Real Estate and Environmental Law

Schenck, Price, Smith & King’s Real Estate and Environmental practice group has decades of experience in all types of real estate and environmental issues.

We represent landowners and developers in the full range of commercial real estate matters, including:

  • Purchase and sale of real estate
  • Analysis of development and redevelopment opportunities
  • Project financing
  • Regulatory compliance and interaction with governmental officials
  • Analysis of governmental incentives
  • Appearances before and representation of planning boards and boards of adjustment, and 
  • Representation of both landlords and tenants in commercial leasing transactions  
  • Obtaining permits and approvals for land use development and redevelopment

Our ability to tackle real estate, environmental and land use issues allows us to address the full range of matters affecting commercial businesses.  Our lean staffing ensures cost efficiency and assures clients that they will work closely with senior, experienced practitioners.

Our lawyers have addressed a broad variety of litigation, regulatory and insurance matters before state and federal courts, as well as regulatory agencies and boards, and handled a wide range of business transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, mergers, leases, financings and construction.

We have substantial experience in adopting strategies for defense and/or prosecution of pollution litigation and management of environmental issues.   In such matters, we have a proven track record of achieving excellent results while minimizing transaction costs.

We have experience in advising clients on environmental issues relating to consultants, licensed site remediation professionals (LSRPs), permitting, indemnity agreements, insurance, lender and shareholder liability, and environmental site cleanup.

Real Estate Services to Clients  

In New Jersey and beyond the state’s borders, we represent clients, including landowners, investors, developers, planning boards, boards of adjustments, landlords and tenants in all kinds of commercial real estate matters, including:                                         

  • Acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate 
  • Development and redevelopment of property including analysis of zoning, regulatory requirements and governmental incentives 
  • Commercial leasing
  • Contracts for construction, design and development 
  • Construction and permanent financing
  • Workouts and restructuring 
  • Real estate tax appeals
  • Real estate acquisition and sale of properties, financing and development of commercial and industrial properties
  • Land use including development and redevelopment for residential, commercial and industrial uses, zoning analysis and regulatory compliance
  • Leasing disputes, land development litigation, brokerage commission cases and real estate valuation issues as well as related tax appeals and condemnation matters

Representative Real Estate Matters

  • Represented numerous planning boards and boards of adjustment, including Florham Park, Jefferson Township and Dover, and the combined Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment of Byram Township and Boonton
  • Represented a real estate entity in a $19 million real estate disposition, $12 million acquisition and loan purchases relating to various real estate property types
  • Coordinated the sale of clients’ buildings in municipalities throughout Essex County, NJ, including securing requisite municipal approvals, resolving environmental-related issues and closing of title with three separate buyers
  • Handled the sale of a residential 77-unit building in Newark and related commercial properties, including resolution of environmental-related matters and termination of a rental receivership  

Environmental Services to Clients

Our range of services includes the following:

  • Transactions involving solar energy
  • Prosecution and defense of private cost recovery actions and defense of government-instituted contribution actions, including litigating responsibility among successive owners and tenants at contaminated sites to cost allocations and de minimis settlements at large multi-party sites
  • Prosecution of declaratory judgment actions against insurers on behalf of commercial and industrial clients seeking coverage for response costs at all types of contaminated sites, including single sites, multiple dwelling sites and large multi-party sites where the insured has been named a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) 
  • Hazardous and solid waste regulation and claims, including recycling and contracting 
  • Environmental cost recovery actions and insurance coverage actions for cleanup of environmental contamination
  • Toxic tort litigation and stigma damage litigation: defending corporations and other business entities in personal injury and property damage cases arising out of exposure to asbestos, chemical contaminants and other hazardous materials or proximity to contamination
  • Site remediation, including investigations, access agreements, deed notices, settlements, and dealing with neighbors, regulators, municipalities, counties and LSRPs 
  • Environmental regulation affecting real estate and business, including wetlands regulation, underground storage tank law, medical waste and storm water management regulations 
  • Environmental compliance and permitting issues, including for specialized businesses such as manufacturing, major facilities, hospitals, schools, child care centers and residential developments 
  • Assisting in the preparation for, prosecution and assertion of, settlement of and defense against, environmental claims of all kinds, including cleanup costs, losses, fines and natural resource damages
  • Assisting clients identified by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), or others as PRPs pursuant to CERCLA (“Superfund”) and other similar statutes at contaminated sites

Representative Environmental Matters

Our attorneys have represented clients before state and federal agencies and local boards in fulfilling environmental requirements for site plan and construction approvals.  We have represented commercial and industrial clients in prosecution and defense of private cost recovery actions and defense of government-instituted contribution actions.  We have extensive familiarity with the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) and have represented hundreds of companies involved in transactions and compliance under ISRA. Representative matters have included:

  • Defending owners/operators of three significant Superfund sites in central and northern New Jersey, including the prosecution of related insurance coverage actions, CERCLA costs-recovery actions and defense of governmental cost-recovery actions
  • Being part of a team that successfully resolved a state natural resources damage claim relating to a large former industrial site in northern New Jersey
  • Representing a municipality that successfully resolved a federal landfill remediation action, including a federal natural resources damage claim relating to a municipal landfill
  • Leading the defense in a New Jersey Spill Act claim for a large fuel oil concern at multiple sites across New Jersey
  • Routine involvement for over 10 years on a range of issues for remediation of 10-15 sites of a major commercial entity, including preparation, supervision, and negotiation of access and settlement agreements, deed notices, permits, submissions to NJDEP and other governmental entities, permitting, natural resource damage claim settlement, personal injury and property damage defense to claims, and property purchases and sales
  • Representing a small group in the Passaic River litigation (New Jersey)
  • Representing environmental consulting firms in various matters, including response action outcome issues