Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use

We have been serving the diverse and complex needs of the real estate community for many years through its inevitable economic cycles and constant regulatory changes. Our clients have continued to rely on us for our ability to effectively negotiate the nuances of any real estate transaction and to "close the deal." Lead by Gary S. Forshner, who also serves as the Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Land Use Section, we have a depth of experience in our real estate department that enables us to carefully, efficiently and cost-effectively serve the needs and interests of our clients.

Interpersonal skills and knowledge of state, county and municipal laws are critical to success when guiding our clients through the approval and regulatory maze of the real estate market. We regularly appear before planning and zoning boards, as well as other administrative bodies and agencies.

The real estate capabilities of our firm span many departments. Clients with real estate needs are able to draw from our firm's experience in the legal areas of commercial and residential real estate, land use planning, environmental regulation, redevelopment, eminent domain, historic preservation, development financing and tax incentives, business formation counseling and estate planning.

We represent clients in all phases of real estate development, zoning, sales, purchases, financing and leasing. Specifically, we assist clients in the following types of legal matters:

  • Acquisition and development financing
  • Condominium documentation and DCA registration
  • Construction lending and negotiations
  • Construction litigation
  • Contract negotiations
  • Easements and restrictions
  • Environmental regulation and litigation
  • Financing transactions
  • Foreclosures and work-outs
  • Land use planning/development regulation and litigation
  • Mortgage transactions
  • Planning and Zoning Board Approvals
  • Purchase and sale transactions
  • Real estate tax appeals
  • Real property litigation
  • Sales/leasebacks and exchanges
  • Title questions
  • Zoning regulation and litigation


  • Affordable housing regulation compliance, development and litigation
  • Apartment complexes
  • Age restricted housing
  • Commercial buildings and retail centers
  • Condominiums and townhouses
  • Health care facilities
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Mixed use buildings and facilities
  • Office and industrial parks
  • Office buildings
  • Planned Unit Developments
  • Residential developments and subdivisions
  • Shopping malls and retail centers


  • Architects and Engineers
  • Banks and other institutional lenders
  • Brokers
  • Builders
  • Community and Condominium Associations
  • Construction Managers
  • Contractors
  • Developers
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Hotel / Resort Owners
  • Individual Landowners and Purchasers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Landlords and Tenants
  • Landowners
  • Property Managers
  • Regulatory Agencies (e.g. FDIC, RTC)
  • Title Companies

Redevelopment Experience
Redevelopment and urban renewal is a function of urban planning that is often used as a way to reinvigorate blighted residential and commercial areas. Stark & Stark's Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use Group assists both local and national builders as well as individuals in the creation, implementation and challenge of redevelopment plans. Our team of redevelopment attorneys has experience counseling clients involved in the redevelopment of industrial sites, mixed-use properties and parking lots. Through this experience we are well-positioned to assist in drafting redevelopment plans, obtaining town and municipality approvals and tax abatement and redevelopment financing, facilitating environmental remediation, securing property appraisals and preparing purchase and sale agreements. Recently we have been involved in redevelopment projects including:
  • Represented a national real estate developer in redeveloping the American Standard industrial site in Mercer County. This project involved a 112-acre parcel that was subdivided into two pieces. The first piece, containing approximately 65 acres and the original 750,000+ square foot industrial facility was redeveloped into approximately 485,000 square feet of Class A office space. We successfully obtained development approvals for this phase of the project.
  • We also represented a second real estate developer in another phase of the American Standard industrial site redevelopment, for which development approvals were obtained for 680 residential townhouse, condominium and apartment units. The initial approval of this phase of the project was appealed to the Law Division and the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, where we successfully defended the approval.
  • Currently representing a client in the redevelopment of vacant buildings, land and parking areas in Trenton. The project, when completed, will contain a four-story building housing 99 residential apartment units, three commercial buildings consisting of approximately 99,000 square feet of space to be used as an entertainment district, and a four-story parking garage containing approximately 690 parking spaces.
  • Represented a developer in challenging a redevelopment plan, and successfully negotiated with the municipality to have our client named as redeveloper.
  • Representing a national builder in obtaining redevelopment financing for property in Somerset County.
  • Represented a condominium association in challenging a redevelopment area designation in southern New Jersey and successfully negotiated a settlement with the redeveloper.
  • Represented a property owner in challenging a redevelopment area designation and plan. We were successful in persuading the court to vacate and remand the matter.
  • Representing related entities that own commercial property in Somerset County in challenging a redevelopment area designation and plan.
Environmental Services
We maintain a team of attorneys to address the issues affecting property transfer, such as environmental audits, Phase I & II assessments, ISRA compliance and soil and groundwater remediation. We also assist clients in evaluating business decisions by taking into account the potential environmental costs and liabilities, which could significantly impact the feasibility or financial advisability of acquisitions and other transactions.

For our clients who commit their resources to compliance, we help them to recognize the public relations advantages of wise corporate stewardship of environmental assets, especially in the area of "green" marketing and Brownfield redevelopment opportunities.

Stark & Stark works with top environmental consultants to help regulated industries, landowners, lenders, and other businesses understand and work within New Jersey's complex environmental regulatory framework. Further, Stark & Stark seeks on behalf of its clients to spur the growth of industry by invoking the Brownfield and other programs that permit new businesses to thrive in what were once blighted neighborhoods.

Our clients include environmental permitees, landowners, developers, businesses and industry, many of whom have some environmental concern or liability. We are able to take the macro view of the many related legal disciplines that are required in the evaluation, analysis, and management of environmental issues.