Real Estate

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At Briggs and Morgan, our focus is on promptly and efficiently addressing clients’ needs. With nearly 20 real estate attorneys familiar with complex real estate transactions, we offer practical advice and a wide range of effective solutions.

Our attorneys represent clients in all stages of the real estate transaction process from document drafting, review and negotiation through closing. Our clients include large and small corporate real estate developers, real estate investment funds, public and private REITs, owners and users including asset managers, sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants, lenders, cities and school districts.

We advise clients on a broad spectrum of general real estate matters including acquisitions and dispositions; commercial, industrial, residential, multi-family and mixed-use developments; real estate financing; leasing; environmental issues; partnerships, joint ventures and syndications; and real estate tax and assessment protests and appeals.

Our attorneys also have extensive experience advising clients with respect to distressed real estate matters, restructurings, workouts and foreclosures.

Unique to our practice are extensive representation of real estate investment funds in a variety of major commercial real estate and finance transactions as well as our representation of various professional sports franchises in connection with sports stadium real estate, financing and construction transactions.

Many members of the Real Estate practice group have been selected for publication in The Best Lawyers in America and are listed in Minnesota Super Lawyers. Several are certified real property law specialists, and include a fellow and regent of the American College of Mortgage Lawyers, and two fellows of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. Two of our shareholders are past presidents of the Real Property Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

In support of its real estate practice, Briggs and Morgan is a proud member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), NAIOP - Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women (MNCREW).

