Clients, including commercial property users, owners, developers, contractors, and lenders, seek our counsel for real property transactions, permitting, and litigation matters across a variety of industries, users, and needs, ranging from the ordinary to the most sophisticated, difficult, and complex issues.
Our transactional attorneys are highly experienced problem solvers and negotiators, as well as skillful drafters, noted for their ability to structure, document, negotiate, and close a full range of real estate transactions. They regularly assist commercial property users, owners, developers, lenders, and borrowers in nearly all commercial real estate matters involving land, office buildings, industrial and R&D buildings, retail centers, apartment projects, and cellular lease sites.
Our Land Use attorneys understand local, state, and federal government agencies and how they work. We have extensive experience in all aspects of land use entitlements, CEQA, NEPA, state and federal species, wetlands, water and air quality regulations, and related litigation, representing developers large and small, as well as individual property owners. Our role is to add value through the efficiency, creativity, and correctness of land use entitlement campaigns, no matter how complex. We provide and implement land use approval strategies, advocate for clients through the approval process, and craft the multi-party agreements, municipal contracts and procedural solutions needed to attain our clients’ goals, defending them in litigation, if necessary.
Our construction attorneys advise clients on all aspects of construction law, including contract review, negotiation, drafting, and dispute resolution. We are experienced in all facets of public and private, commercial, industrial, infrastructure and high value residential projects. We regularly assist owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals and suppliers in all states of the project, and our experience covers all types of project delivery mechanisms. Whether the project is to construct a high value residence, commercial building, or complex industrial facility, our construction attorneys bring skill, experience, judgment, and efficiency to the table.
Our Real Estate litigators are skilled in all aspects of litigation and dispute resolution. They are successful trial lawyers who have years of experience in both jury and non-jury trials and binding arbitration. Our Real Estate Litigation Team handles a wide range of complex real estate litigation matters, including acquisition, finance, development, construction, and land use. Our clients include property owners, real estate funds, investors, developers, lenders, brokers, and construction industry professionals. We represent clients in all aspects of complex real estate litigation, including:
- Trials and appeals in all state and federal courts
- Federal, state and regulatory administrative proceedings
- Alternative dispute resolution processes such as arbitration and mediation
- Local government proceedings
While each real estate matter is different, we staff each one to maximize the efficiency and benefit to the client. Our Real Estate Team provides clients with flexible, creative, and pragmatic legal solutions. We aim to achieve timely representation which anticipates and addresses problems and opportunities early in the legal process.
Depth of Services
The members of the Real Estate Team understand the unique physical and economic structure of businesses in Silicon Valley and beyond. Our work in the high-tech sector is much sought after by high-tech tenants, real estate agents, and brokers. Members of our Team have substantial expertise in these and related services:
- Commercial leasing
- Purchase and sale and option transactions
- Real estate finance and loan documentation
- Family and partnership real estate portfolios
- Co-tenancy agreements
- Land use
- Tax deferred exchanges
- Property taxes and exemptions
- Title and title insurance
- Easements, licenses, and servitudes
- State and federal regulatory compliance
- Eminent domain
- Toxic materials regulatory compliance
Our Real Estate Team’s dedication to our clients has resulted in countless projects brought to successful conclusions over the years. A few representative examples of these successes are below.
- Our Real Estate Team has helped hundreds of high-tech companies, from start-up companies to large multinational companies, negotiate leases for corporate offices, research and development buildings, and manufacturing facilities. Our lawyers recognize that high-tech companies require an approach to negotiating leases different from the average commercial lease transaction. Our Team has one of the largest tenant representation teams in Northern California.
- A large regional bank needed to establish an attorney-supervised real estate lending program while controlling costs. Our Team created a fixed-fee loan documentation program in which Hopkins & Carley provided all loan documents for each real estate loan to be documented at a fixed cost paid by the borrower. Once the program was in place, we documented over 150 loans for the bank, ranging from less than $1 million to over $20 million.
- Defended a $20 million claim, on behalf of a real estate fund manager, for fraud and concealment in a three-week binding arbitration involving complex issues arising from a failed real estate project in East Palo Alto.
- A developer client needed help documenting its purchase of several hundred acres of land for development in central California from another sophisticated developer, with a large number of unusual terms. Our Team worked quickly with our client and with opposing counsel to document this complex transaction. The documents were finalized and executed in a matter of days.
- Successfully defended a property owner against claims for easements by prescription and necessity. Affirmed on appeal.
- Successfully partitioned, in trial, hundreds of acres of redwoods property resulting in the shaping of Butano State Park in San Mateo County.
- A client with a vast portfolio of properties throughout California sought the advice and expertise of Hopkins & Carley to help with negotiations and appeals of their real property taxes. Hopkins & Carley helped this client realize significant tax savings.
- Represented a large utility client in the location of two power plants. We worked through the complex CEQA and California Energy Commission processes and successfully guided the client through to zoning approval. We were able to successfully defend the approvals in litigation. A cooperation agreement was negotiated with the city on one controversial site and we attended regular local community meetings throughout the construction process.
- Represented commercial landlords of shopping centers in various disputes:
- Represented the owner of a retail shopping center whose anchor tenant complained of construction defects and withheld nearly a full year’s worth of rent in order to fix the defects. Hopkins & Carley aggressively litigated against the original developer and contractor to recover the rent that was withheld due to the defects, and later brought in the tenant for breach of lease for withholding excess rent. We settled the case at the Mandatory Settlement Conference for an amount that paid our client 100% of both his damages and legal expenses.
- An anchor tenant, a major grocery chain, ceased operations, abandoned the premises, and ceased paying rent and other sums due under its lease. The grocery store tenant tried to argue it had no liability under an assignment it executed with another grocery store business, which also defaulted. With both grocers in default, we filed a civil suit for breach of contract and obtained a $1.2 million writ of attachment for our client before proceeding with a mediation where the case settled for $3.5 million, representing the unpaid base rent, additional rent, and significant consequential losses, including commissions for re-leasing the space, as well as loan penalties and fees from the landlord’s inability to timely refinance the property.
- An anchor tenant failed to timely exercise an option in 2010 under the prime lease, causing it to lose its $6 million investment. The tenant, after acquiring the lease (with a sublease in place through 2020) from the prior tenant, failed to timely exercise the next option under the prime lease to protect its sublease. The tenant argued that principles of equity should save it from its failure to timely exercise. However, we settled the case at mediation with the tenant turning over its $6 million investment to our client, who took over the lease and subleases directly. The tenant relinquished all rights to over $1 million in escrowed rent from the subtenants, which accrued during the pendency of the action.