Real Property & Environmental Law Alert Blog

New Jersey Expands Redevelopment Law to Include Stranded Shopping Centers and Office Parks

New Jersey Expands Redevelopment Law to Include Stranded Shopping Centers and Office Parks

Last week, New Jersey’s redevelopment law was amended to recognize that shopping centers and office parks which have experienced significant vacancies for a period of at least two consecutive years may be deemed an “area in need of redevelopment.” The amendment, designated A-1700 and enacted as P.L.2019, c.229, expands criteria b. of the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-5, and takes effect immediately. Prior to the amendment, criteria b. authorized an “area in need of redevelopment” designation where the delineated area was characterized by the “discontinuance of the use of buildings previously used for commercial, manufacturing, or industrial purposes; the abandonment of such buildings; or the same being allowed to fall into so great a state of disrepair as to be untenantable.” The amendment contains three significant components: Buildings previously used for retail purposes, shopping malls or plazas, and office parks were added, so that discontinuance of use or abandonment of those stranded assets is now expressly within the statute; Experiencing significant vacancies “for at least two consecutive years” was added as a new threshold criteria, which applies not only to buildings used for retail purposes, shopping malls or plazas, and office parks, but also to buildings used for...

Gibbons Handles All Development Aspects of Major Turnpike Corridor Industrial Project

Gibbons Handles All Development Aspects of Major Turnpike Corridor Industrial Project

Real Estate New Jersey recently reported on Prologis, the publicly-traded global leader in logistics real estate, regarding its development of nearly 1 million square feet of industrial space in Burlington Township, New Jersey. Gibbons represented DCT Industrial Trust, which was subsequently acquired by Prologis, in all development aspects of the project, including entitlements and redevelopment agreements, such as tax abatements, as well as litigation challenging the development approvals granted to DCT – which was successfully concluded with the court dismissing the challenge. The regional significance of this project is notable, thanks to its location proximate to a recently widened stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike where it meets the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which has made the area all the more attractive to industrial users. Douglas J. Janacek, Chair of the Gibbons Real Property Department, and Department Directors Russell B. Bershad and Jennifer Phillips Smith were primarily responsible for the legal services provided in connection with this project. Real Estate New Jersey’s story on the project can be found here.

UPDATE: The Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig Accident Continues to Cause Ripples: Texas Supreme Court Holds That Defense Costs are Not Liabilities Under Insurance Policy

UPDATE: The Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig Accident Continues to Cause Ripples: Texas Supreme Court Holds That Defense Costs are Not Liabilities Under Insurance Policy

UPDATE: The Supreme Court of Texas recently refused an application for rehearing and declined to revisit its January holding that defense costs are not liabilities under an energy insurance policy. That decision, in the matter captioned Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, et al. v. Houston Casualty Company, et al., stemmed from the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling-rig accident that has been called, “the largest accidental marine oil spill in U.S. history.” The Court held that Lloyd’s of London Underwriters (“Lloyd’s”) were liable to cover approximately $112 million as a result of policy language that the Court interpreted as distinguishing between “liability” and “expenses.” The case involved the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Anadarko E&P Company, L.P. (collectively, “Anadarko”) and a group of insurance underwriters led by the Houston Casualty Company (the “Underwriters”). Anadarko was a 25% minority interest holder in the Macondo Well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. Anadarko reached a settlement agreement with BP under which Anadarko agreed to provide its 25% interest and to pay $4 billion to BP in exchange for a release and indemnity against all other liabilities arising out of the accident. Anadarko’s legal fees and defense expenses were not included...

NY High Court Voids Commercial Tenant’s Traditional Safety Net – Here’s How Landlords Can Take Advantage of This Ruling

NY High Court Voids Commercial Tenant’s Traditional Safety Net – Here’s How Landlords Can Take Advantage of This Ruling

Commercial tenants in New York have traditionally been able to secure a stay of summary dispossess proceedings brought against them and remain in occupancy pending the outcome of tenant-commenced litigation challenging the existence of a landlord-alleged default. Thanks to a recent landmark decision by New York’s highest court, this may no longer be the case if the lease contains the waiver language set forth below. When a landlord provides notice of an alleged default, tenants often seek a declaratory judgment as to the interpretation of the lease and whether a default exists, and also move for a Yellowstone injunction to toll any summary proceeding until the declaratory judgment action is completed. This effectively stays the summary dispossess proceedings. In 159 MP Corp., et al. v. Redbridge Bedford, LLC, the State of New York Court of Appeals addressed the enforceability of a commercial lease provision that prohibited the tenant from commencing a declaratory judgment action against the landlord with respect to any dispute regarding the lease. The Court rejected the tenant’s argument that the clause was void against public policy, finding the clause enforceable, based in large part on the sophistication of the parties and the “strong public policy favoring freedom...

Gibbons Advises Leading Car Rental Companies on $500 Million Project at Newark Airport — Industry’s First P3-Structured Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility

Gibbons Advises Leading Car Rental Companies on $500 Million Project at Newark Airport — Industry’s First P3-Structured Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility

Gibbons P.C. served as lead counsel to Avis Budget Group, The Hertz Corporation, Enterprise Holdings Inc., and Advantage Inc., operators of national rental car brands Budget, Alamo, Thrifty, Payless, Zipcar, and National, among others, in connection with the industry’s first public-private partnership (P3) financing structure for the development of a $500 million Consolidated Rent-A-Car facility as part of the redevelopment of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. Gibbons led the corporate and real estate negotiations on behalf of the national car companies in connection with their long-term concessionaire agreement and real estate leases. Such agreements provide the credit support for the $500 million P3 financial arrangements. Click here to view the full press release issued by Conrac Solutions.

