Land Use & Development

Land Use & Development

Real Estate

Overview

Barriers to entry for new construction have never been higher. We navigate the complex set of zoning, planning, land use, environmental and other regulations. Our team understands the ordinances and processes, anticipates the challenges and obstacles and consistently provides cost-effective, practical solutions. We oversee the regulatory process from beginning to end, working with architects, engineers, surveyors, and other experts to ensure all permit applications and entitlements are accurate, effective, timely and within budget. With permit-granting authorities, we ensure written approvals are clear and comprehensive. When necessary, the firm’s experienced land use and environmental litigators zealously represent our clients in legal challenges.

Getting everyone on-board often depends on “the right touch.”

We take a proactive and collaborative approach when working with regulatory authorities and agencies. We identify key stakeholders early in the process and facilitate dialogue with neighbors and other stakeholders. Because we possess a comprehensive understanding of the process, we strategically identify key issues up front, anticipate concerns, develop creative solutions, avoid delays and deliver favorable results. We know when to push and when to compromise. We know how best to “bullet proof” approvals to survive legal challenges. Our motto is “excellence in execution.”

Our land use attorneys represent clients in all aspects of the development process from pre-acquisition strategic planning all the way through to public hearing advocacy, community outreach and public relations. We handle all types of development projects, including:

  • Affordable housing
  • Brownfields redevelopment
  • Commercial real estate development and redevelopment
  • Condemnation/Eminent domain
  • Condominiums
  • Solar projects
  • Easements and dedications
  • LEED certified projects
  • Mixed-use projects
  • Nonconforming uses
  • Renewable energy projects
  • Shopping center development and redevelopment
  • Subdivision of land for residential and commercial purposes
  • Waterfront and wetlands permitting (marinas/docks/boathouses/moorings)
  • Wet lab projects
  • Public/Private Partnerships
  • Wind farms

We help with matters involving:

  • Environmental permitting
  • Historic preservation
  • Impact fee negotiation
  • Inverse and regulatory takings
  • Land use litigation
  • Rezoning
  • Signage
  • Site plan review
  • Tax credits
  • Tax increment financing
  • Utilities
  • Variance and special use permits
  • Vested rights and grandfathered conditions
  • Payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreements
  • Tax Abatements

Walker School Media Center
The Real Estate Group represented the developers of a multi-million dollar redevelopment of an historic school building in the City of Concord, New Hampshire, known as the Walker School. The firm was involved in the acquisition and permitting of the project. Richard Uchida, along with the group’s paralegals in New Hampshire, headed up the firm’s real estate group effort, which involved creation and registration of a development entity, zoning relief, site plan approvals, school district approvals, permitting from the local and state historic agencies and commissions, assistance in the work with authorities responsible for the licensing of television and radio media, and resolution of some construction disputes. The project, which initially faced both skepticism from local authorities and opposition by nearby property owners, transformed a shuttered 100-year old school into a media center housing one of the two major television stations in the State and a number of New Hampshire radio stations. Since its completion, the building redevelopment has won kudos from local and state groups, as well as architectural awards.

South Street Landing Project
The Real Estate Group represented the developers of the $220 million dollar mixed-use office, educational, and residential multi-phase project in the City of Providence, known as South Street Landing, in connection with the acquisition, leasing, and permitting aspects of the project. Members of the project team included Matt Marcello, Sarah Lemke, Jessica Wang, and other members of the firm’s real estate, environmental, and corporate departments. This project involved obtaining municipal approvals for the rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of a former power plant building into administrative offices for Brown University and a shared nursing school facility for the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College and for the construction of an approximately 744 space parking garage and an approximately 250-bed student housing development, as well as handling all aspects of the acquisition for the 3 parcels of land involved.

Other notable engagements include:

