Margo N. Bradish

Partner

Overview

A Strategic Counselor In Securing Land Use Approvals

Whether it is for a developer, corporate client, local government, or non-profit organization, Margo's extensive land use experience allows her to strategize the development and entitlement process, secure development approvals, and negotiate contracts for her clients. During her nearly 20 years of practice, she has assisted clients in securing approvals for transit-oriented and urban infill developments, urban and suburban office and industrial buildings, residential and mixed-use projects, shopping centers, senior housing, military base reuse projects, and an array of other projects. Margo takes a strategic approach to entitlement matters, counseling clients on both legal requirements and the options for developing political support, neutralizing opposition, and minimizing the risk of challenge.

A Trusted Advisor For California Developers

Margo advises her clients with respect to a wide variety of planning, zoning, and development laws, including general and specific plans, zoning compliance and amendments, development agreements, compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), global warming and climate change regulations, historic resources, subdivisions, use permits, fees, exactions and conditions, density bonuses, and infrastructure finance. Margo also defends administrative and judicial challenges to land use entitlements.

Land Use Advice For Real Estate Acquisitions And Dispositions

In her practice, Margo advises clients on the land use aspects of acquisitions and dispositions. Margo has extensive experience advising both buyers and sellers in real estate transactions that are contingent on the receipt of land use entitlements. Margo also conducts land use due diligence for real estate acquisitions and dispositions and portfolio transactions.

Representative
Matters

Office/Research And Development

Represented a Fortune 500 company in securing entitlements for 140 acres for the development of its 3.3 million-square-foot worldwide headquarters. The project received all entitlements in about 10 months, including vested rights to develop the project for up to 20 years, and created in excess of $30 million in shareholder value. The project was fully constructed, with the company commencing construction on one building per month every month for all but one of 18 consecutive months. Subsequently represented the company in securing an additional 2.5 million square feet of development rights under the North San Jose Area Development Policy, which will allow the company to intensify development on its headquarters site over the next 20 years.

Represented a collaboration between a Fortune 500 company and three other entities in all aspects of the entitlements process for a 6,600,000-square-foot office/research and development complex. Representation included managing the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report (which was upheld by the California Court of Appeals); assisting the client in securing land use entitlements from various public agencies, including the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and other state and regional agencies; working with the construction and finance teams on infrastructure and financing issues; and coordinating with the governmental affairs consultants. Entitlements included a Development Agreement that has provided critical vesting protection to the entitlements in the face of subsequent planning efforts in the North Coyote Valley.

Represented a Fortune 500 developer in obtaining entitlements for a two-phase, 2.3 million-square-foot campus. Representation included managing the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report and assisting the company in securing entitlements (including a Development Agreement providing vested rights to build the two-phase project over 20 years) from the City, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Represented a biotech company in managing the CEQA process, obtaining entitlements, negotiating infrastructure requirements, and executing redevelopment agreements for its 2.2 million-square-foot biotech R&D/office/manufacturing headquarters. The approvals (including up to $95 million of tax increment financing) were specifically designed to grant the company maximum flexibility to grow without being constrained by real estate and entitlement limitations.

Represented a software development company in the entitlement of its 425,000-square-foot new campus, a transit-oriented development on a former Superfund site.

Mixed-Use

Ongoing representation of a major real estate development corporation in the re-entitlement of a former military supply center site for a mixed-use project consisting of approximately 400,000 square feet of waterfront office space, 50,000 square feet of waterfront retail, a 250,000-square-foot retail center, a 20,000-square-foot health club, 300 residential units (including 75 affordable units), and an 8-acre waterfront park. The project is a public-private partnership with the City's redevelopment agency. The project was one of a select few to be included in the LEED for Neighborhood Design pilot program. City entitlements include a Supplemental EIR, a Master Plan Amendment, three Development Agreements, and two Disposition and Development Agreements; resource agency entitlements for the waterfront development also are anticipated.

Represented a Fortune 500 company in connection with the adoption and implementation of Precise Plan. The Precise Plan, which surrounds and includes the primary data center, authorizes 1,120 housing units, 37,000 square feet of commercial uses, and a public park. Working closely with City staff on the General Plan Amendment, Rezoning, Precise Plan, and associated Environmental Impact Report, assisted the company in assuring that land use controls allow the data center to continue to be operated and expanded, while also preserving the option of future residential conversion as an exit strategy.