Opportunity Zone Update – IRS Releases Second Set of Proposed Regulations

Opportunity Zone Update – IRS Releases Second Set of Proposed Regulations

On April 17, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service released the second set of Qualified Opportunity Zone (“QOZ”) proposed regulations (the “New Regulations”). The New Regulations address multiple issues relating to the structuring and operation of qualified opportunity zone funds (“QOFs”) and provide clarity on areas that include: Meeting the original use test for purchased tangible property Safe harbors for leased tangible property to qualify as QOZ business property Related party rules for leased tangible property and tangible personal property Investment vs. active business use of QOZ land Safe harbors to meet the 50% gross income test for the active conduct of a QOZ business Inclusion events for otherwise deferred capital gains Definitions for the term “substantially all” used in several statutory provisions Special elections when QOF partnerships and S corporations dispose of property after 10 years QOF reinvestment of the proceeds from the distribution, sale, or disposition of QOZ property Application of the 90% asset test to newly contributed QOF assets The New Regulations provide answers to many unresolved questions and present needed definitions where uncertainties were impeding investment into QOZs, particularly with respect to QOZ businesses. Our new article discusses many of the details. Peter J. Ulrich, a Director...

Gibbons Real Property Department Attorneys Represent Pharmaceutical Company in Cambridge Lease

Gibbons Real Property Department Attorneys Represent Pharmaceutical Company in Cambridge Lease

Gibbons attorneys Russell B. Bershad and Nicole E. Taplin, Directors in the Real Property Department, are representing Bayer Healthcare LLC in a long-term, large scale lease for laboratory and office space in a new building under construction by MIT in Kendall Square, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe featured a story on the lease, which can be found here.

New York Appeals Court Decision Highlights the Risks of Not Filing Decisions and Not Holding Duly Noticed Public Hearings

New York Appeals Court Decision Highlights the Risks of Not Filing Decisions and Not Holding Duly Noticed Public Hearings

A recent decision by New York’s Appellate Division, Second Department, serves as a reminder of the importance of promptly filing administrative determinations, holding required duly noticed public hearings, and the consequences of failing to do so. In Corrales v. Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Dobbs Ferry, Livingston Development Group in November 2012 submitted an application for the development of twelve condominiums. The Building Department forwarded the application to the Planning Board, which conducted a public hearing after which it recommended approval subject to certain conditions. The Village Board of Trustees, which retained site plan approval authority, granted site plan approval conditioned on, among other things, the applicant obtaining approval from the Architectural and Historic Review Board (the “AHRB”). Thereafter, the applicant applied to the AHRB, which denied its application. The applicant appealed the denial to the Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”). While that appeal was pending, neighbors – one of whom did not receive notice of the Planning Board’s earlier public hearing – asserted that the proposed condominium use was not permitted in the zoning district. The neighbors’ attorney also raised this issue at a subsequent meeting of the AHRB, during which the assistant building inspector gave...

Governor Murphy Signs Stormwater Utilities Bill Into Law

Governor Murphy Signs Stormwater Utilities Bill Into Law

On March 18, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation authorizing municipalities (and other public entities) to establish utilities for the creation and management of stormwater infrastructure. The legislation, S1073, also known as the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act (the “Act”), provides that a governing body of a county or municipality may create a stormwater utility “for the purposes of acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining, and operating stormwater management systems.” The Act also allows municipalities and counties that have established sewerage authorities to request that the authority create a stormwater utility, so that the functions of the utility would be managed by the existing authority rather than the municipality(ies) or county directly. Perhaps most importantly, the Act authorizes stormwater utilities to “charge and collect reasonable fees and other charges” to recoup the costs incurred by the utility in performing stormwater management in the subject locality. Under the Act, charges may be assessed against the owner or occupant, or both, of any real property from which stormwater enters a stormwater management system. The Act also includes provisions allowing municipalities, etc. that establish stormwater utilities to issue bonds to fund stormwater management systems, and imposes reporting requirements on utilities and rulemaking...

NJ Appellate Division Case Highlights Importance of Thorough Due Diligence Regarding Properties Containing “Abandoned” Railroad Lines

NJ Appellate Division Case Highlights Importance of Thorough Due Diligence Regarding Properties Containing “Abandoned” Railroad Lines

The conveyance of property containing embankments or former railroad facilities may invoke complicated title issues that could lead to significant costs and delays for real estate purchasers seeking to develop the property if such issues are not adequately addressed prior to the acquisition. On January 23, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an unpublished decision in 212 Marin Boulevard, LLC, et al. v. Chicago Title Insurance Company and Consolidated Rail Corporation, concerning a party’s alleged misrepresentation about whether the conveyed embankment property was subject to the Surface Transportation Board’s (“STB”) abandonment authority. The STB is the federal agency established to oversee rate and service disputes for railways, as well as railway restructuring transactions, including abandonment of rail lines. Presumptively, any abandonment of rail lines by an entity regulated by the STB requires STB approval, unless excepted under federal statute. The seller, Consolidated Rail Corporation (“Conrail”), represented to Chicago Title Insurance Company (“Chicago Title”) that STB abandonment was not required, and Chicago Title, in apparent reliance on this statement, issued policies for the conveyed parcels when the purchaser closed on the property. Even so, the Appellate Division rejected Chicago Title’s third party complaint against Conrail for negligent misrepresentation. The decision...