Archives: Real Estate Development

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(US) Pop-Up Retail: a temporary fix becomes a mainstream development tool

“Pop-Up” retail, the use of short-term sales space to house retailers in connection with a trendy seasonal or up-and-coming product has increased in popularity over the last several years. Target, Nike, Google and Microsoft are recent examples of retailers who have successfully opened pop-up shops. Recently, the concept of the pop-up shop has expanded beyond … Continue Reading

(US) PA Supreme Court Act 13 decision disappoints the Oil and Gas Industry

This post was also written by Peter Schnore. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s December 2013 decision regarding the constitutionality of the 2012 law amending Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act (Act 13) came as a disappointment to the oil and gas industry. Conversely, the decision was a holiday gift to those governments, groups and individuals seeking greater … Continue Reading

(US) California Nonresidential Building Owners Face New Energy Use Disclosure Requirements In 2014

Effective January 1, 2014, owners of nonresidential buildings of 10,000 square feet or more must disclose energy use information to prospective purchasers, lessees and lenders. Owners of nonresidential buildings 5,000 square feet or more can look forward to the same disclosure obligations beginning July 1, 2014. The new law (AB 1103) establishes a benchmarking system … Continue Reading

(US) The Ring of Solitude; Negotiating a Retail Lease Radius Clause

The August 2013 issue of the Commercial Lease Law Insider featured an article about negotiating lease radius clauses which was voted the best issue of 2013 by the publication’s insider subscribers. Why would radius clauses garner such interest? Radius clauses are an important tool at the disposal of a retail landlord to protect its economic … Continue Reading

(US) Creative Financing-Let the Purchaser Do It

Despite the recent low interest rate environment, some projects just will not support market rate construction loans. What then is the developer to do? Over the last few years developers have begun to turn to the purchaser to finance construction of a project. This technique can be used for both residential and commercial development. Many … Continue Reading

(US) Land Banks: Too Good to Fail

This post was written by Dusty Elias Kirk and Gerald S. Dickinson. Pennsylvania municipalities and potential developers interested in converting vacant, abandoned, tax delinquent or foreclosed properties into productive use should take note of legislation enacted in 2012 that permits a municipality with more than 10,000 residents to create a land bank.1 Land banks are … Continue Reading

(US) First Step in Regulatory Relief for Condominium Developments

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve H.R. 2600, which, if ultimately passed, would expressly exempt condominium developments from the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (“ILSA”). If a developer fails to satisfy ILSA requirements, a contract purchaser may have revocation rights; so an exemption from ILSA would be a welcome … Continue Reading

(US) FHA Condominium Approval – Mixed-use Projects

On September 13, 2012, FHA issued Mortgagee Letter 2012-18, putting in place a few temporary condominium project approval guideline changes, effective through August 31, 2014. Among the guidelines affected is the maximum percentage of non-residential space permitted in the project to qualify for FHA financing. Under the previous guideline, no more than 25 percent of … Continue Reading

(US) Brownfield Owners and Developers Take Note: EPA Issues New Guidelines Emphasizing and Strengthening Institutional Controls

This post was written by Edward V. Walsh III. Brownfield developers and owners of contaminated property contemplating a cleanup should take note of two important guidelines issued by the U.S. EPA. These guidelines recommend early consideration of the use of institutional controls (legal documents such as deed restrictions, restrictive covenants and the like) in planning … Continue Reading

(US) How did you calculate my oil and gas royalty? Pennsylvania Legislature Seeks Clarity.

The Pennsylvania legislature is considering amendments to the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act (GMRA) that would require oil and gas lessees to disclose to oil and gas lessors the post-production costs deducted from the sale of gas to calculate the royalty owner’s 12.5 percent minimum guaranteed royalty. House Bill 1414 would require oil and gas producers … Continue Reading

(US) Where is my Blanket (Assignment)?

Pa. House Bill would end longstanding blanket conveyancing practice and increase transaction costs. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is considering drastic changes to Pennsylvania recording and conveyancing laws that would significantly increase real property transactional costs. House Bill 942, introduced March 12, 2013, would prohibit the transfer of multiple properties with one instrument, except for … Continue Reading

(US) The Truck Stops Here – Or Should It?

