Land Use & Development

Taking a real estate development concept from blueprint to reality can be complicated, involving several stakeholders and various private and public interests. For this reason, hundreds of builders, contractors, property owners, lenders, investors, and government entities turn to Dickinson Wright for practical counsel, value-added analysis, and strategic advice.

Our team understands that every development project requires careful planning informed by a solid understanding of the client’s goals and objectives, combined with a deep familiarity with local zoning ordinances, land use restrictions, building codes, natural features regulations, water use rights, and related rules and regulations. Obtaining approvals, permits, and licenses for development and eventual operation of the property takes experience and creativity, and – with millions of dollars often on the line – the discipline to adhere to project schedules and deadlines.

A Wide Array of Clients & Properties

Our attorneys have forged close working relationships with U.S. and Canadian clients across a spectrum of industries and sectors:

• Residential, commercial, and industrial developers
• Municipalities and other public entities
• Schools, colleges, and universities
• Non-profits and NGOs
• Oil, gas, and renewable energy producers
• First Nations and tribal communities

The properties we help our clients to develop are equally diverse:

• Automobile dealerships
• Educational facilities and student housing
• Hospitals
• Hotels, casinos, and resorts
• Manufacturing plants
• Mixed-use developments
• Office buildings
• Homes, subdivisions, and apartment buildings
• Shopping centers and retail stores
• Sports and entertainment facilities
• Utilities
• Solar and wind farms
• Planned unit developments

Our land use and development team is a tightly knit collaboration of environmental, taxation, regulatory, finance, and construction lawyers. This allows us to provide comprehensive representation on the full range of development and land use matters:

• Advising on land acquisitions, financing, renovation, and leasing
• Obtaining zoning, rezoning, site plan, special land use, and sign approvals
• Ensuring compliance with environmental, wetlands, and water rights regulations
• Negotiating access, utility, conservation, and reciprocal easements
• Preparing site development, farmland development, and operating agreements
• Providing guidance on green building, wind rights, oil and gas, and mineral rights

Condominium & Mixed-Use Development

Dickinson Wright attorneys are recognized leaders in condominium and mixed-use development projects, regularly counseling clients on complicated structuring, operational, and management issues. We routinely act on behalf of condominium associations, cooperatives, planned unit developments, homeowners’ associations, community and umbrella associations, office and industrial developments, and recreational associations.

We also provide assistance to associations in the everyday management of their condominium projects, including contract preparation and review, legal compliance, documentation, development and implementation of rules and regulations, and resolution of transition issues. When disagreements and disputes arise and cannot be resolved amicably, we also represent associations in litigation.

Among our exclusive client solutions is Accountrak, a proprietary online database that allows associations to interact in real time with our collection representatives and thereby directly monitor the matters we handle on their behalf.

Condemnation & Eminent Domain

Our real estate lawyers are particularly skilled at handling eminent domain proceedings, and we regularly represent both owners of condemned properties and the local municipalities that pursue condemnation actions.

From pre-taking planning to trials and appeals over just compensation, we work with property owners, commercial and residential developers, manufacturers, utilities, and state and local agencies to facilitate effective and favorable arrangements. We also partner with appraisers, engineers, consultants, and community leaders to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.