asset classes of real estate. The team draws upon the knowledge and experience of more than 500 real estate lawyers from around the world, serving clients from key markets in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. The group’s clientele includes a broad range of property developers, lenders, investment managers, private equity funds, REITs, and private owners. The firm’s real estate team advises clients on a variety of matters across a broad spectrum of commercial, recreational, and residential real estate, including structured equity and debt and the hybrids.

About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT), has approximately 2200 attorneys in 40 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Greenberg Traurig has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. The firm is net carbon neutral with respect to its office energy usage and Mansfield Rule 3.0 Certified. Web: http://www.gtlaw.com

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Lourdes Brezo Martinez
@GT_Law
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