Farella real estate and land use lawyers provide comprehensive coverage for real estate owners, investors, developers, landlords, and tenants who require attentive, high value representation in transactions and land use matters throughout California and beyond. We offer clients a sophisticated, full-service, legal practice and the competitive advantage gained from the firm’s longstanding presence in Northern California, including the Napa Valley. Our clients benefit directly from our first-hand knowledge of the players, deals, and political landscape affecting today’s real estate markets.

Clients

For a range of savvy real estate clients, we are engaged to handle myriad legal matters that can range from deal structuring to entitling, purchasing, building, leasing, and disposition. Because we understand the importance of active listening and know how to achieve our clients’ commercial goals—whether they are looking to grow a local platform, expedite entitlements and manage exactions, or expand or reduce a property portfolio—we effectively deliver desired outcomes.

We staff nimble teams—led by one or more Farella partners who remain actively engaged in every facet of a matter. We become valued members of our clients’ deal teams, work hard to understand each client’s business, and in many cases, develop ongoing trusted advisor relationships, working beyond immediate deal issues to address corporate, finance, tax, environmental, regulatory, insurance, construction, and litigation.

Land Use and Zoning

Both local and national real estate developers depend on our extensive understanding of the political nuances affecting the land use and entitlement landscape in Northern California, with a particular focus on San Francisco and the Wine Country. Our team is adept at solving zoning issues that are critical to client success. We frequently work closely with city councils, boards of supervisors, and planning commissions, interacting with decision makers and departmental staff to streamline processes in pursuing client objectives.

To maximize our clients’ opportunities, our specialized knowledge in evolving land use regulations and valuable industry contacts to move matters forward with greater efficiency. 

Scope and Depth

We offer exceptional experience and know-how in addressing deal specific needs, such as architectural and construction agreements and Historic and New Markets Tax Credits. Among our team members are a former San Francisco supervisor and a former San Francisco deputy city attorney who add first-hand experience and insight that helps clients navigate complex real estate deals in the Bay Area.

Also, to accommodate smaller, privately-held family businesses, our transactional, estate planning, and business succession planning teams are deeply involved in the real estate practice. When disputes arise, our litigation teams appear in courtrooms throughout the region and across the U.S. to protect and defend our clients’ interests. 

Professional Involvement

Our industry commitment goes beyond solving legal puzzles for our clients. We are active in major trade groups, including the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), CREW San Francisco, and Lambda Alpha International (LAI). Our wine industry focus is augmented by our involvement in the California Association of Winegrape Growers, the Napa County Farm Bureau, and the International Wine Lawyers Association.

Noting our decades-long presence in Napa Valley and our St. Helena office serving the needs of our wine industry clients, the widely-read legal news source Law360 recognized our firm as a “California Powerhouse” in 2018. Our lawyers also regularly appear in national and California-based rankings from U.S. News - Best Lawyers, the Daily Journal, and The Legal 500 United States.

Firm Highlights

Publication

San Francisco Now Requires 100% Renewable Energy for Commercial Buildings

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance this week requiring owners of all nonresidential buildings in San Francisco of at least 50,000 square feet to provide all on-site electricity demands from 100...

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Publication

Attorney General Finds Impact Fees on Density Bonus Projects Invalid

In response to questions from a variety of cities across the state regarding the application of “public benefit fees” to density bonus projects, the State Attorney General’s Office published an opinion on April 9...

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Publication

A Watershed Moment for Renter Protections

It is tough to recognize when a watershed moment has occurred while one is in "the moment," but it won't take long for many to recognize that California is currently in the midst of one...

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Publication

Accessory Dwelling Units Authorized in New Construction

New legislation passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on June 18 now authorizes the addition of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in new construction projects for single-family homes and multi-family buildings. The City...

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Publication

Keeping Tabs on Energy Efficiency – New Benchmarking Requirements for San Francisco

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Publication

Legal Ins and Outs of 'Opportunity Zones' — So Far

A new tax incentive intended to stimulate investment in low-income communities known as opportunity zones has attracted significant attention from investors, developers, and business owners since its enactment under Section 1400Z-2 of the Internal...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Advises on Sale of 2,300-Acre Foote Ranch

Farella Braun + Martel represented a trust that owned 50% of the iconic 2,300-acre Foote Ranch in Sonoma, California in disputes with the ranch’s co-owners and in the subsequent $23.7 million sale of the...

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Publication

San Francisco COPA Program Rules Released

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) released program rules for the Community to Purchase Act (COPA) on September 3, 2019. The recently enacted COPA program (codified in Chapter 41B of the...

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Publication

California's Changing Approach to Housing Policy

Hardly a day goes by without news headlines reminding us that California is in the midst of a severe housing crisis. As with any crisis situation, questions abound. How did we get here? How...

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