Real Estate FAQs

What are some common challenges your clients encounter in their commercial real estate ventures?

Obtaining sufficient financing is key to the success of any commercial real estate venture, but the process can be complicated. We help our clients explore different funding channels—from commercial banks to private equity to real estate investment trusts—and determine which ones are the most suitable. We also assist in navigating the challenges that come with securing this capital, including market volatility, regulatory hurdles, changes in lending practices, and fluctuating interest rates.

What is highest and best use in real estate? How do you help clients determine it?

Highest and best use is the most profitable use of a property, whether it is vacant land or an existing building. In both development and redevelopment projects, understanding a property’s highest and best use is key to unlocking its full potential. Four criteria are used to determine highest and best use: legal permissibility, physical possibility, financial feasibility, and maximum productivity. Our attorneys have the specialized knowledge and resources to guide our clients through this complicated analysis.

The highest and best use of a property can change with market conditions. For example, an office may no longer be the highest and best use of a particular building in a post-pandemic world. Lewis Rice’s Real Estate Practice Group can help identify a property’s current highest and best use, whether it is multifamily housing or a mixed-use development that has retail and residential components.

What is real estate due diligence?

Due diligence is the process of investigating and assessing a property’s potential risks and opportunities before a transaction is finalized. It involves reviewing the property's title, obtaining surveys, collaborating with municipal authorities on development and zoning matters, and addressing any environmental issues. Thorough due diligence can help developers, owners, and investors identify and mitigate potential issues as well as gain a clearer understanding of a project’s financial health, which can reveal opportunities to lower costs and grow returns.

Because the due diligence process involves numerous steps and is often complex, it is important to engage an experienced attorney who can ensure it is done properly and the transaction proceeds smoothly.

Why should I consult with a real estate attorney during an M&A transaction?

Almost all mergers and acquisitions include a real estate component such as offices, warehouses, or facilities. It is important to gather information on all the real property assets involved in a deal. A real estate attorney can help conduct this due diligence process so the parties can accurately define the real property that will be included in the deal, account for any risks associated with that real estate, and revise the terms of the deal to resolve any real estate-related issues. Real estate due diligence should occur in the beginning stages of a transaction to ensure a smooth and timely closing.

How do you help clients find and secure tax incentives for projects?

A large portion of Lewis Rice’s Real Estate Practice Group is devoted to projects eligible for economic development and government incentives, including mixed use, malls and shopping centers, industrial parks, parking garages, hotels, apartment complexes, residential subdivisions, condominiums, and office buildings. This work includes identifying special benefit districts, tax abatement programs, public-private partnerships, and more to help offset costs and taxes associated with a project. We present these options to our clients and help determine and pursue the ones that are the most beneficial.

Clients working on development and redevelopment projects should reach out to us as early as possible—preferably before the acquisition or during the planning stages—to begin exploring incentives and benefits, as these can significantly impact the viability of a project.

Why should clients choose Lewis Rice’s Real Estate Practice Group?

Our attorneys excel in handling the most sophisticated real estate matters. Our extensive experience, along with our ability to tap into the knowledge and skills of the firm’s other practice groups, gives us a thorough understanding of the challenges our clients face buying and selling commercial property. This enables us to resolve issues quickly, which helps save valuable time and resources. We are also known for delivering the highest quality legal services. We build strong connections with our clients through consistent and clear communication and close collaboration.