HCMP’s land use group provides creative advice and strategic guidance to solve challenges facing developers and property owners in due diligence, permitting and construction of projects.
An experienced land use attorney often is an essential part of due diligence and feasibility analysis. Appropriate early analysis can avoid future issues or structure solutions to potential challenges. Based on extensive experience with many different types of projects, HCMP’s land use attorneys are highly skilled at answering crucial questions about potential development sites.
But providing due diligence advice is only one part of what HCMP’s land use attorneys do. They have extraordinary success in obtaining entitlements for all types of projects and in developing an appropriate and comprehensive strategy for addressing government and community relations issues.
Not only do HCMP’s attorneys advocate forcefully for their clients, they do so in a way that preserves their own and their clients’ excellent reputations and relationships with federal, state, and local regulatory agencies. Maintaining respect and trust is how HCMP works.
HCMP attorneys have advised clients on entitlements for many of the major real estate developments in the region during the last four decades:
- Vulcan Real Estate – a half-dozen apartment towers in South Lake Union, and the proposed Promenade 23 project in the Central District.
- Holland Partner Group – a half-dozen apartment buildings in South Lake Union.
- Lake Union Partners – multiple residential projects throughout Seattle, including a contract rezone site.
- Seattle Housing Authority - Yesler Terrace, a master planned community providing affordable housing and other uses.
- Daniels Real Estate - the Gridiron, Stadium Place, and Wave projects in Pioneer Square.
- MountainStar Resort Development, LLC - the 6,217-acre Suncadia master planned resort and the 1,100-acre Cle Elum Urban Growth Area property in Kittitas County.
- Amazon.com - Seattle headquarters in South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle in Downtown Seattle.
- Vulcan Real Estate – multiple office tower sites in South Lake Union, including the proposed new multi-block campus for Google.
- Fifth and Columbia Investors – the Mark office and hotel project at 811 Fifth Avenue in Downtown Seattle, including preservation of the historic Rainier Club, and renovation of the landmarked First United Methodist Church.
- R.C. Hedreen Company - a convention hotel at 8th and Howell in Downtown Seattle.
- Bullitt Center – a Living Building Challenge project to create the most energy efficient midrise commercial office building in the world.
- Washington State Convention and Trade Center in its planned addition.
- University of Washington in the creation and approval of the 2003 and 2018 Campus Master Plans.
- Seattle Aquarium in its Master Plan and future expansion of its waterfront facilities in Downtown Seattle.
- Trammel Crow Company - the Polyclinic Facility in the First Hill neighborhood.
- Bio-Med Realty - obtaining a contract rezone for development of a bio-tech building in South Lake Union.
Although these examples stress “big” projects, HCMP’s land use attorneys also frequently apply their acumen to projects for small and medium-sized residential and commercial developers, specialized entities, and individual property owners. HCMP assists clients with development issues in jurisdictions across western Washington.
Areas of Focus
HCMP’s land use attorneys work every day on complex entitlements issues, providing analysis and advice in the following areas:
Zoning: permitted uses, development standard restrictions and opportunities for flexibility, and development incentive structures, such as for affordable housing.
Design Review: processes, strategy, and requirements.
State Environmental Policy Act Review: SEPA processes, including Planned Actions, and appropriate mitigation of environmental impacts.
Landmark Sites and Issues: designation processes, alterations to landmark structures, and zoning and tax incentives available for landmark properties.
Critical Areas: requirements and exceptions for landslide, steep slope, wetland, stream, and other critical areas.
Shorelines: permitted uses and development standards, and obtaining specialized shoreline permits.
Specific Site Solutions: code interpretations and amendments, contract rezones, development agreements, and development options via platting or condominium regimes.
Street Uses and Vacations: street use permits such as skybridge and term permits, and street and alley vacations.
Religious Freedom Land Use Issues: zoning and landmarks restrictions as they apply to religious facilities and uses, and protections available under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
HCMP's Land Use law practice is also consistently ranked a top national and Seattle metropolitan practice by U.S. News-Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms in the category of Land Use and Zoning, and by Chambers USA® in the category of Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (most recently for 2021).