The folowing was reposted from an article written by the staff of the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
We asked leaders of the biggest real-estate law practice groups to tell us about mistakes clients make, cases they’re interested in and how the practice is changing. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Thomas Bray, shareholder at No. 1 Briggs and Morgan
What are the most common mistakes clients make in real estate law?“The two most common mistakes I see are first, clients assuming their property is free of title concerns, and failing to identify and resolve potential title issues before undertaking to sell or mortgage the property. The second common mistake is clients failing to appreciate the costs and disputes that can arise from an unfavorable or poorly drafted lease, and devoting inadequate time and attention to lease review and negotiation.”
What real estate cases issues in Minnesota are you following right now?“The 2006 amendments to the eminent domain statute made it significantly more difficult for municipalities to work with developers on certain types of redevelopment projects. If the economy continues to strengthen, we will be curious to see if municipalities will attempt to persuade the Legislature to expand that authority of municipalities to use eminent domain for redevelopment. We are also closely following St. Paul’s development of the zoning ordinances that will govern redevelopment of the Ford plant.”
What areas of real estate law are growing and which are contracting? “We have a significant number of health care clients who have been active for the past few years in developing, leasing and purchasing real estate projects. We also have a strong corporate department that has been very active in the merger/acquisition markets. These deals often include a substantial amount of real estate that have kept many of our real estate attorneys busy over the past few years. As for markets that have declined, foreclosures and work-out matters declined as the real estate market improved. While the level of development work is getting much stronger than in the past, we have not yet reached the levels we experienced before the Great Recession.”
What areas of real estate law are growing and which are contracting? “ The recently enacted state historic tax credit provides additional assistance for the rehabilitation of historically significant buildings. We have noticed keen interest in clients using this subsidy to preserve historic structures, particularly in the North Loop and Minneapolis riverfront. Also, the demand for luxury rental housing construction has created a lot of demand for legal services in that area. Some areas of real estate finance and development, such as loan securitizations and condominium development, have not participated in the recovery, and demand for these types of legal services continues to be depressed.”
What real estate cases in Minnesota are you following right now? “I rarely follow real estate cases. Real estate cases are the domain of trial lawyers. I try to steer my clients as far from litigation as possible. I read real estate decisions after they are handed down by the courts.”