Commercial Real Estate

WMO assists clients ranging from individual investors to national real estate investment trusts, life insurance companies, commercial banking institutions and pension funds with all types of commercial real estate transactions. WMO offers our clients extensive experience in the leasing of commercial, industrial, and retail space, as well as the acquisition, disposition, and development of raw land, income-producing commercial property, and multi-family dwelling property.

Acquisition & Development

We handle the acquisition and development of commercial real estate projects of all sizes. Our clients include developers, landlords, tenants, financial institutions, insurance companies, and investors.

Our lawyers have experience handling a variety of commercial real estate issues and are available to assist with all aspects of acquisition and development. In these transactions, we have represented both buyers and sellers of commercial property.

Our commercial real estate acquisition and development services include: negotiating the purchase of land or commercial property; negotiating or drafting letters of intent and drafting purchase and sale agreements; analyzing title and survey and negotiating title insurance policies; reviewing environmental reports and analyzing compliance with local and state building, zoning, and other ordinances and regulatory requirements; structuring joint ventures and other business forms between investors, developers, and other partners; planning and site preparation issues, including land use and zoning; and negotiating financing contracts and security instruments.

We also advise clients on sustainable development matters. Kathleen A. Lauinger, who is one of our commercial real estate attorneys, is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED ® AP) for New Construction and Major Renovations projects by the US Green Building Council.

Municipal Finance/Bonds-For-Title

We primarily advise businesses and developers (technically, the “lessees” in these transactions) with respect to the lease of commercial real estate in connection with “bonds-for-title” (or “bond-lease”) transactions with various local development authorities in Georgia. These transactions generally provide property tax savings (tax abatement) to businesses to build a new facility (such as a factory), improve or expand an existing facility, and/or create jobs in a particular location; they are often part of a larger package of other local, state, and federal tax credits and economic incentives. As counsel to these “lessees,” we work with bond counsel, the development authority’s counsel, the trustee’s counsel, and governmental entities to secure tax abatements, incentives, and credits for our clients.

In these “bonds-for-title” (or “bond-lease”) transactions, a business negotiates with a local development authority for tax savings, which is typically dependent upon the amount of capital the business invests and the number of jobs it expects to create. The business then selects a site and designs and builds the project itself. The development authority then issues bonds to acquire the project that it then leases back to the business, which can also be the owner of the bonds. While title to the project is held by the development authority during the lease term, the project is typically overseen and controlled by the business. The lease payments equal the debt service on the bonds such that, at the end of the lease, the business will own the project after paying a nominal sum pursuant to a purchase option in the lease. Conventional financing is often used in connection with these transactions, and we represent the business/borrower in that aspect of the transaction as well.

Leasing

WMO represents both landlords and tenants in the execution of commercial leases.

Leases carry a variety of business and legal risks. A well-negotiated lease can save both time and money for all parties involved. Our lawyers have experience handling leasing for offices, retail spaces, industrial and warehouse buildings, medical and institutional buildings, and shopping centers. Some of our services include: drafting and negotiating commercial leases; advising clients on commercial lease terminations and disputes; drafting subordination agreements; and reviewing title encumbrances.

Disposition

We represent purchasers and sellers in transactions involving the disposition of commercial, retail, industrial, medical, and hospitality real estate.

At WMO, we have experience handling all aspects of the disposition of real property. Real estate projects come in all sizes and we tailor our representation to be commensurate with the nature of the property involved. Our attorneys provide advice regarding the structure of the deal and work closely with all counterparts to address all aspects of the transaction. Our attorneys have handled a variety of dispositions, including office complexes, shopping centers, manufacturing and warehouse facilities, and large-scale industrial projects.