With some of the most stringent regulations in the United States, California is a challenging state in which to develop real estate projects. Successfully navigating the ever-present—and ever-changing—obstacles requires sophisticated legal counsel with the right mix of experience, knowledge of California’s regulatory regime, and ability to work collaboratively with government agencies.
Akerman represents clients developing properties throughout California for commercial, residential, mixed-use, institutional, and industrial purposes, guiding them through the entire entitlement process—from site evaluation and selection to project approval and opening. As part of a national team that is recognized by U.S. News – Best Lawyers as a leader in land use, zoning, and real estate law, we have a strong track record in handling complex, high-profile projects. Our lawyers and planners understand that a sophisticated, comprehensive approach is needed to balance the interests of our clients, the community, and governmental agencies. Our insights into the strategic and business factors involved in land development allow us to formulate strategies that effectively balance governmental advocacy and public relations considerations.
Our team routinely conducts due diligence and entitlements analyses and assesses site development options to determine the highest and best use of the property. In addition, once a site is selected, our team guides clients through the land use and entitlement process with local jurisdictions and also advises on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Subdivision Map Act, Coastal Act, and other local, state, and federal regulatory compliance matters. Moreover, we provide land use guidance and analyses related to the acquisition, disposition, and financing of properties, including distressed assets. Our team also drafts and negotiates development agreements, settlement agreements, and other legal instruments between governmental agencies and private parties to secure development rights and advance our clients' interests.