Russ Toates covers all the bases in commercial real estate transactions. For over 25 years, Russ has practiced in the highest echelons of the legal field, both in private practice as a partner of international law firm, Akin Gump, and in-house as general counsel for Centex Homes, a national homebuilder. As a result of his diverse background, Russ brings his clients deep and broad experience relating to real estate transactions as well as unique perspectives on both the legal and business challenges they face. Russ prides himself on applying discerning judgment to his clients’ legal matters, prizing the protection of their legal interests while never forgetting the practicalities of what it takes to get deals done.
Russ is extensively experienced in a broad array of real estate matters. A sampling of his prior representations:
Real Estate Acquisitions and Sales. Russ has led acquisitions and sales of income-producing and raw land investments totaling more than $1.5 billion, including hospitality, office, multi-family and retail properties, developed lots and undeveloped land for homebuilding operations, infill locations, development parcels located within larger master-planned communities, marinas, and an operating casino.
- Acquisition of 15 resort, second-home communities, exceeding $600 million.
- Acquisition of Las Vegas Strip sites – operating casino and undeveloped parcel adjacent to planned casino.
- Sale of 3000+ unit multi-family portfolio.
- Acquisition of 100+ acre development parcel adjacent to planned expansion of Loon Mountain ski area.
- Multi-phase acquisition of 40+/- acres with frontage on the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway.
- Acquisition of mixed-use project including golf course, marina, single-family lots and hotel.
- Acquisitions and sales of 14 hospitality properties, including locations in Mexico.
- Sale of 1.1 million square foot office tower for $300+ million. Sale included negotiation of development restrictions and agreements related to future phases of adjacent development.
- Structured and coordinated over $200 million of Section 1031 exchange transactions to allow for deferral of taxes upon sale of real estate.
- Structured sale to investor of $2.5 million of brownfield redevelopment tax credits.
Real Estate Leasing. Russ has represented landlords and tenants in negotiation of more than 100 office, retail and other commercial leases.
- Represented tenants that have ranged from Fortune 100 companies with significant leverage, to in-line tenants leasing less than 500 square feet.
- Represented landlord in lease of more than 200,000 square feet of Class A office space with substantial tenant inducements including expansion, right of refusal, contraction and building signage rights.
- Represented landlord in lease of more than 150,000 square feet of Class A office space to national law firm with numerous tenant inducements.
- Leased premises have included office space in Class A and suburban office buildings, outparcels adjacent to regional shopping malls, “big box” retail sites and community shopping centers, and have ranged in size from less than 500 square feet to leases in excess of 100,000 square feet.
- Leases have included numerous types of renewal, expansion and contraction options, along with all types of tenant finish-out construction options.
- Negotiated ground lease to permit construction of 1 million+ square foot office building.
- Responsible for all office and retail leases in portfolio of 500,000+ square feet of commercial space.
Real Estate Development. Working with municipalities and private parties, Russ has negotiated and structured infrastructure, construction, easement and development agreements for multiple types of properties and developments.
- Development of 2-tower, high-rise, beachfront condominium project in Hawaii. Development included numerous development and construction agreements with master developer and adjacent landowners.
- Sale of 1.1 million square foot office tower for $300+ million. Sale included negotiation of negotiation of development restrictions and agreements related to future phases of adjacent development.
- Coordinated land planning and legal issues to establish master and subsidiary homeowner association covenants and restrictions for three multi-phase projects each in excess of 1,000 acres, with multiple association and homeowner groups, and “residents only” clubs.
- Design and services agreement for golf course with Nicklaus Design.
- Represented developer in development of infrastructure and general development issues for 5,000 acre and 2,400 acre mixed-use, commercial/residential projects.
- Developed covenants and restrictions for 200+ acre office project, with joint development agreements with adjacent landowners.
- Coordinated internal and external land planning and development personnel/consultants in submission of numerous federal, state and local reviews and approvals for development of 20 projects in 7 states, including permits and approvals from Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Real Estate Finance. Russ has represented borrowers in loan transactions in excess of $1 billion. Loans have included credit facilities for the acquisition, construction and/or development of real estate, working capital facilities, and REMIC financings secured by multiple asset types. In addition, Russ has represented borrowers and lenders in all stages of loan and property workouts and restructures.
- $20 million acquisition loan and $50 million revolving construction loan for 192 unit condominium development with Wall Street investment-bank partner.
- $82 million REMIC financing secured by 80 properties of multiple asset types.
- $200 million refinancing of seven hotels in multiple states.
- Acquisition and development loan for mixed use development with 1,400 residential units, and 500,000 square feet of commercial development.
- $45 million acquisition loan for operating casino property on Las Vegas Strip.
- Acquisition and redevelopment loans for numerous hospitality properties.
Real Estate Joint Ventures and Investments. For all types of properties, including office, hotel, retail, multi-family and residential land, Russ has structured and negotiated investment partnerships for the acquisition and development of properties valued at more than $500 million.
- Formation of partnership to acquire parcel for condominium development in Hawaii from partner/seller.
- Partnership with foreign investor to acquire $85 million of properties from Resolution Trust Corporation.
- Structure and negotiation of separate partnerships with foreign investor to acquire hospitality properties in 3 states.
- Structure and negotiation of partnership to acquire hotel properties in Mexico.
- Structure and negotiation of partnership to acquire and redevelop portfolio of hotel properties located in 5 states.
- Joint venture for mixed use project with 1,400 residential units, and 500,000 square feet of commercial development.
- Joint venture to acquire and sell operating casino located on Las Vegas Strip.
Construction. As former in-house counsel and as principal of a real estate investment firm, Russ has extensive experience in all phases of construction, from engagement of design professionals through final project close-out and payment, as well as in all types of construction defect claims.
- Negotiation of design professional agreements for architects, engineers and other consultants.
- AIA and custom subcontractor and general contractor agreements, including building construction, infrastructure development, peer review, interior design and finish, and tenant improvement.
- Filing of mechanic’s liens on behalf of contractors as well as negotiation for removal of lien claims on behalf of project owner.
- Agreements for remediation of environmental contamination.
- Analysis and litigation of mold and other environmental contamination and remediation claims.
- Claims against design professionals.
- Claims against general contractors and subcontractors.
- Responsibility for review and opinion on insurance coverage issues for wide range of construction defect claims.