Commercial, Retail, Industrial, and Multi-Family Real Estate The Stark & Stark Commercial, Retail, Industrial, and Multi-Family Real Estate practice has expanded into two separate areas of concentration. Shopping Center and Retail Development Group Multi-Family and Apartment Group Our teams of attorneys do still provide the following services to clients. Practice Services Our Commercial Real Estate attorneys understand the commercial, retail, industrial, and multi-family real estate community, have extensive legal and business experience and are active members of the ICSC, NAIOP and other professional industry organizations, and frequently speak at their local and national conventions. The group members each bring a niche focus to the practice, which includes: Zoning & Land Use Purchase and Sale Financing Lease Drafting and Negotiation Commercial Evictions/Collections Tenant Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Property Tax Appeals Eminent Domain Construction Defect Litigation Insurance Coverage Environmental Condominium Formation and Conversion Green Building Title Review Zoning and Land Use Having served the diverse and complex needs of the real estate community for many years through its inevitable economic cycles and constant regulatory changes, our clients rely on us for our ability to efficiently and cost-effectively negotiate the nuances of any real estate transaction and “close the deal.” Our knowledge of state, county and municipal laws is critical to success when guiding our clients through the approval and regulatory process. On our client’s behalf, we regularly appear before planning and zoning boards as well as other administrative bodies and agencies and our title support staff, including paralegals, can assist with title reviews nationally. Purchase and Sale Using their negotiating skills and experience, our attorneys work quickly and efficiently provide regular counsel on entity selection, purchase, sale and lease contracts, tax consequences, environmental considerations and ramifications, dispositions of abandoned properties and financing sources, deadlines, escrows and deposits. Financing Our attorneys counsel clients through the process of financing assets from retail, office, hotel, industrial, health care, casino and other properties. We advise on transactions associated with the acquisition, construction, development, re-development, refinancing and sale of commercial, retail, industrial and multi-family properties. Although the process of securing third-party financing for a commercial property can be complicated, we are experienced in helping clients navigate the varied closing procedures of individual financial institutions. We represent borrowers in the acquisition of interim and permanent loans, loans for construction and development, and letters of credit, able to assist borrowers with any mortgage financing scenarios that may arise. Lease Drafting and Negotiation Stark & Stark consults real estate clients on all lease negotiations including developers, REITS and owners of commercial, retail, industrial and multi-family locations throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The Commercial Real Estate Group has an established history of successfully, efficiently, and cost-effectively helping clients lease, manage and improve retail, office and industrial properties, helping clients minimize risks by expediting lease negotiations and taking care to avoid “lease landmines” that could increase costs and impact income. Commercial Evictions/Collections We have long protected landlord’s rights in evictions and are experienced in filing and prosecuting eviction actions, as we understand our client’s need to have disruptive or non-paying tenants quickly evicted. We have been extremely successful in negotiating the resumption of payments, receiving timely Court-ordered removal of tenants who have breached the terms of their commercial lease agreements and obtaining and collecting on monetary judgments including executing on bank accounts, personal assets and auctioning assets so that landlords can offer turn-key operations to a new tenant. In addition, we are apt at continuing the litigation process to collect all sums due and owing for landlords. At Stark & Stark, we’ve been assisting businesses and professionals with the collection of their unpaid accounts for over seventy years. Our Group is skilled in developing collection programs that are tailored to the client’s business needs and includes skip tracing and asset search teams. These teams have access to the latest technology, with online access to multiple credit bureaus, taxing authorities and public websites to efficiently gather the information that is relevant to pursuing claims. The services our collection attorneys provide do not extend only to recovering debts on behalf of our clients. It allows us to provide additional value to our clients through structuring strategies and procedures that assist in reducing future debt collection problems. Our Group’s attorneys strive to protect a commercial landlord’s rights as well as their business interests when dealing with problem tenants. We utilize a dual strategy of working with tenants to resume payments, while at the same time preparing for eviction/collection proceedings so there is no delay in resolving the issue if negotiations are not successful. Tenant Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights A benefit to our Commercial, Retail, Industrial and Multi-Family Real Estate clients is our ability to tap the resources of our firm’s Bankruptcy & Creditor’s Rights Group. Our team assists real estate clients through the process of bankruptcies, the assumption or rejection of leases, post-petition obligations and the payment of administrative claims. In addition, we have been very successful in litigating adversary proceedings, including preference claims, which protect clients from having to return pre-bankruptcy rent payments and also have been successful in getting