Real Estate & Development Law

Our Real Estate & Development Group works with our Municipal, Planning & Environmental Group to provide expert and practical advice in all areas of real estate, leasing and development law to municipalities, Crown corporations, educational (and other) public institutions, national retailers, financial institutions, real estate investment trusts, commercial and real estate owners, managers, developers and builders.

Our dedicated and accomplished lawyers work alongside our Construction Group in advising both public institutions and private enterprises on all aspects of the construction process, from initial acquisition and site selection, to planning approvals and ultimate construction (including construction lien claims) and/or disposition. Our Group’s broad and varied practice touches on virtually every area of commercial real estate and development activity, including:


Providing real estate and development expertise on many prominent commercial transactions, our lawyers have acted for:

  • A university on a complex ground-lease proposal to redevelop lands for residential, retail and hotel use
  • Professional sports teams in the acquisition and development of arenas
  • A syndicate of lenders on complex project financing for a major regional shopping centre
  • A major Canadian retailer in the acquisition and development of its “big box” locations in shopping centres across the country


Our Group regularly provides advice on all aspects of development, construction and permanent financing, leasehold financing and syndicated loans. Our experience representing lenders includes having acted on:

  • The $180 million financing for the acquisition of a portfolio of office buildings
  • The $190 million financing for the construction of a hotel
  • The $79 million financing for the acquisition of a portfolio of industrial buildings
  • The $50 million financing of a portfolio of multi-family residential buildings
  • Significant financings to a REIT of leasehold interests in multi-residential complexes throughout the GTA


We set ourselves apart from the competition by providing a team of lawyers focused on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) who can deliver comprehensive structuring advice to meet the needs of the organization. Our group draws seamlessly on other highly regarded lawyers in securities, real estate, and tax to provide clients with strategic advice and creative business solutions essential for the growth of any REIT.

We advise our REIT clients on the full range of issues that affect REIT formation, operation, financing and growth, including:

  • Public offerings of securities, follow-on financings and secondary sales
  • Mergers and acquisitions and privatizations
  • Real estate acquisitions and equity and debt financings
  • Trustee matters and special committees
  • Corporate governance matters
  • Securities compliance


We advise landlords and tenants of institutional, office, retail, shopping centre and industrial premises and healthcare facilities on a full range of commercial leasing services, including: the structuring and documentation for all types of leases as well as restoration obligations at lease conclusion; the structuring of joint ventures; and negotiating ground leases. Our Group also advises on financial matters (including tax allocation and cost recovery), insurance matters and risk management.

We have acted for:

  • A developer in negotiating a long-term lease from York University for the construction and development of “Ice Gardens,” an arena facility
  • St. Michael’s Hospital in its real property and leasing matters
  • Various health care clients, including: Whitby Mental Health Centre, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Northeast Mental Health Services and Rekai Health Centre on a variety of real estate-related matters such as divestitures, acquisitions and lease work


With a view to maximizing debt recovery, we represent lenders in enforcing their security against defaulting borrowers. We review pricing and market value assessments, and draft notices of sale, writs of possession and seizure and sale, statements of claim and demand letters. Our cross-disciplinary Group advises on alternative methods of obtaining possession of security properties and acts on sales of such properties by mortgages in possession. We initiate proceedings for possession (and the taking of possession) of properties, as well as list, negotiate and conduct the sale of properties, pursuing claims for deficiencies post-sale. Our Group also issues statutory notices for mortgage default; acts on the discharge of mortgages; contests defended mortgage recovery actions and receives reinstatement/redemption proceeds.