Real Property Acquisition and Development – Untangling a Web of Complex Issues
In late 2019 Cuddy & Feder assisted an industry-leading international manufacturer seeking to acquire an appropriate site to build a new manufacturing plant in the United States. Because of the manufacturer’s unique production process, the site needed direct access to a commercial railway and the capacity to store rail cars on-site.
The manufacturer identified a site in a northern New York county that met these needs, but the site had several significant drawbacks. The site and the land surrounding it had no access to a roadway. The land that would serve as the roadway was owned by different parties – one of them a federal agency – and was located in two different municipalities. The site itself needed to be subdivided from a larger parcel of land. The land comprising the site was owned by a not-for-profit entity and had accrued and was continuing to accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. Lastly, the site had been a crucial part of a significant environmental clean-up operation of a nearby waterway.
The manufacturer hired Cuddy & Feder LLP to represent it in the acquisition and navigate the multitude of issues impacting the use and operation of the site. Cuddy & Feder assembled a multi-disciplinary team to attack these complex issues from all angles.
- Our Real Estate team, led by Cuddy & Feder partner Michael Katz, spearheaded the entire transaction. First, through a robust due diligence process, the team comprehensively identified the myriad of transactional, title, environmental, development, entitlement and other issues that needed to be negotiated and/or addressed in order to conclude a successful transaction. Among other matters, the team addressed site access including the assemblage of land from multiple parties including one governmental actor to create durable access to the site, as well as future public dedication of such access; rail access and car storage; and utility access, water and sewer use and stormwater discharge. The team then took responsibility for creating and negotiating the documentation necessary to implement the transaction requirements.
- Our Finance team, led by Cuddy & Feder partner Eon Nichols, successfully procured significant tax abatement and other benefits for the manufacturer from the county’s industrial development agency, without which the project would not have been economically feasible.
- Our Land Use, Zoning & Development practice, led by Cuddy & Feder partner Neil Alexander, put together a comprehensive plan to obtain SEQRA compliance and land use entitlements from three separate municipalities simultaneously, including Subdivision and Site Plan Approval from 2 Planning Boards as well as Area Variances/Zoning Law Interpretations as to Access, Setbacks, Parking and Building Height from 2 Zoning Boards of Appeals across almost a dozen separate tax parcels covering in excess of 100 acres. The Planning Boards often met jointly as did the Zoning Boards of Appeals.
- Our Energy & Environmental attorneys, led by Cuddy & Feder partner Neil Alexander, were able to review and advise on the possible environmental impacts from the previous use of the site and its recognized environmental conditions (RECs). The reuse and redevelopment of the property required precision as to the siting for the rail spur, storm water management practices and septic as well as wells for potable water and fire suppression in view of the RECs. Further, the operation of the facility necessitated consideration of the manufacturing process water neutralization, air emissions/particulates matter management, and noise baffling. The existence of an on-site electric substation also led to consideration of wholesale use solely versus allowing for retail electricity resale to others.
The transaction showcases Cuddy & Feder’s ability to draw upon its experienced talent pool to troubleshoot a web of complex issues and create a structure for advancing the transaction to closing.