John Whitaker brings more than 50 years of exceptional legal counsel to developers of major downtown Los Angeles projects and other domestic and foreign investors in large-scale office, residential, lodging and retail buildings, to the firm’s award-winning land use practice group. His best-in-class counsel and track record for successfully navigating some of DTLA’s most complex projects is instrumental for the real estate industry’s evolving legal landscape.
John has played a significant role in the revitalization of the Los Angeles city center since the late 1970s. He counseled major developers including Greenland USA, The Ratkovich Company, Related Group and Brookfield Properties, and served on the TFAR Task Force, which played a pivotal role in drafting City and Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) policies. John has become the go-to resource for transfers of floor area rights, which enabled property owners to quantify and sell unused development rights from their sites to other landowners, who can then increase the density of new construction. Notably, Whitaker provided legal oversight to The South Group in the early 2000s for three condominium high-rise buildings – Elleven, Luma and Evo – the first ground-up construction of residential condominium buildings in downtown Los Angeles in 20 years.
Following the dissolution of CRAs in 2012, Whitaker was appointed by the Central City Association to work alongside City planning on a new Downtown Development Code. He helps clients navigate new regulations and advises on their rights and obligations with regard to existing and pending projects and potential acquisition of properties owned by redevelopment agencies.
His clients include domestic and foreign developers of major downtown Los Angeles and outlying projects, including domestic and foreign investors in major office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, residential and resort properties. He also assists financial institutions and other lenders in connection with real estate loan workout issues, including assistance with real property foreclosures and receivership proceedings and disposition of their real estate assets.
John's other notable owner/developer clients include CIM Group, Jade Enterprises, Amacon, Omni Los Angeles Hotel, Five Plants Associates, California Primary Physicians Property Group, 1200 S. Figueroa Development, Inc., Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc., IDS Real Estate Group, Park Fifth Associates, The Hanover Company and the YWCA.
John's practice also includes significant projects outside Downtown Los Angeles for clients such as The Ratkovich Company, Farmers Group, Inc., AIG, Gerding Edlen Development, CIM Group, Dedeaux Properties, Dart Entities and Capital Records.