A Strategic Counselor In Securing Land Use Approvals

Margo is best known for her practical and strategic approach to the land use approval process.  She counsels clients on structuring entitlement strategies that not only satisfy legal requirements, but also maximize client objectives and opportunities to develop political support, neutralize opposition, and minimize the risk of challenge.  With over 30 years of experience in jurisdictions spanning the Bay Area, Margo guides developers, corporate users, lenders, and non-profits from due diligence and entitlement strategy development through successful project approval.  She assists clients in securing entitlements for transit-oriented and urban infill developments, corporate campuses (including technology and biotechnology), office and industrial parks, residential and mixed-use projects, retail and lifestyle centers, senior housing, military base reuse projects, schools, and an array of other projects.

A Trusted Advisor For California Developers

Margo is one of Northern California’s leading entitlements lawyers.  Clients trust Margo for practical, experienced counsel on the full gamut of development laws, including general and specific plans, zoning, development agreements, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), housing law (including Builder’s Remedy, Housing Element Law, Housing Accountability Act, Density Bonus Law, SB 35, and SB 330), historic resources, subdivisions, use permits, and fees and exactions. Margo also defends administrative and judicial challenges to land use entitlements.

Land Use Advice For Real Estate Acquisitions And Dispositions

Margo advises clients on the land use aspects of acquisitions and dispositions.  She has extensive experience advising both buyers/tenants and sellers/landlords 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.


Corporate Campus/Office/Research and Development/Life Science

  • 1.5 million-square-foot life science campus in the East Side Innovation District (Developer, San Carlos)
  • 675,000-square-foot life science campus in the East of 101 Area (Developer, South San Francisco)
  • 200,000-square-foot office/R&D building and a 15,000 square foot amenity center added to a life science campus in the Gateway Specific Plan area (Developer, South San Francisco)
  • 540,000-square-foot life science building in the East of 101 Area (Developer, South San Francisco)
  • 2 million-square-foot corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities expansion in the Lawrence Station Area Plan (Corporate User, Sunnyvale)
  • 172,400-square-foot building added to a corporate technology headquarters (Corporate User, Sunnyvale)
  • 3 million-square-foot worldwide headquarters campus in the North San Jose Area Development Policy area (Corporate User, San Jose)
  • 1 million-square-foot office/research and development campus in the North San Jose Area Development Policy area (Corporate User, San Jose)
  • 2.3 million-square-foot office campus in Alviso (Corporate User, San Jose)
  • 350,000-square-foot office building in Skyport development (Developer, San Jose)
  • 180,000-square-foot life science and office building in the Mission Bay Redevelopment Area (Developer, San Francisco)
  • 270,000-square-foot office building in Western SOMA (Developer, San Francisco)
  • 2 million-square-foot office/research and development campus at Heritage Fields (Corporate User, Irvine)


  • Mixed-use project consisting of up to a 1.6 million-square-foot headquarters expansion, 200,000 square feet of retail, a hotel, and 1,730 rental housing units in the Bayfront area (Corporate User, Menlo Park)
  • Mixed-use project consisting of up to 1,485 dwelling units, 150,000 square feet of retail, 50,000 square feet of office and industrial space, 250 hotel rooms, and a 75-room youth hostel on a portion of the former Fort Ord base (Developer, Seaside)
  • Mixed-use, transit-oriented infill community consisting of over 2,000 dwelling units and approximately 1.5 million square feet of office/research and development space in the Warm Springs Innovation District (Developer, Fremont)
  • Mixed-use Urban Village Signature Project consisting of 400 residential units (including single family homes, townhomes, apartments, and accessory dwelling units), 60,000 square feet of commercial space, a hotel, and a 185 unit assisted living facility (Developer, San Jose)
  • Mixed-use project consisting of up to 2,200 dwelling units, 67,500 square feet of retail and commercial uses, and 1.44 million square feet of industrial park uses in the Communications Hill Specific Plan (Developer, San Jose)
  • Residential portion of a mixed-use project consisting of 3.6 million square feet of office/research and development space, 2,900 residential units, and 460,000 square feet of retail in the Edenvale Redevelopment Area (Developer, San Jose)
  • Military base reuse project consisting of approximately 1,000 residential units, a 285,000-square-foot shopping center, and waterfront industrial uses at the former Alameda Naval Air Station and Fleet Industrial Supply Center (Developer, Alameda)

Residential and Senior Housing

  • 478 unit for-sale residential project at the former Alameda Naval Air Station (Developer, Alameda)
  • 427-unit residential project in the Transit Corridors Plan Area (Developer, San Bruno)
  • 155 units of new ownership housing (Developer, Mountain View)
  • 463 units of new ownership and rental housing in the East Whisman Precise Plan area (Developer, Mountain View)
  • 190-unit high-rise condominium tower in the Yerba Buena neighborhood (Developer, San Francisco)
  • 600-unit apartment project near downtown BART station (Developer, Fremont)
  • 400-unit age-restricted senior housing project (Developer, Fremont)
  • 40-bed memory care facility and renovation of a state-of-the-art 105-bed assisted-living (RCFE) facility (Developer, San Mateo)
  • Downtown project, including 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 (Developer, San Jose)


  • 208,000 square foot advanced manufacturing and assembly facility in North San Jose (Developer, San Jose)
  • 250,000 square-foot warehouse, office, and food distribution facility in Alviso (Non-Profit User, San Jose)
  • Waste management systems company headquarters, transfer station, and composting facility (Corporate User, Santa Clara County)


  • 365,000-square-foot retail center near San Jose International Airport (Developer, San Jose)
  • Repositioning and expansion of a 935,000-square-foot lifestyle center and 300-room hotel within a master-planned mixed-use development (Developer, Oxnard)
  • Expansion of Neiman Marcus flagship store in Union Square (Retailer, San Francisco)



Speaking Engagements


Awards & Affiliations

Honors & Recognitions

Bisnow NorCal “Women Leading Real Estate” Honoree, 2023

Best Lawyers, Land Use & Zoning Law, 2015–2024

San Francisco Business Times’ Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence, 2015, 2017 - "Hall of Fame"

Northern California Super Lawyers, 2012–2023

Northern California Super Lawyers Women's Edition, 2014-2023

Professional Affiliations

NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, Board of Directors, Founding Member and Chair Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability (“IDEA”) Committee (Former)

Urban Land Institute (ULI), San Francisco District Council Executive Board (Emeritus)

San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR), Board of Directors (Former) and Urban Leaders Council 

Lambda Alpha International (LAI), Golden Gate Chapter Board of Directors (Former)

Juror, Cal-Stanford Golden Shovel Real Estate Challenge, Juror, 2007–2009 and 2015, 2016; Jury Chair, 2009, 2016

Bar Association of San Francisco

Community Affiliations 

College of William & Mary, Parent & Family Council 2023

Marin Catholic High School, Parent Advisory Board, 2017-2020

San Domenico School, Master Plan Committee, 2010-2017

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Colorado


J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 1993

A.B., Brown University, 1990, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

at Cox Castle

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