Representative Matters

  • Represented Municipal Development Authority in acquisition of fee and leasehold interests in various improved and unimproved parcels and transfer of acquired parcels to the city for redevelopment as a municipal stadium.
  • Represented city and its HRA in the preparation of a development agreement for a 300+ acre, mixed use development.
  • Regularly represent national home builder/developer in mass party construction defect litigation.
  • Represented a national real estate investment fund as lead counsel in the portfolio sale of 17 office and industrial facilities located in nine states with an aggregate purchase price of more than $235 million closing simultaneously.
  • Counsel to a Canadian public REIT, in the acquisitions and financings of properties throughout the United States. 
  • Representation of national retail restaurant client for its leasing portfolio.
  • Represented national home builder in documentation for single family and multifamily residential developments.
  • Represented private equity firm in connection with the assumption of a commercial airline maintenance facility ground lease and related agreements.
  • Representation of a retail shopping center developer in the acquisition, entitlement, and redevelopment of a regional mall and in the sale and leasing of pad sites.
  • Assisted family with wealth transfer strategies, including sales to defective trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, dynasty trusts, charitable trusts and foundations.
  • Counsel to a Canadian public REIT, for whom we have completed acquisitions of industrial, office and retail properties and assorted financings.
  • Represented homeowners in construction defect action against contractor in arbitration and obtained judgment for all damages sought.
  • Counsel to a national real estate investment fund in connection with permanent financing for more than $50 million.
  • Represented a U.S. real estate investment trust in its $100 million initial public offering of trust units.
  • Represented professional sports franchise in sale and leaseback of corporate office building.
  • Represented large cheese manufacturer in the acquisition of a cheese plant in Idaho.
  • Sale of 60+ acres of land in Florida for residential development.
  • Representation of company in acquisition of corporate headquarters building and related financing transaction.
  • Represented developer in creation of a master association for an approximately 125-unit mixed single family/multifamily development.
  • Represented Fortune 100 company in land acquisition and exchange transaction for construction of manufacturing and distribution facility, and negotiation and drafting of required access easement for shipping terminal.
  • Served as lead counsel to a private real estate fund in a five-building, $100 million industrial portfolio acquisition, totaling 2,711,183 square feet, including buildings in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.
  • Served as real estate counsel to a franchisee in the re-financing of its 60-unit restaurant portfolio.
  • Advised trustees regarding administration of trust estate, approval of closely held business interests and funding of generation-skipping trusts.
  • Represented a private real estate fund in the acquisition and financing of a seven-building industrial portfolio in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Representation of the company in the development of a urban, mixed-use residential/retail development.
  • Served as real estate counsel to a franchisee in the acquisition of a portfolio of 37 quick-serve restaurant sites from the national franchisor in a single transaction.
  • Counsel to a national real estate investment fund in connection with approximately $59 million construction financing.
  • Represented commercial landlord in dispute with tenant guarantors. Obtained judgment on the pleadings as to contractual liability under lease and guaranties which resulted in favorable settlement.
  • Represented commercial landlord in breach of contract dispute with tenant and guarantor which resulted in entry of summary judgment in favor of landlord.
  • Successfully defended through trial and appeal, a commercial landlord's action to evict a commercial tenant for its alleged material breaches of a lease and obtained an award of attorneys' fees and costs.
  • Successfully defended an action commenced by a commercial tenant for alleged violations of a declaration of easements and restrictions and a reciprocal easement and operating agreement.
  • Represented builder client in action commenced by homeowners association (HOA). Matter was confidentially resolved in client's favor at fourth mediation session one month before scheduled three-week jury trial.
  • Successfully defended an engineering firm against a multi-million dollar negligence claim asserted by a city following a slope failure at an MSW landfill.
  • Advised out-of-state real estate investment company on property tax implications of proposed transaction.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed eminent domain acquisition and use of quick-take procedures.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed hearing officers' findings that auto parts business failed to properly document direct-loss claim for relocation benefits following eminent domain acquisition.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed property tax valuation after trial in district court and also approved denial of subpoena for expert witness and substantial recovery of expert witness costs.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals holds that the language of the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act does not overcome language in a franchise contract, which precludes convenience store operator from claiming loss of going concern damages when property was condemned for road widening.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals interpreted newly amended eminent domain statute to identify conditions under which a court may authorize public access to private property for conducting environmental tests.
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals upholds pre-existing lease for billboard against new owners' attacks based on lack of spouse's signature and that inadequate legal description violated the Minnesota Statute of Frauds.
  • Minnesota Supreme Court interpreted state statutes specifying which structures at industrial plants were subject to property tax, affirming continued validity of "special purpose" property designation, and describing proper application of cost and sales approaches to valuation.
  • Obtained reimbursement of full costs for relocation of outdoor advertising sign adjacent to interstate highway following hearings before an administrative law judge, after condemning authority had purchased underlying land and had denied that client was entitled to any reimbursement.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a commercial landlord with respect to its claims for anticipatory breach of a lease agreement, specific performance and declaratory judgment.
  • On behalf of apartment building developer, negotiated telecommunications right-of-entry agreements with providers of telecommunications services.
  • Represented client concerning claims brought by landowner regarding the height of a newly constructed building. Obtained reversal of district court's grant of temporary injunction which resulted in favorable settlement.
  • Represented County in defense of property tax assessment on large agri-industrial facilities.
  • Represented County in defense of property tax assessment on office and industrial properties.
  • Represented Fortune 500 company challenging tax assessment on R&D facility.
  • Represented land owner/developer in partial-taking for highway project. State offered $870,000; settled shortly before trial for $3,700,000 plus reimbursement for all attorneys' fees and expert costs.
  • Represented national discount retailer with large store in central Minnesota; negotiated arrangements to minimize disruption and provide extra signage and clear travel routes for customers when state transportation department took part of shopping center grounds for highway expansion.
  • Represented northern Minnesota city in acquiring numerous land parcels for $35 million flood control project; commenced two eminent domain proceedings; represented city in ten commission hearings; negotiated settlements for all properties without trials.
  • Represented property owner/developer in defense of claims by adjacent owner that client's redevelopment activities violated terms of reciprocal easement agreement.
  • Represented southern Minnesota city in eminent domain jury trial to determine damages when city road project removed primary access and altered property's highest and best use.
  • Represented suburban city in negotiated purchase and eminent domain acquisitions of interstate-frontage properties for highway expansions; settlements including city/business land swap and reimbursement of construction costs to accommodate effects of taking on remainder of auto dealership property.
  • Represented suburban city in negotiated purchases and eminent domain acquisition of commercial properties for highway roundabout.
  • Served as a mediator to successfully resolve eminent domain dispute between state transportation department and national outdoor advertising company, involving the taking and valuation of a billboard adjacent to a major urban highway.
  • Served as mediator to successfully and creatively resolve complicated real estate lawsuit involving multiple buyers and sellers, where all parties had misunderstood likely application of municipal land use regulations.
  • Served as mediator to successfully resolve eminent domain dispute between state transportation department and long-time landowner in case involving large suburban land parcel in prime development location.
  • Served as mediator to successfully resolve eminent domain taking by the state transportation department, where landowner had large developable property adjacent to new suburban retail project.
  • Successfully secured order from administrative law judge that outdoor advertising client was eligible for relocation benefits, after condemning authority had initially denied client's claims concerning billboard adjacent to highway.