Real Estate and Hospitality

Real Estate and Hospitality

Collaborative Transactional and Litigation Teams

Kasowitz has a full-service real estate group that has extensive experience handling litigation, transactional and bankruptcy matters for our clients in the real estate and hospitality industries.  Our real estate litigation team regularly advises and collaborates with our transactional real estate lawyers concerning the litigation implications of particular provisions, agreements and/or transactions.

Our experienced real estate litigators handle a wide variety of real estate and hotel-related disputes, including partnership and joint venture disputes, contract disputes, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims, air rights and development rights disputes, investigations, foreclosures, workouts and other restructurings.

Our real estate transactional team advises clients in a full array of real estate issues relating to office, residential, lodging, gaming, shopping center and mixed-use projects throughout the United States in acquisitions and dispositions of single properties and property portfolios; acquisitions and participations of mortgage and mezzanine debt; workouts and restructurings; financings of real estate properties and projects; office and retail leasing; and joint venture development.

Additionally, our bankruptcy team has extensive experience advising top resorts, entertainment complexes and hotel operators through restructuring negotiations, as well as bankruptcy proceedings and chapter 11 cases.

Litigation: Real Estate and Hospitality

BD Hotels and Chelsea Hotel Owner LLC, owners of the iconic Hotel Chelsea, in successfully ending a two-year dispute with New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation Development prompted by a vocal minority of hostile tenants objecting to the redevelopment of the historic hotel.  After finding crucial evidence of an HPD exemption in the Department of Building’s files during an on-going trial against HPD -- that HPD had failed to turn over in discovery -- that undercut HPD’s jurisdiction over the building, and after seeking emergency relief from the trial court demanding the immediate dismissal of HPD’s case, HPD conceded by voluntarily dismissing its lawsuit and the Department of Buildings instantly lifted a stop work order that had stalled construction for more than two years.

An international hotel company in successfully obtaining significant preliminary injunctions arising from contract disputes with hotel owners.  One preliminary injunction, unanimously affirmed by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, bars the owner of a large New York City hotel from unilaterally terminating its license agreement with our client.  The other preliminary injunction, also unanimously affirmed by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, bars the owner of another large Times Square hotel from unilaterally terminating its hotel management agreement with our client.

Litigation involving the retail leasing of a 750,000-square-foot multi-level shopping center being built at Hudson Yards.  Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center. 

The sale of the Base Village project in Snowmass, Colorado, to a joint venture of East West Partners and Aspen Skiing Company, and an affiliate of KSL Capital Partners, all collectively known as the “Buyer.”  Our real estate litigators assisted Related with reaching a settlement with a third party that had filed a lis pendens against the subject property, which was intended to block the sale to the Buyer.

A large breach of contract action relating to the large luxury SoHo Mondrian hotel in New York.  The case involved damage claims of over $100 million and was successfully resolved.  The case involved novel issues relating to the enforceability of hotel management agreements in light of recent appellate decisions in New York.  Kasowitz has represented Morgans in most of its significant commercial litigation in the U.S. since 2012. 

A dispute among the members of the joint venture that owned a major residential building on 57th Street in Manhattan now under construction at the site of the landmarked Steinway building. 

A dispute between a former partner and the principal of Stellar Management relating to a multi-billion dollar portfolio of residential and commercial properties located primarily in New York City. 

Prevailing on summary judgment, and successfully obtaining the appointment of a receiver and a new hotel operator for the Alex Hotel and Flatotel, in several actions in New York state court to foreclose on more than $300 million of loans secured by the hotels, and to recover on personal guaranties.

An ongoing dispute among various parties involved in the 2014 acquisition of Aman Resorts, one of the world’s leading luxury hotel brands. 

Providing strategic advice to and negotiating on behalf of a prominent South Florida real estate developer, as borrower and guarantor, in its workout of seven condominium project construction loans and 11 land loans, including the loans for the ICON Brickell towers and Viceroy Hotel.

Defending owner of the Savoy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, against a foreclosure action based on a $39.5 million loan, and counterclaiming for fraud, conspiracy, breach of contract and violations of Florida’s racketeering statute against the foreclosing bank.

Successfully challenging the New York Power Authority’s exercise of eminent domain to take property belonging to a tri-state area real estate developer, and transfer it to Calpine Corporation, a national power company, for its $100 million expansion of an existing power plant.

Transactions: Real Estate and Hospitality

The one million-square-foot retail project at Hudson Yards in New York City, including the 250,000-square-foot lease to anchor tenant Neiman Marcus.  Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center.

Two of the first development projects (including a WeWork co-working space and a Wegmans Food Market) at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for Boston Properties and Steiner NYC, respectively.

Acquisition, joint venturing, financing and development of a mixed-use project on West 57th Street in Manhattan for JDS Development Group.

Joint acquisition, financing and renovation of Parker New York Hotel in Manhattan with Elliot Management for $425 million.

The sale of the Base Village project in Snowmass, Colorado, to a joint venture of East West Partners and Aspen Skiing Company, and an affiliate of KSL Capital Partners.

The ~$300 million development of a premiere hotel and casino resort being built on the island of Tinian in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Various rounds of modifications of $100 million in senior and mezzanine construction financing for the development of the Ace Hotel Brooklyn, a 157,000-square-foot, 13-story hotel located at 61 Bond Street in Brooklyn, New York.

Acquisition of The Dana Hotel & Spa, a 216-room boutique hotel located in Downtown Chicago, Illinois, for $72.5 million.

Bankruptcy: Real Estate and Hospitality

TPG and senior partners in bankruptcy proceedings and state and federal court actions concerning the principal operating subsidiary of TPG portfolio company Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, along with certain directors of Caesars’ parent company.  The parties agreed to a Plan of Reorganization under which all potential claims against TPG, as well as the parent’s directors, were released.

Donald J. Trump and Ivanka Trump in the chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of Trump Entertainment Resorts, owner and operator of the Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, and Trump Marina casinos in Atlantic City, including an extensive confirmation fight with competing chapter 11 plans that resulted in a victory when the bankruptcy court confirmed the plan backed by Mr. Trump.

Five Mile, the largest holder of trust certificates issued by a CMBS trust that held an $825 million mortgage, as post-petition lender for the debtor and stalking horse bidder in the chapter 11 cases of Innkeepers USA Trust, owner and operator of 72 hotels. We implemented a sales process for the enterprise, which led to a highly successful auction.

Multi-state securitized portfolio loan workouts and foreclosures.

The disposition of real estate assets throughout the country involving Border Group's bankruptcy and liquidation. 

In their capacity as special servicer, the workout and foreclosure of securitized debt secured by a portfolio of 39 shopping centers in 13 states. 

The modification of mortgage debt secured by a resort hotel in the Caribbean.

The modification of mortgage loans secured by properties in New York and Michigan.