The Real Estate, Finance and Construction Practice Group offers a full range of services for all aspects of real estate acquisitions and dispositions, financing, leasing, land use, construction, environmental law, insurance and tax. Our clients benefit from our lawyers' significant experience in structuring, documenting and concluding complex projects and, when necessary, litigating on their behalf. Seasoned Stone Pigman lawyers have used their talents to help clients with traditional office and retail projects, mixed-use developments, industrial, utility and port facilities, sports, hospitality and leisure projects, residential developments and public/private partnerships.
Stone Pigman lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the unique issues of Louisiana law and how to achieve the desired results under local law. For that reason, Stone Pigman is frequently the local counsel of choice for national and international businesses coming into Louisiana to develop or finance projects involving real estate, and the firm is often called on to serve as local counsel to borrowers and lenders in multi-state lending transactions. In addition, members of the Real Estate, Finance and Construction practice group often team up with members of the Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights practice group to represent clients in loan work-outs, restructuring, foreclosures, insolvency matters and acquisitions of distressed properties.
Representative projects of the Real Estate, Finance and Construction Practice Group include:
- Saints/Benson Tower/Champions Square. Stone Pigman has served as lead counsel to the New Orleans Saints and Zelia, LLC, an entity owned by the family of team owner Tom Benson, in connection with the team's leases for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and its suburban training facility and the acquisition and redevelopment of a mixed-use office and retail project adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The firm represented the team in renegotiating its Superdome lease for an extended term (so as to permit the award of the 2013 Super Bowl to the City of New Orleans). The firm also represented Zelia in connection with the acquisition and redevelopment of the mixed-use project now known as Benson Tower and Champions Square. Since that time, the firm has continued to represent both the team and Zelia in ongoing negotiations with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome governing authority and the financing, redevelopment and leasing of Benson Tower and Champions Square, a fan gathering area and entertainment zone that is an adjunct to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the New Orleans Arena. As part of the complex financial structure of the project, Zelia entered into a payment in lieu of taxes sale and leaseback transaction and two new markets tax credit loans.
- Pelicans. Stone Pigman represented the purchaser of the New Orleans Hornets (now renamed the New Orleans Pelicans) National Basketball Association franchise in lease negotiations with the New Orleans Arena. The lease was restated to extend its term, address upgrades to the Arena, provide funding for a new team training facility and modify the parties' rights with respect to advertising and signage. The firm continues to represent the Hornets in various matters.
- University Stadium. Through a multi-disciplinary real estate and litigation team, Stone Pigman represented a major national research university in connection with its new on-campus stadium.
- Saenger Theatre. The firm represented the Canal Street Development Corporation ("CSDC"), a public benefit corporation owned by the City of New Orleans, in the financing and redevelopment of the historic Saenger Theatre in downtown New Orleans. The financing for this unique project combined HUD Community Development Block Grant funds loaned by the CSDC, federal new markets tax credits, federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits and Louisiana live performing arts tax credits, and the project received HUD approval for "lump sum" CDBG funding to leverage new markets tax credits. The firm continues to represent CSDC in connection with ongoing matters related to the ownership, leasing and redevelopment of the property.
- Historic Retail. Members of the practice group represented Circle Food Stores, Inc. in connection with the redevelopment of one of New Orleans' iconic institutions. The financing of the redevelopment of the store was a complex mix of governmental grants and loans, a New Markets Tax Credit loan, federal and state historic tax credit investments and traditional bank financing. Members of the Tax practice group brought their expertise to this project, as well.
- Plant Sale. Through a cross-disciplinary real estate and litigation team, Stone Pigman represented a Finnish company in its sale of a decommissioned plant in Shreveport, Louisiana.
- Hospitality. The firm represented an affiliate of Laurus Corp., a California real estate investment and development firm, in its purchase of the Ramada Inn and Suites near the New Orleans airport. The firm represented the buyer, which rebranded the hotel as a Holiday Inn Express.
- Parking. Members of the practice group represented the owner of the prime, multi-block parking facility in the French Quarter in connection with the refinancing of its mortgage loan from a life insurance company.
- Terminaling Facility. The firm served as local counsel to an international letter of credit bank in connection with the bond financing for the acquisition and redevelopment of a terminaling facility on the Mississippi River in Ascension Parish.
- Retail Lending. Stone Pigman represented a large national lender in connection with a construction loan and mezzanine loan for the expansion of a regional shopping center in suburban New Orleans.
- Hospitality. The firm has served as lead counsel to an ownership and development company in the acquisition, redevelopment and financing of several of the major hotels in the New Orleans market, including the Windsor Court Hotel, Royal Orleans Hotel, Loews New Orleans Hotel and Wyndham Riverfront Hotel.
- Construction. Stone Pigman represents a third-generation heavy construction business based in Southeast Louisiana in a variety of real-estate related matters necessary for the company's operations. Most recently, members of the practice group have been working with the company to regularize its process for securing gravel rights over extensive acreage in rural Louisiana, including crafting a series of form documents for use by the company and troubleshooting lease negotiations. In addition, members of the practice group have represented an affiliate of the company in disposing of properties along the Intracoastal Waterway.
