Cecelia Bonifay

Chair, Land Use and Development Practice


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Cecelia Bonifay, chair of Akerman's Land Use and Development Practice, helps developers navigate the governmental approval process for their real estate projects. With a strong background in urban planning and development approvals for large-scale projects, she has represented DDR, FedEx, Kitson & Partners, Mattamy Homes, and Pineloch Management, among others in the development of commercial, residential, and industrial projects. Clients benefit from her keen analysis of a wide range of land use, zoning, sustainable development, and environmental matters. She performs due diligence for development projects in Florida and across the United States.

Collaborating with the firm’s land use development and planning professionals, Cecelia assists clients in permitting and structuring economic incentives packages. Having worked in a variety of posts in Florida government agencies, Cecelia understands the approval process from both sides of the table. Her professional accolades include recognition in Chambers USA and The Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in land use and zoning.

Cecelia has devoted more than 25 years to the community. She has held several leadership positions at the Urban Land Institute, including co-chair of the Climate Change, Land Use, and Energy Committee, immediate past chair of its Florida Statewide Summit, a current member of its 2017 Executive Planning Committee, and chair of its Central Florida District Council. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Kelley A. Bergstrom Real Estate Center at the University of Florida and secretary treasurer of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. She also serves as the president emeritus of the Crealde School of Art and as a board member of United Arts of Central Florida.

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