Ward and Smith, P.A.'s Real Estate Development Practice Group provides advice and counsel to commercial and residential real estate developers, landowners, investors, and institutions in connection with real estate development projects of all types and sizes throughout the southeastern United States. Our services include: developer entity structure and formation; development construction financing; tax planning; zoning and land use planning; environmental regulatory compliance and permitting; and preparation of land acquisition and sales contracts, design contracts, and construction and development contracts. Additionally, we prepare commercial and retail leases; condominium and subdivision documents for residential, commercial, and marina slip projects; and property owner association documents. Our attorneys appear in administrative courts on behalf of clients in disputes with federal, state, and local regulatory agencies. In the event of a contractual dispute or an appeal of an administrative action, our attorneys also represent clients in the trial and appellate courts.
Real estate development in North Carolina often requires legal representation before state and local agencies on zoning and land use regulations which pose many complications for developers due to their numerous technical rules and special practices. We counsel clients as they navigate through the maze of restrictions placed on developers and landowners by governmental entities. Our attorneys appear frequently before planning boards; boards of adjustment; city councils; county commissioners; and other local agencies on a variety of issues including subdivision of property, zoning approval and appeals, special and conditional use permits, variances, approvals of development plans, negotiation of development agreements, environmental matters, and taxation.
Changing real estate market conditions in recent years have created an entirely new set of challenges for our clients. We assist real estate developers and lenders alike in working through those challenges as they try to weather the storm and keep projects viable during trying economic times. We have significant experience in evaluating incomplete and distressed development projects and consulting and advising our clients based on their interests in those projects. Those clients include potential bulk purchasers and successor developers, the original developers, and lenders analyzing options related to their collateral.
We successfully convinced a local board to issue a conditional use permit for a large riverfront residential project for a client. This proposed project, the first of its kind in the area, included luxury condominium residences in three waterfront buildings in addition to an expansion of the existing marina and the construction of a new hotel. The proposed project would revitalize the current commercial site with the addition of greenspace, would greatly improve stormwater management in the area, and would significantly increase the city and county tax base.
The growth of wireless technology has resulted in a significant increase in the construction of wireless communication towers and facilities. Our attorneys know and understand federal, state, and local regulations pertaining to the location and construction of such facilities and have experience in obtaining special use permits and other regulatory approvals while dealing effectively with any opposition.
North Carolina is known for its many historic districts. Our attorneys have the specialized knowledge of development requirements in historic districts that enables us to represent clients successfully before local historic preservation commissions, where our attention to detail serves to help our clients navigate through the maze of historic property rules and regulations.
Attorneys within the Real Estate Development Practice Group work closely with our Business, Community Associations, Construction, Environmental, Litigation, and Zoning and Land Use Planning attorneys. Our knowledge of the applicable bodies of law affecting these matters, coupled with our years of related experience, allows us to assist our clients regarding regulatory compliance.
We represented a client with a multi-use development that included ten buildings of various sizes that will contain retail shops, residential units, and parking. We initially assisted the client in obtaining the necessary environmental permits for the project. An individual who owned a beach cottage one mile from the proposed project filed a petition for a contested case hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings in which he alleged that the proposed development project would obstruct and blight his southward view of the coast. He requested that the court direct the Division of Coastal Management of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to withdraw the permit issued to our client. We moved to dismiss his action on the grounds that he did not reside in the project area, the property was one mile from the project, and he, like any other visitor to the coast, was not suffering any direct injury as a result of the project. The administrative law judge agreed and dismissed his petition.
Our Real Estate Development attorneys have a wealth of experience and are consistently recognized by their peers for their accomplishments. Our attorneys are active in their local and state bar organizations, and include one who was a member of the North Carolina Bar Association committee that drafted the Planned Community Act.