  • Representation of a large office park owner in connection with the modification of existing PUD approvals and special permits to reduce the parking requirements in a Cambridge office park and the preparation and negotiation of a long term structured parking facility agreement with the City of Cambridge.
  • Representation of Miss Porter’s School, a private secondary school in Farmington, Connecticut, in the implementation of the School’s development master plan. This work involves evaluating wetlands and any remediation issues and obtaining all required permits and approvals for numerous projects including a new library, swimming pool, squash facility, athletic center and outdoor athletic fields.
  • Representation of Deepwater Wind in connection with the financing, development and construction of the Block Island Wind Farm; America’s first offshore wind farm. This matter involved extensive hearings before State permitting agencies and the courts on the various permits needed for the project. All permits were obtained and the project is now financed and under construction.
  • Representation of a well-known national developer in the acquisition, permitting, leasing and financing of large-scale, mixed-use developments and shopping centers across Massachusetts, including the development of University Station in Westwood, Massachusetts, Chestnut Hill Square in Newton, Massachusetts, and Pier 4 and Atlantic Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Representation of one of the largest owners, managers, and developers of first-class office properties in the United States in the acquisition, permitting and redevelopment of an historic property in the City of Boston into a mixed-use project including office tower, residential apartments, and ground floor retail now known as Atlantic Wharf.
  • Representation of a New England developer in connection with the redevelopment of a large mixed-use project in the I-495 corridor in Massachusetts which included securing a rezoning (special overlay district), special permits, a tax increment financing agreement, and site plan approval as well as negotiating a comprehensive development agreement with the municipality.
  • Serving as special tax increment financing counsel for Gordon Group Holdings, LLC, a well-known national developer whose projects include The Forum at Caesar’s in Las Vegas, in connection with large multi-phase, mixed-use project in southern Connecticut. This work involved coordination with Connecticut Innovation, the governor’s office and other state agencies in connection with a $20 million financing package for this significant economic revitalization project. This matter involved complex tax, regulatory, political and real estate issues and will result in a significant financial benefit for the developer. It is the first sales tax TIF in Connecticut without a true anchor tenant.
  • Serving as permitting counsel for several national, Fortune 100 company for numerous projects in New England. These projects include regulatory analysis, strategic advice, coordination of project team professionals and advocacy before various stakeholders and decision makes.
  • Representation of a national retail pharmacy chain in the development of numerous retail pharmacies stores throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
  • Serving as special land use counsel for 864,000 SF development project in northern New England that includes wet lab space, medically oriented research and development space, office, retail, and residential uses to be built out in multiple phases over 25 years. It is anticipated by the developer that significant portions of the project will be utilized by Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Geisel School of Medicine. This project involved unique and complex phasing and vested rights issues given the long 25 year build-out horizon.
  • Representation of a Providence-based non-profit health care organization and Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in connection with the development of a 100,000+ square foot community health center facility located in South Providence, Rhode Island. The project involved the merger and re-subdivision of an entire City block of land. The first phase of the project, financed with revenue bonds, involved the renovation and expansion of an existing building into a 40,000+ medical office, clinic and x-ray lab facility. Phase 2 of the project involved, in addition to construction of a new pharmacy building, the rehabilitation of historic mill buildings for medical and dental office use. Because the site is located within a “qualified low-income community” and was financed through a complex series of transactions, with the combination of private equity, institutional loans, federal and state historic tax credits and federal New Markets Tax Credits. This project has proven to be a major catalyst in the gentrification of a blighted area of the City of Providence.
  • Representation of a New Hampshire hospital in connection with the subdivision of an existing shopping center to allow the acquisition, redevelopment and expansion of a satellite health center which the Hospital previously leased from the shopping center owner. This engagement required obtaining setback variances and modifying an existing party wall agreement.
  • Representation of a continuing care/health care developer in the development from the ground up of approximately 10 nursing facilities and 10 assisted living facilitiesin the State of Connecticut. The nursing developments were completed under extreme time pressure, with foundations needing to be in the ground quickly as a result of certificate of need deadlines. The projects involved acquisition of land, working with easements to provide utilities to the sites, preparation and negotiation of turnkey construction contracts and financing of the facilities.
  • Representation of a publically-held pharmaceutical manufacturing company in connection with a $200,000,000 expansion project in Rhode Island. This project involves major land development permitting with the municipality including a four (4) stage Planning Board process, two (2) of which have been successfully completed, and dimensional relief from the zoning board (successfully completed). The project also involves complicated agreements with the client’s corporate neighbor relating to a land swap and the re-routing of access.
  • Representation of a national convenience/gasoline store chain in the development of numerous facilities throughout New England.
  • Representation of numerous utilities and renewable energy companies on the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties throughout New England.
  • Representation of a New Hampshire educational institution in a public/private partnership involving the redevelopment of an urban center adjacent to the college campus for upscale retail, commercial and institutional use. This work involved negotiating and drafting numerous important land disposition agreements, development agreements and construction contracts.
  • Representation of a national solar energy company in connection with municipal and state permitting for solar panel farm locations in Rhode Island and beyond. This work involved securing a controversial rezoning.
  • Representation of several national retailers in connection with their store and restaurant development and redevelopment programs in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
  • Represented client in the acquisition of the northern 50 acres of Rockingham Park, in Salem, New Hampshire. This matter involved numerous complex issues including environmental, cross access, and highway access issues involving railroad crossings.
  • Representation of a New England based resort developer in Connecticut with the development of a multiphase, residential project on and near Lake Winnipesaukee. Our work has included representing the client in its initial investment in the project, subsequent land acquisitions, obtaining various regulatory permits and approvals, “vesting” portions of the project against adverse zoning changes, seeking tax abatements on portions of the project property, creating homeowners and condominium associations and related documents including public offering statements and registration submittals for Attorney General approval, and representing the client in several litigation and other contested matters.
  • Representation of municipality in five important development agreements, three of which are for the redevelopment of the downtown core of the city. These redevelopments have breathed new life into the downtown area – for residents, merchants, institutions, etc., and brought new business and market rate residential housing to revitalize both the downtown core and the city in general.
  • Representation of the West Hartford Housing Authority, a quasi-public entity, in connection with several highly visible projects including one for work force housing and another for elderly housing. Given the sensitive nature of both projects, our role included coordinating numerous meeting with various stakeholders and incorporating comments received into final plans and permit conditions.
  • Decade long general counsel to a waterfront development agency that has jurisdiction over the redevelopment of approximately 300 acres of brownfields for commercial and mixed use.
Case Study

Miss Porter’s School - Master Plan of Development

Miss Porter’s School is a secondary school in Farmington, Connecticut founded in 1843, with a mission…

Case Study

Hoffman Auto Mall- Zoning Regulations

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Firm News

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Publication

Recognizing the Difference between a Lease and a License in Connecticut

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