According to the National Restaurant Association, the proliferation of food trucks has been one of the hottest trends in the food service industry the last few years. Such trucks have become technologically advanced and bear little resemblance to the “Good Humor” trucks and the so-called construction site “chuckwagons” that have previously dominated the mobile-food-truck sector. … Continue Reading

(US) Federal Courts Continue Expansion of Applicability of Interstate Land Sales Act: Entities Engaging in Advertising or Marketing Activities Held to be “Developers” Under Act

This post was written by Meredith Hartley and Robert Diamond. On January 14, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that liability under the anti-fraud provisions of the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (“ILSA”) extends to an entity that engaged in advertising or marketing activities in the course of a transaction covered by … Continue Reading

Illinois Legislation Trumps In re Crane Bankruptcy Court Decision

Since the In re Crane decision was handed down by the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of Illinois in April 2012, all eyes in the mortgage banking industry have been focused on the appeal of the decision pending in the U.S. District Court, in the hopes that the widely criticized ruling of the Bankruptcy … Continue Reading

When Is a Property Owner Entitled to a Property Tax Exemption?

Recent Developments in the Law Portend of Widespread Reconsideration of This Question This post was written by Dusty Elias Kirk with Contribution from Kyle Smith. Courts in a number of states are reconsidering how to determine whether a property owner, often a nonprofit entity, is entitled to a property tax exemption or other special property tax … Continue Reading

Can Public Agencies and Private Developers Work Together to Help Fix Pennsylvania’s Transportation Infrastructure? The Promise of P3 Legislation

Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure needs far surpass the Commonwealth’s ability to fund them. According to a 2010 study by the State Transportation Advisory Committee, an additional $3.5 billion a year is needed to fully meet those needs. To close the funding gap and facilitate the development of new transportation facilities throughout the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania, on July … Continue Reading

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral, What is Marcellus Shale?

Title to Oil and Gas in PA Threatened In 1882, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania pronounced what would be known as the Rule in Dunham’s Case. In Dunham and Shortt v. Kirkpatrick, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a grant or reservation of "all minerals" does not include oil or gas, despite the fact that … Continue Reading

Marcellus Shale Uncertainty: Pennsylvania Municipal Zoning Ordinances Held to Trump Statewide Uniformity

On July 26, 2012, in a decision of major significance to the Marcellus Shale industry, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in the case of Robinson Township et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission et al., No. 284 M.D. 2012 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2012), declared Section 3304 of Act 13 of Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas … Continue Reading

New Lawsuit May Derail Fiber-Optics Installations in Western PA

A class-action complaint, filed this July in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, seeks millions of dollars in damages from four telecom companies, alleging a deliberate failure to obtain the permission of hundreds of Beaver County property owners before burying fiber-optic cables on their lands. According to the plaintiffs in Lake … Continue Reading

New Developments in Real Estate Construction Loans in Pennsylvania

This posting was also written by Curt Heffler. Construction Ahead: In a recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case (Commerce Bank v. Kessler), the court held that an open-end mortgage recorded after commencement of construction on the mortgaged property does not have statutory priority over a subsequently recorded mechanic’s lien unless all of the proceeds of the loan … Continue Reading

Chicago Wins the Latest Round: In a Longstanding Battle, Court Upholds Chicago Landmarks Ordinance Against Constitutional-Vagueness Challenge by Property Owners

The City of Chicago has prevailed in the latest round of a "no holds barred" battle with local property owners over the constitutionality of The Chicago Landmarks Ordinance. In a decision dated May 2, 2012 by the Circuit Court of Cook County, the property owners' claims that the Landmarks Ordinance was unconstitutionally vague and violated due process were rejected, and the court upheld the Ordinance. Hanna and Mrowka v. City of Chicago. No. 06 CH 19422. The landowners had previously won a highly favorable ruling at the appellate court level (in 2009), which raised the prospect of the invalidation of the Ordinance (as reported in a previous Reed Smith Client Alert) - a result that would have sent shockwaves through the historic preservation community nationwide. With the case remanded to it for decision, the trial court considered the due process vagueness issue in detail, including as to the clarity of the Ordinance's criteria for landmark status; but it was not persuaded by the property owners' arguments, and found that they did not meet their burden of rebutting the presumption of the constitutionality of the legislation, thus upholding the Ordinance.… Continue Reading

Financing Contingencies and Earnest Money Deposits: If I Can’t Get My Loan, I Get My Deposit Back, Right?

Real estate purchasers whose contract permits the return of the earnest money deposit if financing cannot be obtained must be extremely careful in how this contingency is worded in the purchase contract, or a purchaser may get an unwelcome surprise, and be forced to forfeit the earnest money when financing cannot be obtained. Typically, when … Continue Reading

Chicago’s Vacant Building Ordinance Addresses Some Serious Problems – and Creates Some of Its Own, Too

Chicago's Vacant Building Ordinance, which imposes substantial and unprecedented duties on mortgagees of residential real estate located in the city of Chicago, continues to generate controversy - and lawsuits.… Continue Reading
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