- Gaming. Stone Pigman has represented an international casino operator in real estate acquisition, financing, land use, construction and development of riverboat casino and related properties throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Bossier City and Harvey.
- Fast Food. The firm represents the owners of real estate underlying 99 Burger King® restaurants in five Gulf Coast states, plus the Kansas City market, and a number of Chili's® restaurants in western states in a variety of financing, lease and expropriation matters.
- Hydroelectric Plant. Stone Pigman represents the developer, lessee and operator of a hydroelectric plant on the Old River Control Structure of the Mississippi River in ongoing financing and participant issues.
- Preservation. Stone Pigman has served as lead counsel for the owners of Cat Island off the coast of Gulfport, Mississippi. The firm represented the sellers in a series of transactions resulting in the sale of approximately half of the island to a national conservation organization. That portion of the island was then re-conveyed to the National Park Service and is now part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The firm also represented the sellers in another transaction in which BP bought a large portion of the remainder of Cat Island. That transaction included payment for release of Cat Island damage claims arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- Natural Resources. The firm represented a forest products company in its sale of approximately 91,000 acres of timberlands in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, with a reservation of timber harvesting rights and a multi-layer reservation of mineral rights. The firm is continuing to represent the company in the management and leasing of its reserved minerals.
- Retail. Stone Pigman represented the developer in the purchase and financing of property on which a dark Wal-Mart store is located and the negotiation of a lease agreement with Walgreens for the development of a new store on the site, subject to termination of the existing Wal-Mart lease.
- Financing. Members of the practice group served as Louisiana counsel to the bank group in a transportation company's restructuring of approximately $1.65 billion in debt owed to the bank group, its union pension funds and other lenders. The transaction involved three tiers of mortgage loans encumbering properties throughout the United States, five of which are located in Louisiana.
- Non-Profit. Stone Pigman represented Lighthouse for the Blind in its $1.6 million purchase of a 7.8-acre manufacturing facility in Baton Rouge. At least 50% of the manufacturing jobs will be held by the legally blind. Stone Pigman also assisted the client in obtaining a $1.5 million loan from the City of Baton Rouge and a $1.5 million grant from the State of Louisiana used for the acquisition, renovation and equipping of the site.
- Insurance and Environmental. A cross-disciplinary team of litigation and real estate lawyers obtained a judgment on behalf of Icahn Enterprises, formerly known as American Real Estate Holdings, requiring its lessee, Entergy, to grant AREH access to the leased premises to conduct Phase II environmental site assessments. The judgment also awarded AREH nearly $900,000 for the Katrina-related damage to one of the leased premises Entergy self-insured under the lease. In addition, the judgment awarded AREH interest, attorneys' fees, expenses and costs.
- Senior Living. With members from both the Real Estate, Financing and Construction and Health Care practice groups, Stone Pigman recently represented an owner and operator of senior care facilities in its acquisition and financing of two assisted living facilities in the suburban New Orleans Northshore area. Firm members assisted the client not only with the real estate acquisition and financing, but also the licensing application and review process.
- Utilities. Stone Pigman represented St. Tammany Parish in its acquisition of the sewerage and water system operated by Southeast Louisiana Water & Sewer Co., L.L.C. This acquisition was an important second step in achieving the Parish's goal of regionalizing sewer and water service in unincorporated St. Tammany and improving environmental quality. The purchase price was $36 million, and the cost of the acquisition and related expenses were financed with approximately $40 million in utility bonds issued by the Parish. The acquired systems serve about 8,200 water customers and about 6,500 sewer customers. The assets purchased by the Parish included 19 fee owned parcels, approximately 225 recorded servitude agreements, 27 active water wells, 31 sewer treatment plants and platted rights and facilities in roughly 135 subdivisions and service areas, in addition to facilities serving commercial customers. As part of the closing transactions, SELA was required to satisfy a federal plea agreement and significant fines due to both the EPA and DEQ.
- Utilities. Before the SELA transaction, Stone Pigman represented the Parish of St. Tammany in the acquisition of the water and sewer treatment systems owned by Cross Gates, Inc. and its affiliates. Previously, the Parish had been operating the system under a lease arrangement. Financing for the acquisition was done through the issuance of bonds. A significant amount of title curative work was required before the sale could be concluded.
- Energy. The firm has served as lead counsel to a Canadian energy company in connection with the development of proposed natural gas storage projects in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas. The work has involved acquisition of the main sites and corresponding pipeline and related easements, due diligence, permitting and financing.
- Residential. Stone Pigman has represented, as lead counsel, one of the region's leading single-family home builders in land acquisition, site development, financing and related matters.
- Bankruptcy. Stone Pigman served as lead counsel to a secured creditor in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of an ethanol plant.
- Industrial. The firm represented the Pioneer chlorine plant and pipeline in Ascension and Iberville Parishes, Louisiana in connection with its financing matters.
- Industrial. The firm served as local counsel to a venture capital fund in its investment in a start-up company proposing to build electric cars in a former GM facility in Shreveport, Louisiana.
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- James Slaton to Participate in ABA Webinar on Government Approvals and Incentives for Commercial Real Estate Transaction01.16.2019