Real Estate Purchase and Sales
This part of the firm's practice involves the preparation, negotiation and review of contractual and closing documents related to the purchase and sale of all types of real estate. Our attorneys have been involved in a vast number of transactions with high levels of complexity as well as smaller, more simple transactions. We have a wide array of experience with different asset types such as undeveloped land, commercial land, and income producing assets, such as shopping centers, office buildings, apartment complexes and condominium projects. Our transactional real estate clients range from Fortune 500 companies to individual purchasers and sellers of real estate.
Our real estate practice also involves the preparation and negotiation of other documents related to the contract and closing, such as post-closing agreements, joint development agreements, easement agreements, and construction escrow agreements. Finally, our firm can assist with the due diligence process, all closing aspects and post closing matters involved with purchasing or selling real estate. Essentially, the firm handles all legal aspects of a purchase and sale transaction, regardless of size and complexity.
Real Estate Leasing
McLean & Howard, LLP has extensive experience and expertise in negotiating, preparing, reviewing and enforcing leases on behalf of landlords, tenants and lenders. We regularly assist clients in creating and implementing a wide variety of leases - office, shopping center, pad site, residential, farm, and industrial. Our lawyers have experience with projects ranging from sophisticated multi-million dollar lease projects to simple grazing leases. We also routinely assist clients with operational issues that impact their projects once a lease is signed, through use of management agreements, subleases, assignments, and guidance through landlord/tenant disputes. The firm has developed a vast knowledge and experience in dealing with many retail ground leases and the unique legal, development and operational aspects associated with them. Our leasing practice includes representing all types of clients from local shopping center landlords to national credit tenants.
Condominium and Master Planned Community Documents
Our Condominium and Master Planned Community Documents practice consists of advising clients and preparing governing and formation documents for condominium regimes, master-planned, single-family residential subdivision projects and commercial projects.
Residential condominium regimes can range in type and complexity from downtown, mixed use high-rises to two unit "duplex" style projects. Office condominium regimes are often employed on commercial projects. The attorneys in this practice area have formed close to one hundred condominium regimes and have formed regimes for virtually every type of condominium project. In the process, we have developed an immense base of forms to cover every transaction type. Furthermore, we have developed sophisticated client aids for the collection of information related to the regime as well as the education of the client about the various issues involved with forming their regime. Our attorneys are well-schooled in the vast statutory framework applicable to the formation of condominium regimes as well as master planned communities. Our attorneys can further assist with federal financial underwriting requirements applicable to projects such as HUD or FNMA. Finally, we can assist with the preparation of contracts for the purchase and sale of condominium units.
Within this practice area, our attorneys are also well seasoned and experienced in the formation of single-family residential community documents. These document sets are also often complex and may involve multi-tiered associations and separate development areas. As with condominium regimes, the attorneys in this practice area have been involved with a multitude of project types and can handle the needs of any developer.
Once a condominium regime or master planned community is formed, the attorneys at McLean & Howard, LLP can also assist with administration or governance issues involved with the projects while the developer remains involved. At the conclusion of projects, we can assist with the transition of the board and other authority from developer to owner.
Real Estate Development
A great deal of the work we do (and have done for many years) at McLean & Howard, LLP is to take a real estate project from negotiated deal to real development on the ground. Our firm has represented owners, developers, purchasers and end users, sellers, landlords, tenants, lenders, property owners associations, and water districts, in all aspects of real estate development - from simple access easements to complex development agreements and utility arrangements. We have negotiated, drafted and participated in countless reciprocal easement agreements, joint development agreements, restrictive covenants, utility agreements, financing agreements, deed restrictions, options and license agreements. Our firm has extensive experience and expertise in the regulatory compliance and governmental approval aspects of real estate development including zoning, subdivision and site development and building permits (see our Land Use and Governmental Entitlements Practice Area). Our firm has represented clients in the development of large residential subdivisions, complex mixed use developments, office projects, apartment complexes, condominiums, retail shopping centers, civic projects and industrial developments.
