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Similar to business clients, our university and college clients depend upon the breadth and depth of Bryan Cave’s Chambers USA-rated professionals for assistance in campus expansion/renovation projects, and all facets of real estate ownership, environmental, land use and zoning regulation, and financing matters.

Bryan Cave is exceptionally well positioned to address the distinctive environmental and land-use issues commonly confronted by higher educational institutions, particularly those with major research enterprises. We have particular depth in the fields of environmental and occupational health and safety law, and we offer a leading environmental practice committed to balancing social, environmental and economic concerns. Our lawyers are well aware that it is often essential for universities and other institutional clients to maintain a reputation for integrity, cooperation and environmental excellence with federal and state agencies, and to cultivate the most effective working relationship with the professionals staffing those agencies. Our lawyers have many years of experience working with agencies and other stakeholders to represent its university clients effectively and with appropriate sensitivity to their reputational interests.

The firm is unique in its capacity to assist its higher education clients in financing their development projects with the aid of a wide array of federal and state tax credit programs. Tax-advantaged transactions present a variety of complex tax issues as well as welcome capital funding opportunities. Bryan Cave’s tax credit lawyers are highly experienced, nationally recognized, and capable of addressing those issues head on. We have served as counsel to universities and other real estate developers, syndicators, and investors, and therefore, are able to provide assistance in all phases of a tax credit transaction: (i) structuring the transaction; (ii) documenting and negotiating the terms of the transaction; (iii) closing the equity investment into the transaction, and (iv) providing any post-closing asset management advice that may arise. Bryan Cave has closed transactions involving low-income housing tax credits, historic rehabilitation tax credits, new markets tax credits, and renewable energy tax credits, and done so for universities in particular.

The work of Bryan Cave's real estate development attorneys includes significant public-private and for profit-nonprofit real estate development and campus renovation projects involving universities, transportation infrastructure, parklands, sports facilities and arenas and the related tax increment financing, tax credits and other public finance vehicles.

Our experience which is applicable to higher education institutions includes:

  • Purchase and sale agreements and land acquisition contracts
  • Transit-oriented and other public-private projects
  • Design and construction contracts and agreements
  • Joint ventures and financing arrangements
  • Land use, zoning approvals and plat approvals
  • Development agreements with local municipalities
  • Ground leases
  • Tax Increment financing
  • Infrastructure development and cost sharing agreements
  • Supply and power co-generation arrangements

Bryan Cave’s land use lawyers bridge the divide between public and private, development and conservation. In an area that blends law, advocacy and politics, touches on sensitive local issues and impacts generations of stakeholders, ensuring a successful result requires experienced representatives with the highest level of industry knowledge and legal sophistication. Bryan Cave’s Land Use Team, consisting of lawyers, urban planners and a registered architect provides a full range of legal services in all areas of land use law, including advice on development enhancement strategies. We regularly represent clients seeking to obtain a variety of municipal and state approvals related to zoning, construction, building codes, historic preservation and related issues. We also represent clients in litigation arising out of land use and historic preservation administrative proceedings.

Bryan Cave’s construction team counsels clients from project conception and design through completion and beyond. We offer strategic insights about transaction structures and selection of appropriate project delivery methods and possess valuable experience in preparing and negotiating all varieties of design and construction-related contracts on projects covering virtually every asset class. After contract execution, we assist and advise clients concerning contract compliance and matters regarding change orders, delays, payment procedures, errors, omissions, defects, liens, warranty coverage and many other topics. 

Representative development projects involving lawyers on our Higher Education Team include:

  • Representation of New York University in the development of a master plan and obtaining land use approvals for the “Plan 2031” project, a long-term city-wide strategy for growth involving the expansion of the University’s core campus in Greenwich Village.
  • Representation of a national research university in a long series of historic tax credit-financed renovations of off-campus apartment buildings to serve primarily as undergraduate and graduate student housing stock.
  • Representation of a private, nonprofit university in the restructuring of its bank financings and tax-exempt bond debt, including the implementation of a replacement master trust indenture.
  • Representation of investment banks and national and regional commercial banks in public offerings and private placements for numerous private and public higher educational institutions.
  • Representation of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York in litigation challenging its compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act in connection with the condemnation of property for the expansion of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
  • Long-standing representation of a major Midwest research university in wide array of state and federal environmental enforcement and counseling matters.
  • Representation of a flagship state university in successfully defending against antitrust claims arising out of student housing development.
  • Representation of a leading global financial services firm on a multi-phase debt restructuring involving a private university borrower, with a line of credit and bonds issued by the university through the city in which it is located and held by the bank.
  • Representation of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America in its $96 million sale of two properties on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Savanna, a real estate development firm. The transaction included the negotiation and execution of a complex zoning lot development and easement agreement that will govern the development of the zoning lot shared by The Jewish Theological Seminary and Savanna ( a New York development company) on which The Jewish Theological Seminary will construct a new library and dormitories, and Savanna will construct a 250,000 square foot residential building.