With decades of experience working on all types of real estate matters, Chris strives to be a creative deal-maker. His work includes negotiation and structuring of complex joint venture agreements, property acquisitions and sales, leases, construction and development contracts, creating commercial and residential condominiums and homeowners’ associations, developing master planned communities, and debt, equity and bond financing. Chris also has a broad, general business practice, helping a diverse array of clients succeed in establishing, operating, and protecting their businesses, and advising them on matters such as choice of business entity for startups, employment issues, partnership and LLC agreements, asset purchases and sales, mergers and acquisitions, and negotiation of a wide range of other contracts. Chris began his career representing lenders, experience that has proven invaluable in representation of his current clients.
- Ongoing representation of several large real estate investments funds and their managers, including Washington Capital Management, Inc., FSC Realty, and USAA Real Estate Company. Recent transactions include: a $50 million equity investment into a joint venture development of a mixed-use 148-unit apartment building and retail space in Chicago; a similar $70 million equity investment in a mixed-use development with 538 residential units in Los Angeles; an equity investment in a joint venture entity that developed two high-rise commercial towers established as a commercial condominium in South Lake Union in Seattle; and the purchases and sales of a number of residential apartment buildings throughout King County.
- Lead real estate counsel to Transforming Age, a national nonprofit organization that owns and operates retirement communities. Recent transactions include the $138 million bond-financed acquisition of a portfolio of eight operational properties in Minnesota, the sale of the “Exeter House” property in Seattle, and the acquisition of a future development site in downtown Seattle.
- Condominium counsel for Daniels Real Estate. Recent or ongoing projects in Seattle include the air space condominium structure established for the Stadium Place development located just north of CenturyLink Field, the Gridiron residential condominium located in Pioneer Square, a residential condominium for the 800 Columbia project on First Hill, and a commercial air space condominium for The Mark tower currently under construction downtown.
- Representation of several Canadian companies investing in Washington real estate assets, including Onni Group on its $64 million acquisition of the former Seattle Times headquarters in Seattle, which is intended to be established as a commercial air space condominium and developed into a mixed-use community with up to four high-rise residential towers, along with commercial, retail, parking and open areas; and Thomas Pride International on large property acquisition and lot development projects located in Pierce County and Wenatchee, and on residential apartment developments in Bellingham.
- Representation of Macy’s to establish the historic Macy’s Building in Seattle as a commercial condominium and to sell the upper four floors.
- Representation of both large and small developers on a wide variety of projects on all aspects of their deals, including Quadrant (on large-scale single family and townhome developments), Spectrum Development Solutions (generally urban multi-family residential), Point32 (residential and commercial condominiums, restaurants, and most notably the Bullitt Center in Seattle), Faul LLC (single and multi-family residential), and a number of smaller homebuilders.
- Representation of a number of families literally selling the family farm to large homebuilders, including two separate $6 million sales of 100+ lot properties in formerly rural King County to Lennar Homes.
- Representation of a diverse array of individuals and smaller to mid-sized for-profit and nonprofit companies, including Seattle Bouldering Project (a Seattle-based rock climbing gym), an imaging systems company with operations throughout the Northwest, a number of restaurants, architecture firms, an indoor beach volleyball facility, a company that manufactures line tension systems and designs large-scale municipal composting projects, an arts-based preschool, a Texas-based automotive parts store chain, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and a Pilates studio. This representation entails a variety of legal work, such as corporate formation, partnership and limited liability company agreements, leases, services contracts, employment contracts, protection of trademarks and other intellectual property, negotiation of financing, company acquisitions, and asset sales.
- Retained as local counsel for several major commercial lenders’ financing projects in Washington State, including Merrill Lynch Capital, GE Capital, HSBC, and HSH Nordbank.
- Representation of developers establishing homeowners’ associations and new-construction and conversion condominiums, including incorporation of nonprofit owners’ associations, review and analysis of survey maps and plans, and preparation of declarations of covenants, conditions and restrictions, bylaws, rules and regulations, and related documents.
- Documentation and closing of construction and subordinate loans for a leading construction lender operating nationwide, and preparation and negotiation of appropriate loan agreements, deeds of trust, inter-creditor and master developer subordination agreements, and related documents.
- Representation of lenders, borrowers, and equity investors in connection with the negotiation and documentation of workout and forbearance agreements for stressed real estate projects
- Panelist, “Condominium Development in Puget Sound – Opportunities, Hurdles, and the Role of Condominiums in the Regional Housing Crunch,” Washington Mortgage Bankers Association, November 2018; July 2019
- Speaker and Panelist, NAIOP Vancouver Forum: "Canadian Investment in U.S. Real Estate; Considerations for Cross-Border Investment," Vancouver, BC, 2013.
- Author, "Ask a Legal Professional (Quitclaim Deeds)," Puget Sound Business Journal, January 2013
- Author, "Regulating Research on the Terminally Ill: A Proposal for Heightened Safeguards," Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy (1999).
- Author, "Double Indemnity for Operators of Nuclear Facilities? In Re Hanford Nuclear Reservation Litigation, the Price Anderson Act, and the Government Contractor Defense," Washington Law Review (1997).
- Meritas; Leadership Committee for U.S. Region; Real Estate Steering Committee for U.S. Region
- Member, William L. Dwyer Inns of Court
- Water First International; Advisory Council (2012 - 2013); Board of Directors (2010 - 2011)
- Washington State Bar Association, Real Estate Section
- King County Bar Association
- Repeatedly recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Real Estate Law, most recently in 2021.
- Recognized as a Super Lawyer by Washington Super Lawyers, 2017 - 2019.
- Recognized as a Rising Star by Washington Super Lawyers, 2006.
- Law Clerk to the Honorable William L. Dwyer, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, 1998 - 1999.
- Drafted federal regulations and assisted with the startup of the AmeriCorps national service program in Washington, D.C., 1993 - 1995.
- J.D., University of Washington School of Law, with high honors, 1998
Executive Notes & Comments Editor, Washington Law Review, 1997 - 1998
- B.A., Columbia College, Columbia University, 1991
I spend much of my free time trying to keep up with my kids. But whenever I have time (and my sore knees allow), I enjoy getting outside to rock climb, hike, bike, or ski. For a long time I was a daily bike commuter – and I still do my best to keep it up – but I gave in recently and bought a car, which I find hard to resist during our dark and rainy Seattle winters. And one fun fact: I have the dubious honor of playing one year of college football for the team that went on to establish the longest Division I losing streak in history.