Our approach to MA commercial real estate transactions is dynamic. Just as Heraclitus noted centuries ago, “No [man] ever steps in the same river twice,” we recognize that the needs of our clients are ever-changing. We collaborate with our clients to create the most advantageous plan to yield the maximum return from their investments. We offer a full range of Massachusetts commercial real estate legal services which include everything from “on the ground” matters like title issues, due diligence and exit strategies, to financial matters like purchases, sales, financing and leasing. Our clients include owners, developers and lenders.
MA Commercial Real Estate Services
Our MA Commercial Real Estate transactional services include:
- Acquisition and disposition of commercial properties in MA.
- MA real estate and commercial finance.
- Development of MA residential, commercial and office projects.
- Leasing for commercial, office and retail tenants in MA.
- Risk management for MA real estate ownership, management and development.
- Multi-Family projects in MA.
- MA Condominium development.
- Represented developer of 2-4 Unit condominiums in Middlesex and Norfolk Counties.
- Assisted clients in formation of LLC, acquisition permitting, subdivision and sale of former golf course in southwestern Maine.
- Represented commercial landlords in negotiation and drafting of commercial leases and ancillary documents.
- Assisted digital printing and imaging company in permitting and expansion of facility.
- Represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in acquisition, permitting and dune restoration of ocean front property in Edgartown, MA.
- Represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in acquisition, permitting, public bidding and development of multiple Heritage State Parks throughout the Commonwealth.
Construction in MA
We represent owners and contractors involved in disputes over residential and commercial building projects in MA. One of the most highly litigated types of contracts are those involving construction projects. The traditional process can be described in terms of a tripartite relationship among the owner, the architect and the contractor; however, there are likely to be many other participants in the construction process. We believe that careful drafting of agreements, such as AIA form agreements, is essential for avoiding a costly dispute. For a smooth transaction, not only the contracts, but also the plans and specifications must be as detailed as possible. Change orders must always be in writing, carefully defined, and signed by all parties involved. We make every effort to protect our clients from disputes through careful and precise drafting and clear communication amongst all parties, early and often. In the event that a dispute arises, we rely upon our agreements as to whether the dispute may be mediated or arbitrated. If the parties have not agreed to mediation or arbitration, the last resort is litigation. As MA commercial real estate attorneys, we can assist you in avoiding legal issues and/or in pursuing legal action, if needed.
MA Condominium Creation
Creating condominiums remain a popular real estate development tool in Massachusetts. The process, governed by statute in Massachusetts (known as the condominium statute – G.L. Ch. 183A) details the requirements of a developer to make sure the appropriate documents are in place before marketing the individual units. The documents known as “Condominium Documents,” consist of a Master Deed for the entire condominium, a Declaration of Trust (including By-Laws, Rules and Regulations), floor plans, and eventually a budget detailing the operational expenses of the condominium as a whole – all of which are filed with the appropriate registry of deeds. The Condominium Documents provide the framework of the procedures of the condominium and the association that is electedto run the daily operations.
Problems are most likely to arise in smaller condominiums with 5 or fewer units. In smaller condominiums, the day to day operation of the condominium – including setting the budget, collecting the fees, making sure the premises are insured and making sure the common areas are maintained – are the responsibility of several of the unit owners, who often act as Trustees. If the developer and subsequent owners of the units do not follow the requirements of the condominium documents, corrective steps must be taken to make sure that the condominium is being run according to its’ own rules and the requirements of the condominium statute. Making corrections may cause delays of potential purchases and sales, and such delays may lead to increased costs, the potential for mortgage rate expiration, or the possible loss of a deposit or prevention of sale. Other issues include failing to maintain a sufficient budget, failing to appoint the appropriate number of Trustees, failing to record written votes and forgetting other minor, but important, details. These oversights and delays can be prevented with the careful creation and review of Condominium Documents.
Land Use and Zoning in MA
Subdivision control laws are governed by statute – Massachusetts General Laws Chapters 40A, 40B and 41. The laws provide a statutory scheme designed to protect the safety, convenience and welfare of the inhabitants of cities and towns. The statutes are administered by local zoning boards and building departments who are free to create more stringent standards, but must, at a minimum, meet the requirements of the state zoning statutes.
As MA commercial real estate attorneys, we represent individual landowners and developers before local planning boards, boards of appeal and conservation commissions.
Leasing – From the Tenant’s Perspective
We often hear from clients asking us to draft or review leases. Whether it’s a small business looking to relocate, a digital imaging and printing operation planning an expansion of their existing space, or a designer looking to open retail space, each client has specific needs that must be fulfilled. Despite the common perception of many clients, leases are not “one size fits all.” Leases vary widely depending on whether the tenant is leasing an entire building, a portion of a building, an office suite, or retail space. Leasing space can have major implications for any business. If a business leases space that ultimately turns out to be unsuitable for its operations, or if the lease does not allow for expansion, the growth of the company can be hindered. If too much space is leased, the company will waste valuable cash resources. Lease documents can be sophisticated and complicated contracts. Language in leases should be clear and unambiguous to avoid any misunderstandings.
It’s crucial to understand a business’ current and future needs in order to to tailor a lease that is best suited for the client. Many terms beyond rent and square footage can directly and adversely affect a tenant. For example, vague and confusing clauses pertaining to operating costs and escalations, unless properly limited or capped, can result in unexpected liabilities. Review of a lease by an attorney who understands the ongoing economic implications of complicated lease language can be invaluable. A lease that provides a tenant with the right type of space and flexibility as the tenant’s needs change can become an asset and provide a competitive advantage. As part of our MA commercial real estate services, we advise clients to consider certain key points when they are thinking about leasing space.