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Real Estate Leasing

Davis Wright Tremaine’s real estate and land use practice regularly handles real estate leases throughout the western United States for local, national, and international clients. Our lawyers have drafted, negotiated and completed some of the largest lease transactions on the West Coast in recent years. We are regularly engaged by both landlords and tenants to handle their leases of properties in Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska, and we frequently advise owners of properties in other states concerning lease provisions requiring specialized knowledge (such as how to minimize the likelihood that a lease will generate unrelated business taxable income for a pension fund or other tax-exempt landlord).

Our clients include all types of landlords and tenants, from mom and pop small business tenants to major corporations leasing entire buildings or campuses. We understand that one size of lease does not fit all premises and tenants. We know the leasing needs of tax-exempt parties. We have extensive experience leasing to government entities thereby creating public private partnerships. We understand the special dynamics in medical office building leases. We appreciate the unique aspects of agricultural leases from crop farming to wind farms, and we understand the critical differences among office, industrial, retail and restaurant leases.

Lease types we deal with include:

  • Office
  • Restaurant and retail 
  • Industrial
  • Governmental
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Residential
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitals and medical office buildings
  • Agricultural property
  • Energy generation and transmission facilities
  • Warehouse and distribution facilities
  • Parking and infrastructure

Transaction sizes range from small business leases of one or two thousand square feet to entire buildings and large tracts of land valued in the millions. Whether operating leases or capital leases, we understand the difference and know the important accounting and tax implications of different lease terms, and when to consult our client’s accountants and tax advisors to avoid surprises.

We also understand the relationship between leasing and financing of real property. From the landlord side we understand how the leases are the essential support for financing and the terms that lenders demand and need to support their loan. We also understand the importance of non-disturbance and recognition covenants for tenants as well. We have extensive experience with leasehold financing and the special leasehold mortgage provisions that are necessary to facilitate ground lease financing.

Our familiarity with customary landlord-tenant compromises saves our clients laborious and costly negotiations, by enabling the parties to focus on the most critical issues and identify the most efficient business and legal solutions. Our professionals do not waste time and money debating inconsequential technicalities. We know how to work effectively and efficiently with opposing lease counsel and other key participants (such as lenders) to complete the transaction on terms satisfactory to our client as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

We have developed paralegal and associate staffing and knowledge systems and processes that will streamline lease preparation and negotiation at a reasonable cost relative to the size of the lease. We also can provide limited services for smaller leases where clients handle most if not all of the negotiating and only want our backup support and advice. Our real estate paralegals and lawyers collaborate with our clients to complete leases smoothly and efficiently at a cost that is commensurate with the size of the lease.

Industrial leasing
Our clients include all types of industrial landlords and tenants, from small business tenants to major corporations leasing entire factories or warehouses. We know the special needs and issues industrial landlords and tenants must address including among others:

  • Ancillary office space needs
  • Use of hazardous substances
  • Environmental protection
  • Governmental regulation
  • Economic development incentives
  • Utility needs
  • Infrastructure needs
  • Security needs
  • Redundant building systems
  • Operating Permits
  • Leasehold financing
  • Port ground leases

Retail leasing
For most retailers, lease negotiations must be consummated quickly and efficiently in order to take advantage of time sensitive opportunities for specific locations, and facilitate build out and merchandising of the store on a timely basis. In the current economic climate retailers face serious challenges in understanding and predicting consumer confidence and spending patterns while living within their own financial constraints. Success depends on choosing the right location and maximizing operational flexibility while minimizing leasing costs and constraints. However, recent contraction in the retail sector has opened up a wealth of opportunities for the savvy retailer who is able to take advantage of current high vacancies and low rental rates.

With our long term experience and well developed connections in the retail leasing community we are able to move nimbly, pursuing the numerous issues involved in a complex retail lease, while staying focused on our clients’ strategic priorities. We understand that a successful retail lease requires a good working relationship between landlord and tenant long after the document is signed, and strive to create a climate of mutual respect and support. And throughout the life of the lease we remain available with expertise to resolve any operational issues and disputes that may arise.