Represented a property owner in the re-entitlement of an existing office park to accommodate a transit-oriented development, including CEQA review, Planned Development Rezoning, and a Development Agreement. It is anticipated that the entitlement structure will preserve flexibility to adjust land use distribution between office and senior housing in response to market demand.

Represented a major real estate development firm in the acquisition and entitlement of a 300-acre former aggregate mining site for a mixed-use (retail, office, industrial, and residential). Entitlements are anticipated to include an EIR, General Plan Amendment, Specific Plan, PUD Zoning, Annexation, Urban Growth Boundary adjustment, Growth Management Agreement, Development Agreement, Inclusionary Housing Agreement, Development Plan, Design Review, and Subdivision Map.

Represented a real estate development company in the acquisition and entitlement for a mixed-use project consisting of 3.6 million square feet of office/research and development space (owned and occupied by an international electronics development company), 2,900 residential units, and 460,000 square feet of retail in a redevelopment area in the City, including an EIR, General Plan Amendments, Planned Development Rezoning, Vesting Tentative Map with phased Final Maps, and Planned Development Permits.

Represented a developer in the entitlement and development of the Alameda Fleet Industrial Supply Center and a portion of the Alameda Naval Air Station, including the initial phase consisting of 485 single-family residential units (including affordable duplexes) and 100 affordable apartments, as well as a subsequent phase consisting of 300 residential units, 400,000 square feet of office, and 300,000 square feet of retail. Project entitlements included three separate Development Agreements vesting the entitlements for 20-year terms, one for the initial phase and one each for the subsequent residential and commercial phases. Representation also included providing input in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report for the transfer of the property from the Navy to the City, managing the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report for the project, assisting the developer in securing entitlements and infrastructure financing from the City and its redevelopment agency and representing the company in settling related CEQA litigation.

Retail

Represented a big-box retailer in the entitlement of an approximately 365,000-square-foot retail center near downtown district, including preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, rezoning and negotiation of a Development Agreement, and an Owner Participation Agreement.

Represented a Southern California commercial development company in the development of a 935,000-square-foot lifestyle center and 300-room hotel within a master-planned mixed-use development in a coastal city. Representation included renegotiation of existing Owner Participation Agreement, Development Agreement, and related entitlements to reposition anticipated retail from a traditional shopping center to lifestyle center.

Represented a commercial property developer in the re-entitlement of two shopping centers in existing Specific Plan areas in the City of Lathrop to accommodate current tenant demand.

Represented a luxury shopping center entity regarding land use entitlements associated with its ground lease of the shopping center in Northern California.

Represented a luxury retailer in supervising the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, obtaining land use entitlements, and coordinating with the governmental affairs consultants for the expansion of the existing flagship store in a historic district in an urban setting.

Represented a shopping center in managing the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report and securing entitlements for a controversial 13-screen cineplex at the shopping center in a coastal area.

Represented a retail property management company in commenting on a Caltrans Environmental Impact Report for an interchange project that would have adversely affected client's shopping mall. Comments resulted in redesign of the project and additional environmental analyses.

Residential

Ongoing representation of a luxury condominium developer in the entitlement of the last significant development in an expired redevelopment area. It is anticipated that the project will include a specialized museum, ground floor retail and a high-rise luxury condominium tower, as well as the restoration of a National Register–eligible commercial building. The project is proposed to be certified LEED Silver. In addition to a purchase agreement with the redevelopment agency, entitlements will include rezoning, Section 309 authorization, an EIR, an airspace subdivision and related approvals.

Represented a real estate developer in connection with the acquisition, entitlement, and development of a vertical mixed-use project in a Northern California city's redevelopment area. The project involves an entire city block formerly used as a corporation yard and proposed to be redeveloped with 600 market-rate condominiums and townhomes, 85 affordable assisted-living units, 30,000 square feet of retail, and a 10,000-square-foot community amenity space over underground and podium parking. The project is proposed to be certified LEED Silver. Advised the developer with respect to the CEQA process, General Plan Amendment, Planned Development rezoning, Planned Development Permits, air space subdivision, and Disposition and Development Agreement.

