Bryan Cave Combines with Berwin Leighton Paisner to Form Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP Learn More

Land use issues 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.

The Land Use Team has deep roots in New York and our experience there is comprehensive, including:

  • Advising on compliance with the New York City Zoning Resolution and zoning and subdivision regulations in other municipalities, and appearing before New York City land use agencies and boards in other municipalities in connection with applications for special permits, subdivision approval, variances, zoning text and map amendments and other administrative actions required in the development process. Our planners and architects bring a special perspective and appreciation of urban planning and design to the process. We have also served as zoning and planning counsel to a Westchester County municipality.
  • Appearing before the New York City Department of Buildings in obtaining interpretations of the New York City Building Codes, the New York City Zoning Resolution and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, including working with City agencies on proposed legislation affecting various aspects of the development process.  We have particular experience in the area of New York City sign regulations and building codes.
  • Appearing before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in seeking permission to alter protected properties or to develop in historic districts, including matters involving the application of the federal and state Historic Preservation Acts.
  • Transferring of development rights in both complex and routine transactions.
  • Litigating disputes arising out of land use and historic preservation administrative proceedings, including under the New York City Zoning Resolution, state and municipal subdivision and site plan regulations, landmark preservation regulations and federal and state environmental impact review statutes. We also handle litigation seeking monetary damages for constitutional violations arising out of zoning, planning board and related municipal regulatory activities.

Some of our clients include:

  • Acadia
  • AvalonBay Communities, Inc.
  • Boston Properties
  • China Vanke
  • Consolidated Edison of New York, Inc.
  • Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
  • Empire State Development
  • Gotham Organization, Inc.
  • Joseph Safra Real Estate
  • L&M Development Partners
  • Long Island University
  • Madison Equities
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Moynihan Station Development Corporation
  • New York University
  • Property Markets Group
  • Rockrose Development Corp.
  • Saint Ann’s School
  • Silverstein Properties
  • Toll Brothers
  • Trevor Day School
  • University Club
  • Yale Club

Representative Transactions

  • Representation of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in connection with the $56 million sale of development rights and fee parcels in Long Island City, Queens, to a joint venture between Property Markets Group and the Hakim Organization. The buyers plan to construct a 77-story residential building with local retail uses on the development site, made possible by the purchase of approximately 480,000 square feet of air rights from the MTA. The plan also calls for the buyers to create and maintain a public open space and expand subway access at the Queens Plaza station in Long Island City.
  • Representation of the New York City Economic Development Corporation in connection with the land use approvals for the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project, an approximately 1.6 million square foot mixed-use development on nine sites in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
  • Representation of Gotham Organization, Inc. in a 1.1 million square foot development including what has become the trendy Gotham West Market on West 44th Street in Manhattan. The project also includes 1,350 new apartments with a substantial number of them permanently affordable, 30,000 square feet of landscaped open space and a state-of-the-art public school to replace a landmark-quality school building that is being preserved and converted to apartments. We handled numerous land use approvals for this project, including zoning map and text amendments, special permits, site selection and designation as a large-scale urban development. We also handled Gotham’s acquisition of the site from the City of New York, and established the various acquired parcels as condominiums to facilitate development of the affordable housing component of the project and eligibility of the site for real estate tax exemption programs.
  • Representation of the joint developers, F&T Group and Rockefeller Group Development Corp., in connection with land use approvals for the Flushing Commons project in Flushing, New York. The project involves the redevelopment of a municipal parking lot into an approximately 1.16 million-square-foot, multi-building complex with a 1.5 acre, publicly-accessible open space and a 1600-space, below-grade public parking garage. We obtained 11 discretionary zoning approvals, including a rezoning, special permits for large-scale development, public parking garage, and waterfront development for this mixed-use development.
  • Representation of Empire State Development Corporation in connection with the environmental review and other public approvals for the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards Project, which will include an 18,000 seat arena (the future home of the New Jersey Nets basketball team) and 16 other residential and commercial buildings comprising 7 million square feet of development on a 22-acre site in Brooklyn, New York.
  • 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 Moynihan Station Development Corporation in connection with the environmental review and other public approvals for the Moynihan Station development project, which includes the conversion of the Farley Post Office Building in Manhattan to serve as a new train station and more than 2 million square feet of related commercial, retail, residential and hotel development.
  • Representation of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the seat of the Episcopal Bishop of New York and the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, in completing a multi-year effort to structure a Landmarks Preservation Commission designation of a portion of the 11.5-acre cathedral close as a New York City landmark while leaving two sites on the close free for development without Commission regulation.
  • Representation of Consolidated Edison of New York, Inc. in litigation overturning the denial by the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals of a zoning variance to permit construction of a substation and successfully defending Con Edison’s right to build another substation at a second location.
  • 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.
  • Representation of China Vanke Co. in connection with zoning and land use due diligence for its investment in 610 Lexington Avenue, a luxury condominium development in Midtown Manhattan that is developing jointly with RFR Holding LLC.
  • Representation of Golden Fortune Corp. in connection with zoning advice for a new hotel development in Manhattan.
  • Representation of Silverstein Properties, Inc. in connection with land use approvals and preparation of an environmental impact statement for a zoning text amendment to facilitate construction of an approximately one million square foot mixed-use development in Hudson Yards on the Far West Side of Manhattan.
  • Representation of Deutsche Bank in connection with zoning due diligence on a variety of loans for developments located in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
  • Representation of Toll Brothers on zoning issues related to multiple development sites in New York City.
  • Counseled the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Tennis Center regarding its applications for approvals from the City and State to construct a roof over Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium.
  • Representation of an affiliate entity of Rose Associates in connection with a land use approval to facilitate the conversion of 70 Pine Street in Lower Manhattan from office to mixed-use with hotel, residential and retail uses.
  • Representation of a developer in obtaining a zoning variance from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals for a new residential building in Soho over substantial community opposition.
  • Representation of a not-for-profit organization in obtaining variances to facilitate the first modern nursing home in Manhattan.
  • Representation of a developer in obtaining variances to convert an abandoned public school in Harlem into a residential building.
  • Representation of Maplewood Senior Living, LLC in connection with zoning due diligence for the acquisition of an assemblage on Second Avenue in New York City to be developed into its first New York City-based senior living facility, currently designed at over 200,000 square feet. The transaction involved rent stabilized properties and the acquisition of air rights from two adjacent property owners.

If you would like more information about Bryan Cave’s Land Use Team, please call Judith Gallent, at 212 541 2389.