Firm News

Prominent San Francisco Land Use Attorney Steven Vettel Joins Farella Braun + Martel

June 20, 2006 Announcement

SAN FRANCISCO, June 20, 2006 - Farella Braun + Martel announces today the addition of Steven L. Vettel as a partner in its San Francisco office.  A prominent land use attorney whose successful entitlement work for several major developers has helped shape San Francisco's skyline, Vettel joins Farella Braun + Martel's thriving Real Estate Department from Morrison & Foerster LLP.

"We are thrilled to welcome an attorney of Steve's caliber and experience to the firm," said Tony Ratner, chair of Farella Braun + Martel's Real Estate Department. "His proven ability to move forward major projects, whether residential, commercial, industrial or mixed-use, is a huge asset to clients and an ideal complement to our comprehensive real estate offerings."

Vettel's practice focuses on land use, zoning, legislative advocacy, environmental review and redevelopment law.  He regularly appears before planning commissions, legislative bodies, redevelopment agencies and zoning officials to advocate on behalf of real estate developers, property owners and governmental agencies.  In addition, Vettel counsels on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance and defends his clients' environmental review documents in both administrative and judicial forums. 

"Steve's high level work in the CEQA arena and strong background in redevelopment law deepen our bench in this area, as well," said Buzz Hines, chair of Farella Braun + Martel's Environmental Law Department.

Vettel has successfully represented several major residential developers in obtaining land use entitlements for the construction of some of the City's largest high-rise residential buildings, including the 55- and 45-story One Rincon Hill project that recently broke ground at the foot of the Bay Bridge.  In the face of tough opposition, he also obtained land use entitlements for redevelopment and improvement of several shopping center properties; negotiated zoning amendments and land use entitlements for mixed-use development projects on land formerly zoned exclusively for industrial use; negotiated the land use entitlements for development of a major hotel project on property owned by the City and County of San Francisco's municipal railroad; and, successfully defended the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency in litigation before the California Superior Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, upholding the Agency's expansion of an existing redevelopment area and the approval of a mixed-use project incorporating portions of an historic downtown property.

Vettel earned his J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (1984), and received his B.A. from Stanford University (1977).  

Farella Braun + Martel's Real Estate Department has handled the acquisition and disposition of billions of dollars worth of commercial properties in Northern California. Many of these transactions required the creation of sophisticated ownership structures, ground leases, tax and historic tax planning, complex financing arrangements, and the resolution of significant environmental issues.  The firm has developed strategic capabilities in condo-conversion, hotels and resorts, public/private partnerships and luxury and mega-luxury fractional ownership developments.  In 2005, FBM represented The Swig Company in the acquisition of the Kaiser Center in Oakland, a 900,000-plus square foot mixed-use complex, which was honored as a "Real Estate Deal of the Year" by the San Francisco Business Times on March 23, 2006.  In April 17, 2006, FBM ranked #8 on the California Real Estate Journal's list of "California's Major Real Estate Law Firms."  On May 30, 2006, Jeanne M. McKinney joined FBM as a real estate associate from Thelen Reid & Priest's San Francisco office.

About Farella Braun + Martel LLP

Since its founding in 1962, Farella Braun + Martel has achieved a national reputation for the acumen of its business practice, the high-profile cases of its complex commercial litigation practice and its prestigious client base. Based in San Francisco, the firm serves a diverse group of clients from multinational corporations to emerging businesses. The firm also has an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry and related businesses.

Melinda Faith / Traci Stuart 
Allison Blattel Professional Services Group       
[email protected] / [email protected]

Cheryl Loof
Farella Braun + Martel LLP
415.954.4433 / [email protected]

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