Shopping Center/Retail Development

Developers have long recognized that dealing with national retailers requires special skills and resources, and we understand this perspective based upon our experience in representing department stores and big box retailers.

Frost Brown Todd has a history of getting deals done and projects developed. We provide the multidisciplinary strengths to solve all the complex contractual, environmental and tax problems that can arise in retail development projects. Recognized by their peers as being at the top of their game, we have assembled a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers to provide the responsive service, sense of partnership, local presence and market knowledge of a small firm combined with the resources, depth and breadth of experience, support and proven track record that only a nationally-recognized law firm can provide.


We understand the development community and its needs, not only in the real estate aspects of the acquisition but also in dealing with REITs, department stores, big box retailers and the lenders. We have the connections in each of our locations to secure the crucial local government approval of permits and zoning applications (including appeals) on the time-sensitive basis that developers require and to skillfully obtain tax abatements and financial incentives.

  • We represent developers with acquisition and disposition of shopping centers, life-style centers, community centers, power centers and other types of retail developments across the country.
  • We represent developers in negotiating multiparty shopping center REA documents with national retailers in new and existing shopping centers.
  • We represent anchor stores, in-line mall tenants and free-standing "big box" retail tenants in a variety of developments. We have represented anchor stores across the country in connection with the expansion and renovation of existing regional malls as well as representing those anchor retailers in new mall developments.
  • We represented national in-line mall tenants, helping them to create standardized lease documents for use throughout the country, and we have represented "big box" retailers in power centers and other kinds of retail developments throughout the country. We work regularly with both inside counsel for our larger retailer clients and have also served as the outside lead real estate counsel where the retailers did not have an inside legal staff.
  • We have substantial experience in dealing with the lending communities. We regularly represent our developer clients in loan transactions extended by both banks and the investment banking community in conduit financings securitized on Wall Street.
  • We negotiated the financing documents in connection with securitized financings on loans ranging from $5 million to $150 million. The financings have involved both the negotiation of the loan documents necessary to securitize the loans and also the joint venture documents to accommodate the equity side of the transactions when our clients formed joint ventures with equity partners.
  • We provided the required bankruptcy/nonconsolidation opinions from our Financial Restructuring Team in connection with the securitized loans. We understand our developer clients' borrowing needs, and we assist them in obtaining the kind of financing necessary to close their transactions.
  • We successfully secured real property tax assessment reductions for a variety of retail properties, including vacant land, strip centers, enclosed malls and "big box" facilities. We are able to obtain significant tax reductions for our clients by leveraging our expertise and knowledge in this area with our relationships with local appraisers and brokers and our national network of valuation consultants.

Architects of the Deal

It has been our experience that clients need to have a single "go to" attorney on each of these complicated acquisitions and related financings because each aspect of the transaction is so interrelated that changes in one area of the deal will impact another. That's why we cross-train our professionals, so that a single lawyer can serve as the "architect" of a deal. The loan and equity sides of a transaction require an understanding of the underlying acquisition, and it is important to have a single coordinating attorney who can organize the entire transaction. Our lawyers are focused and specialized, but, because of the cross-training, we can cost-effectively staff any representation.

True Resources for Developers

Because we work closely with others in our firm, we can provide comprehensive, collateral resources for client projects. Many of our environmental lawyers and professionals have scientific and technical backgrounds and an understanding of the development process. They bring a practical and "user friendly" approach to solving complicated environmental law problems in real estate developments. Additionally we partner with Incentis Group, a premier national advisor in the areas of economic incentives and tax credit benefits offered by state and local governments across the country. They offer access to the unique capability of identifying, structuring and securing incentive packages available for both new developments as well as for the rehabilitation or expansion of existing projects. Incentis professionals have helped our clients with tax increment financing arrangements (TIFs), as well as a wide variety of state and local programs designed to help fund the construction of infrastructure improvements.

Connected to the Industry

Our team regularly attends and participates in numerous national, state and local meetings sponsored by the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Urban Land Institute and a variety of other trade and business organizations. We are passionate about working with our clients in the real estate development area, and we keep current with regional and national trends that are helpful to our clients.