Biography

Charles “CJ” Higley is a real estate generalist. His practice is focused on real estate development, land use entitlements (a notoriously complex undertaking in the Bay Area), and construction law. With respect to the latter, CJ has a particular expertise in negotiating contracts, ranging from architect’s agreements to the contracts with consultants and contractors that are typical for a development. The projects in which he’s been involved have been equally diverse, including large-scale residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional developments.

Sixteen years of experience have also given CJ an intricate matrix of relationships in the political, administrative, and real estate communities of San Francisco that has inured to the benefit of his clients. City planning staff, the Board of Supervisors, and the larger community find him relatable and pragmatic.  He’s someone they can work with to find common ground, and help move a project forward. CJ's knowledge of the real estate and construction players in San Francisco saves his clients time and money, and improves the odds of success. He knows the issues that are sensitive, and can either avoid or prepare for them, depending on the situation.

The acuteness of the Bay Area housing shortage has altered the process of permitting and obtaining the necessary entitlements for construction projects, particularly for developers engaged in affordable housing projects. The ability to delay, or in some cases, stop a project through a prolonged environmental review process is decreasing, and the political landscape is shifting towards streamlining the process, and sometimes exempting it from environmental review altogether. In this context, an experienced entitlement attorney with relationships throughout the various administrative bodies involved in the development process is invaluable, particularly when augmented by expertise in environmental law. By integrating experience, expertise and the versatility of an attorney who’s been actively engaged in a wide variety of projects, CJ is a significant competitive asset for his real estate and construction clients. 

Distinctions

  • The Legal 500 United States 2016 Land Use / Zoning
  • Northern California Super Lawyers - Rising Stars (2013)
  • Best Lawyers in America in the area of Real Estate Law (2021)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Housing Policy Board for San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR)
  • Legislative Committee for San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC)
  • Legislative Committee of the Environmental Section of the State Bar of California

Firm Highlights

News

Farella Assists Developers in Winning Balboa Reservoir Housing Project Approval

Project to create a diverse and vibrant new San Francisco neighborhood SAN FRANCISCO, August 13, 2020: Farella Braun + Martel represented a partnership of AvalonBay Communities and BRIDGE Housing Corporation in securing approval from...

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Publication

San Francisco Mayor Breed Issues Proclamation Providing Protection to Some Commercial Tenants

On March 17, 2020, San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued a proclamation providing eviction protection to certain small and medium sized businesses in San Francisco who are unable to pay rent due to the...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Ranked in Legal 500 United States 2020

The 2020 edition of Legal 500 United States recognized Farella Braun + Martel among the leading firms in the Construction, Land Use/Zoning, and Not-for-Profit practice areas. Land use partner Steven Vettel was named to...

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Publication

Newly Adopted California Housing Laws – Assembly Bill 1485 Streamlining the Permit Process for Housing Developments

On January 1, 2020, several housing-related bills recently signed into law by the Governor take effect. We will explain the upcoming changes in housing law through a series of updates. Our first update...

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News

52 Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021

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Publication

Newly Adopted California Housing Laws - Senate Bill 330 Housing Crisis Act

Ahead of the January 1, 2020 effective date for several housing-related bills recently signed into law by the Governor, we will explain upcoming changes in housing law through a series of updates. Our first...

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News

The Time to Reinvent the Commercial Real Estate Spaces of the Future Is Now

Real Estate and Land Use partner CJ Higley was quoted in the Bisnow article, "The Time to Reinvent the Commercial Real Estate Spaces of the Future Is Now." Read the full article, here .

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Publication

New California Housing Laws: AB 68 Accessory Dwelling Units

On January 1, 2020, several housing-related bills recently signed into law by the Governor take effect. We will explain the upcoming changes in housing law through a series of updates. Our first update...

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