Represented an affordable housing development company in the entitlement of major renovations of assisted-living facilities throughout Northern California to accommodate state-of-the-art assisted living and dementia care facilities.

Represented a real estate investment company and a residential developer in the acquisition and entitlement of a 455-unit podium-style condominium project in the downtown district of a major Northern California city.

Represented not-for-profit venture between a family services group and a health systems company in gaining approvals for a 175-unit assisted-living seniors facility in a major Northern California city with affordable and market-rate units, pursuant to the state Density Bonus Law.

Represented homebuilding entities in negotiating various agreements typically required for residential development, including school agreements, fee credit and reimbursement agreements, inclusionary housing agreements, land dedication agreements, etc., in numerous jurisdictions throughout Northern California.

Industrial

Represented a waste management systems company in securing entitlements (i) from the City for its new headquarters and transfer station; and (ii) from the County for an expansion of its composting facility and for a new transfer facility.

Represented a multinational energy corporation in securing entitlements from a city and county in Northern California to close service stations.

Represented a wind-farm developer in obtaining NEPA and CEQA approvals in Northern California, Southern California, Washington, and Wyoming.

Portfolio Analysis And Due Diligence

Represented numerous residential, mixed-use, and corporate developers and investors in completing due diligence analysis regarding the availability and status of entitlements of properties proposed for acquisition, development, and/or investment.

Represented various corporate users in analyzing properties throughout the Bay Area for acquisition and development for corporate facilities use, using a methodology for rapid and discrete analysis of potential sites to assist corporate users in determining which sites to pursue.

Special Projects

Represented a Fortune 500 technology company in obtaining entitlements, including a Negative Declaration and a Site Development Permit Amendment, for a state-of-the-art, LEED-certified childcare, wellness, and athletic facility to serve the company's headquarters.

Represented a major league sports facility developer with respect to the Environmental Impact Report and land use entitlements for the proposed stadium and lifestyle center retail development.

Represented a cemetery company in its negotiations with local public transit agencies in connection with the extension of the system through the historic cemetery. Representation included assisting the client in challenging the EIR for the extension and in negotiating a comprehensive mitigation agreement to address the impacts of the extension on the cemetery, as well as negotiating the sale of the right-of-way to the transit agency.

Represented pro bono a wildlife rehabilitation center in obtaining coastal development permits and use permits for a wildlife rehabilitation center in Northern California.

Represented vineyard and winery in Western Australia in preparing analyses of laws for protection of agriculture and viticulture for presentation to the Australian Legislature.

Represented various timeshare developers in obtaining entitlements for timeshare conversions of residential and hotel projects.

Publications &
Speaking Engagements

Recent Publications

Recent Speaking Engagements

After The Bubble: Opportunities In Real Estate, 3/13/2010

Entitling Mixed-Use Developments, 8/22/2008

Complex and Mixed Use Development Projects, 3/31/2008

Lecturer, various Real Estate Development courses, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, 1999 - present

Frequent lecturer at various conferences on CEQA and land use issues, including conferences for CLE International, LawSeminars International, the Association of Environmental Professionals, the State Bar of California, and Bridgeport Continuing Education

Awards &
Affiliations

Awards & Recognition

  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2012-2014
  • Northern California Super Lawyers Top Women Attorneys, 2014
  • SPUR Downtown San Jose Zoning Task Force , 2014

Professional Affiliations

  • Urban Land Institute (ULI), San Francisco District Council Executive Committee; Mentor, Former Co-Chair, Urban Plan Committee
  • San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR), Advisory Council; Formerly Board of Directors; Chair, San Francisco CEQA Reform Task Force; Co-Chair, SPUR-Heritage Joint Task Force on Historic Preservation
  • Lambda Alpha International, Golden Gate Chapter, Formerly Board of Directors; Former Co-Chair, Programs Committee
  • Juror, Cal-Stanford Golden Shovel Real Estate Challenge, 2007-2009; Jury Chair, 2009
  • NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Member
  • Bar Association of San Francisco

Spotlight

41 Cox, Castle & Nicholson Attorneys Recognized As 2014 Super Lawyers

The Cox, Castle & Nicholson attorneys named Top 2014 Attorneys in Northern and Southern California by Super Lawyers are: More»

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), 1993
  • A.B., Brown University, 1990, magna cum laude, phi beta kappa
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