Steven Simkin, Chair Emeritus of the Real Estate Department, maintains an active practice in major development projects, acquisitions and financings. His clients include major developers, investors, real estate investment trusts, institutional and private equity lenders, funds, and public and private institutions. He also has significant experience with workouts, restructurings and dispute resolutions integrating litigation, bankruptcy and tax expertise. He speaks regularly at industry symposiums and conferences on lease negotiations and writes on complex financing issues.
His numerous development transactions include representing the landowner in connection with:
- redevelopment of the Gramercy Park Hotel;
- redevelopment and coop conversion of the Stanhope Hotel;
- negotiation of a 99-year ground lease with a developer for a high-rise apartment complex that will include both market-rate and affordable housing components in West Chelsea;
- redevelopment of 470 Vanderbilt Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, into a mixed-use facility including office, retail, residential and cultural space;
- renovation and modernization of the historic Breslin Hotel in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan;
- a ground lease covering the lower floors and amenity facility of a new East Side residential condominium; and
- renegotiation of a long-term ground lease between The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and Edward J. Minskoff Properties allowing for the development of a 370,000-square-foot mixed-use retail, educational and office property at 51 Astor Place.
Additional development experience includes representing:
- Gemini Real Estate Advisors, LLC in the acquisition of a land parcel and development rights from an adjacent parcel for a boutique hotel in the Union Square area of New York City;
- Rose Associates on construction-related agreements for a large-scale residential project in New York City;
- Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in development of a site adjacent to its headquarters with frontage along West 42nd Street and West 43rd Street in Manhattan;
- Las Vegas Sands Hotel in the development of construction projects, casinos and shopping centers;
- Continuum Partners, the developers of a $250 million development in South Beach, Florida;
- Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in the development of a luxury hotel at 46th Street and Broadway and in connection with both management contracts and hotel development in Boston, Miami and Los Angeles; and
- SL Green, Levine Builders, Vornado, Boston Properties, Rose Associates, Rockrose Development Company, Newmark & Company, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Saks & Company, Metromedia, George Klein, Harry Macklowe, Bruce Eichner and Sheldon Solow, in a number of major real estate transactions.
Steve also has considerable experience representing clients in sales, acquisitions and financings, including involvement in multi-state mortgage financings on behalf of both lenders and borrowers and the formation of a real estate fund to purchase "B" notes and provide mezzanine financing for hotels, office buildings and residential developments. His experience includes representations of:
- Gemini Real Estate Advisors, LLC in connection with the acquisition and financing of three select service hotels in the Madison Square Park and Times Square areas of New York City;
- United American Land in selling 11 parcels of land, comprising an assemblage in Downtown Brooklyn, to AvalonBay Communities for a residential/retail complex;
- affiliates of the Shubert Organization, Inc. and Jujamcyn Theater Company, two of the largest Broadway theater owners in New York, in closing sales of air rights of hundreds of thousands of square feet over several historic Broadway theaters;
- $1.3 billion financing for the Columbus Centre project;
- $250 million financing for the State Street Bank headquarters building in Boston;
- $3.3 billion World Trade Center acquisition;
- $750 million purchase of Citigroup Center;
- Sumitomo Corporation in the sale of 600 Third Avenue and the purchase of 123 Mission Street in San Francisco;
- the acquisition of 95 Wall Street;
- purchasers of the Barneys real estate in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles;
- purchasers of 568 Broadway, Fred F. French Building and 10 South La Salle Street, Chicago, Illinois; and
- Simon Property Group Inc. in the largest initial public offering of a real estate investment trust.
His practice also focuses on real estate-related litigations and disputes. His work includes representing:
- Citigroup with the restructuring of its mortgage loan on the Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan and in disputes involving multimillion regional shopping center in Syracuse, New York;
- Citigroup in connection with enforcing its rights under $410 million of mortgage and mezzanine loans on the Carousel Mall and Destiny expansion;
- Gemini Real Estate Advisors in the acquisition of three mortgage loans, each encumbering one of Gemini's New York City select service hotels, and the financing of the acquisition through a repurchase facility;
- the founders and owners of Rockrose Development Corp. in a division of the multibillion dollar real estate company;
- restructuring a $370 million construction mortgage loan for South Beach, Florida hotel;
- Zurich Alternative Asset Management, LLC with the rent reappraisal under a ground lease;
- Crunch, a major New York City-based health and fitness chain, in a rent reset dispute with the landlord of its flagship gym;
- the fee owner of a midtown Manhattan office building in a rent reset proceeding under a decades-old ground lease;
- the owner of the Park Central Hotel in a dispute with its lenders including a reorganization in bankruptcy;
- Boston Properties in a dispute with a major tenant;
- Kennedy family in a dispute over the D&D Building in New York City; and
- developers of a several thousand acre residential community in Florida in connection with disputes with lenders and partners.
Steve has broad experience in the area of commercial office leasing, and has been a regular panelist in the annual symposiums conducted by the New York Law Journal titled "Mastering the Art of Negotiating the Modern Lease." He has completed office lease negotiations for the headquarters of HBO and NASDAQ. Mr. Simkin is currently engaged to represent Time Warner in connection with its four million square foot relocation move in New York City and the surrounding area.
With his involvement in the purchase, sale or financing of several hundred regional malls, Steve's shopping center experience is extensive. Equitable, Simon Properties, Taubman, Federated Department Stores and Saks & Company are among his list of clients. He has also been a principal speaker at the International Conference of Shopping Centers' Annual Meeting discussing the acquisition of regional malls.
In 2016, as a part of Commercial Observer's "Power 100," Steve was one of the few lawyers named "Legal MVPs," lawyers who were behind the New York market's most exciting transactions during the previous year. Steve has also been recognized by Chambers, The Legal 500 and The Best Lawyers in America and is included in the International Who's Who in Real Estate Lawyers, Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers and has been selected by the Real Estate Board of New York as one of the most influential persons in New York City.
Recognized by Chambers, Legal 500 and The Best Lawyers in America, Steve is included in the International Who's Who in Real Estate Lawyers, Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers and has been selected by the Real Estate Board of New York as one of the most influential persons in New York City.
Steve is a cum laude graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania college and law school, where he was an assistant editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. In addition to his practice, he serves as chair of the firm's Space Committee. He has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Real Property Section of the New York State Bar Association and is currently on the Advisory Board of First American Title Insurance Company and Commonwealth Title Insurance Company. He is on the Boards of the New York University Real Estate Institute, the New York Junior Tennis League and the Dahesh Museum of Art.