Land Use, Governmental Entitlements and Economic Development Agreements
McLean & Howard, LLP has a comprehensive Land Use and Governmental Entitlement practice that covers virtually every aspect related to real estate development and the governmental regulation thereof. From annexation, zoning, subdivision, site development and building permits, to utility district formation and operation, environmental matters, and economic development, our attorneys have been advocating for our client's interests with governmental entities and utility providers. The types of issues we have addressed in this practice area include:
- Municipal Development Agreements under Chapter 212 of the Texas Local Government Code
- Annexation Issues
- Zoning for Single-family, Multi-family, Office, Commercial, Industrial, Mixed-Use and complex Planned Unit Developments
- Subdivision Concept Plans, Preliminary Plans, Final Plats and Exemptions
- Site Development, Building Permits and Certificates of Occupancy
- Impervious Cover and Water Quality Matters
- Local Variances, Waivers and Exemptions
- "Grandfather" Status under State Law
- Transportation including roadway access and traffic generation
- Neighborhood Compatibility and Agreements
- Utility Service Commitment and Agreements
- Water District Formation and Operation
- License Agreements
- Environmental Permits
- Economic Development Agreements and Programs (380 Agreements, Municipal Utility Districts (MUD), Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ), and Public Improvement Districts (PID))
In addition to addressing specific governmental issues for specific clients, our attorneys have taken an active community leadership role representing the real estate industry in local regulatory matters. The City of Austin is a special place with a high quality of life and a vibrant and politically active population, but it can be a challenging regulatory environmental for real estate development. All of the attorneys at McLean & Howard, LLP have an extensive, thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the complex regulations of Austin and other Central Texas jurisdictions and an excellent familiarity with the people who are the regulators. We hope we can put that knowledge and experience to work for you.
Entity Choice and Formation
With a focus on asset protection and liability issues, the firm has considerable expertise in entity selection and formation, including limited liability companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships, multi-tiered partnerships, subchapter-S corporations and non-profit corporations. The tax aspects, liability issues, financing, management and operational issues are always carefully considered when molding the structure and governing documents of the entity to the client's vision for their endeavor. Our Entity Choice and Formation Practice is a vital component to our real estate practice and an important resource for our real estate clients as we can tailor the chosen business entity to ideally fit the particular real estate business venture needs.
Real Estate Lending and Finance
The firm has significant experience in secured transactions, commercial loans, residential loans, loan workouts, foreclosures of real and personal property, and lender title insurance matters. The firm represents clients in all aspects of real estate lending and finance, including construction loans, commercial financing, mortgage lending, acquisitions and sales of commercial real estate, leasing, and landlord-tenant matters. The firm has negotiated loan documents on behalf of our clients with respect to office buildings, shopping centers, industrial sites, retail and mixed-use developments, condominium developments, residential and commercial subdivisions and undeveloped land. The firm has, negotiated construction loan packages, loan workouts, debt restructuring agreements and conducted foreclosure sales on behalf of our clients.
McLean & Howard, LLP represents property owners and governmental entities in the areas of eminent domain and inverse condemnation. Bill McLean and Jeff Howard have participated in numerous special commissioner's hearings and civil court trials on condemnation matters. Mr. McLean spent three years working at the Texas Attorney General's Office where he exclusively represented the Texas Department of Transportation in condemnation matters. Since joining private practice, Mr. McLean has continued this area of his practice for both private and public sector clients. His work for public sector clients has also included pre-condemnation right-of-way work. McLean & Howard, LLP has the expertise, knowledge and experience to adeptly negotiate and conduct proceedings involved with any type of eminent domain or condemnation matter.
The firm has extensive experience in the negotiation and drafting of residential, multi-family and commercial construction contracts and subcontracts, including financing agreements and agreements for the provision of utilities, and the administration and implementation of the underlying project pursuant to the terms of such agreements. The firm has handled disputes involving breach of construction contracts; enforcing or defending mechanic's lien disputes; payment and performance bond claims; warranty claims; and completion claims. The firm's construction work involves contracts for projects for clients which include owners, developers, general contractors, and subcontractors. The firm handles matters located throughout the state, and practices in state and federal courts.
Easements, License Agreements, and Related Land Use Transactions
Custom agreements affecting rights in land can take a multitude of forms. When property owners restrict their land use, or obtain rights to use another's land, it is vital to consider the possible effects of the transaction that can influence project marketability and personal enjoyment. McLean & Howard, LLP can guide you through the process of land use transactions by discussing your goals and crafting a custom strategy to achieve those goals. In our land use practice, we regularly prepare temporary and permanent easements, license agreements with public and private entities, and boundary agreements between adjacent landowners. However, many situations require custom solutions for which no form or prior model is available - this is where our experience stands out in this particular area. We have the "know how" to work within the rules to create custom land use arrangements that can be trusted to accomplish the results that we offer our clients.
Probate and Estate Planning
McLean & Howard, LLP provides a wide range of estate planning services, ranging from the drafting of a simple will to the planning and administering of large estates. Our most popular estate planning package consists of a will, durable and medical powers of attorney, directive to physicians, and HIPPA release; however each client's needs are different, and each estate plan is customized to the unique personal and family goals of the client. McLean & Howard, LLP can provide guidance and advice with regard to estate planning matters, including the administration of estates and trusts, tax consequences of transactions, and, where appropriate, the use of trusts and family limited partnerships as part of a plan. We also represent our clients in court through the trying times of probating a loved one's will and matters of family controversy. Whether the matter is simple or complex, our method of problem solving is geared to the personal needs and goals of the client.