a landlord out of a tenant’s bankruptcy case and back into the state court case for an expedited removal. No matter the bankruptcy issue, we can successfully address it for our clients. Property Tax Appeals Managing costs is a challenging task for commercial property managers and landlords, and our attorney team works closely with select real estate appraisers to assist clients in evaluating when to file a property tax appeal. We prepare and litigate appeals before all County Tax Boards and the New Jersey State Tax Court and have been successful in obtaining significant property tax assessment reductions for commercial landlords. Eminent Domain Redevelopment and urban renewal is a function of urban planning that is often used as a way to reinvigorate blighted residential and commercial areas. We assist both local and national commercial, retail, industrial and multi-family property owners and managers in the creation, implementation and challenge of redevelopment plans. Our team of redevelopment attorneys provides counseling experience to 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; redevelopment financing; facilitating environmental remediation; securing property appraisals and preparing purchase and sale agreements. Our attorneys are experienced in protecting the rights of owners of properties that are subject of condemnation proceedings and who have the right to contest the offer for government compensation when a property is taken under eminent domain. Our multidisciplinary approach gives us the ability to serve the needs that may arise during the property condemnation process. While we work to protect the interests of property owners, we are simultaneously obtaining a better understanding of the variations between real estate market values. Construction Defect Litigation The Stark & Stark Construction Litigation team represents owners of professional office buildings in litigation of construction cases across New Jersey. Attorneys in our Construction Litigation Group have particular expertise in litigation involving deficiencies relating to roofs, siding and other cladding systems, fire suppression systems, filigree slab systems, structural failures, HVAC and other mechanical systems, electrical systems, sanitary sewer systems and other site issues. We maintain relationships with an extensive array of leading experts including renowned forensic architects, engineers, mold experts, certified industrial hygienists and accountants, building code officials, repair contractors, along with many others which enable the Group to quickly assemble the right team to efficiently manage our litigation matters and effectively present our client’s strongest case. Insurance Coverage Massive damage from Superstorm Sandy brought greater focus to our commercial, retail, industrial and multi-family real estate client’s insurance coverage. The Group’s attorneys advise commercial real estate clients in matters involving commercial liability, errors and omissions, fire, flood, and other related insurance coverage applicable to our clients. We counsel clients so they thoroughly understand the coverage they are entitled to and analyze and interpret the insurance policies they have selected or are deciding to select. Environmental Doing business in today’s world requires organizations to navigate a labyrinth of federal, state and municipal regulations. Stark & Stark maintains 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. We help our clients identify other parties, which may be responsible for a particular environmental concern, and assist in cost recovery actions against those parties. Insurance policies also play a role as a source of additional coverage for the cleanup of contaminated soils and water. 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 programs and enterprise zone opportunities that permit new businesses to thrive in what were once blighted neighborhoods. Condominium Formation and Conversion When developers and building owners desire to create a condominium, whether for improved or unimproved property, specific documentation must be prepared and recorded in the land records. In addition, if the property is residential, certain governmental approvals and permits must be obtained from government agencies. As condominiums can be a useful tool in the commercial context, and condominium documents can be negotiated and drafted in order to conform to the needs of a particular buyer or seller in a transaction. As a result, our attorneys are able to help clients establish the condominium form of ownership for property, as well as assist clients with preparing the requisite documentation and obtaining any required governmental approvals. Green Building The introduction of green building and planning principles to the land development arena has increased the need for attorneys who are knowledgeable in green construction, planning, design and marketing. Our ability to understand green building principles and how local and municipal zoning ordinances impact green construction proves to be an invaluable resource for developers in reducing costs and maximizing the efficiency of green construction. The growing interest in the construction and operation of energy-efficient lease spaces has created a demand among both landlords and tenants to rethink how they build out, use and occupy space in commercial buildings. Title Review Prior to your real estate closing, Stark & Stark can fulfill title search requirements, including the review of liens, mortgages, escrows, easements and other matters of record. We advise clients on required title insurance, and if unacceptable encumbrances are identified, we will notify them and meet to discuss options, including withdrawal from the sale and negotiations with the seller or owner. We can also help manage title insurance, providing purchasers the assurance they will acquire the property they intended, guarding against financial loss due to title defects should a claim against the title arise.