James B. Aronoff
Jim is a partner in the firm's Real Estate group who chairs our Real Estate Capital Markets practice. He is the former partner-in-charge of the firm's Cleveland office. He is regularly called upon to represent and advise real estate investment trusts (REITs) and real estate equity funds both transactionally, and in evaluating internal structures to maximize shareholder and investor value.
He also focuses his practice on organizing joint ventures, partnerships, limited liability companies and other pass-through entities; commercial real estate financings, including representation of REMICs and others in securitized offerings; leasing (both retail and commercial); shopping center development and construction; as well as significant acquisitions and divestitures of resort and other lodging and gaming properties.
- Representation of and counsel to several NYSE, NASDAQ and ASE-listed REITS, with particular focus in the retail and hospitality sectors.
- Representation of $10 billion NYSE-listed real estate operating company in its restructuring and conversion to a REIT.
- Representation of several private real estate equity funds through formation and in direct project investments of over $1 billion.
- Representation of both purchasers and sellers of over $30 billion of whole loan and servicing rights portfolios.
- Representation of global alternative asset manager in acquisition of $2.5 billion NYSE-listed multi-family REIT.
- Representation of a NYSE-listed REIT in a $350 million mortgage financing involving shopping center properties in Puerto Rico and the continental United States.
- Representation of a NYSE-listed lodging REIT in the restructuring of its $400 million hotel lease portfolio.
- Represented a real estate investment firm in the acquisition of a portfolio of more than 600 acres of prime industrial land in four different sites and in the planned development and construction of $200 million of industrial and office facilities.
- Representation of an AMEX-listed lodging REIT in the acquisition of a 10 hotel portfolio located in several Southwestern states.
- Representation of a major foreign insurance company in a $240 million sale involving 43 retail and office properties located in 14 states.
- Representation of a NYSE-listed REIT in a $300 million acquisition of nine regional mall properties located in five states.
- Counsel to a private developer in a $1.2 billion sale of 21 regional mall properties to a NYSE-listed REIT.
- Representation of a NYSE-listed REIT in the $350 million acquisition of a portfolio of 36 department stores located in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas, with lease or sublease back to the department store, plus related acquisition and lease back of additional properties in California and Utah.
- Lead transaction counsel for the leveraged lease sale/leaseback financing of 13 "Superstores" of a national retailer located in nine states.
- Lead counsel to a global auto manufacturer in connection with the leveraged lease sale/leaseback of both a major assembly operation as well as an environmentally sensitive truck painting facility.
- Counsel to a national retailer for leveraged lease sale/leaseback of eight newly constructed retail properties located in five states. Structure involved the severance of estates for years and remainder interests which enhanced the overall return to the retailer.
- Lead counsel in the leveraged lease financing of a major steel processing center in Northwestern Ohio.
- Counsel to a national grocery chain for the sale/leaseback and secured lease bond financing of 36 supermarket and grocery distribution warehouse properties.
- Drafted and negotiated dozens of Electric Vehicle Charging Station agreements at properties across the US, including the development of a national charging station program for a public REIT shopping center owner for its parking facilities.
- Co-author, Chambers USA Regional Real Estate - Ohio (2018 – 2021)
- "When Are Real Estate Interests Securities?", The Practical Real Estate Lawyer
- "Securities Law Liabilities in Real Property Transactions," prepared for the American Bar Association Annual Meeting
- "Ohio Landlord-Tenant Law," prepared for the Cleveland Bar Association Practice and Procedure Clinic
- "Reasonable Wear and Tear: Collecting Damages," prepared for the Ohio State Bar Association Annual Meeting
- "What's In a Name?: The Business Judgment Rule After Zapata Corp. v. Maldonado," 34 Case Western Reserve Law Review 340
- “Manna from Heaven or A Plague of Locusts? The Positive and Negative Impacts of Joint Venture Partners on Property Owners," ICSC Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan & Pennsylvania Retail Development & Law Symposium for Lawyers and Real Estate Professionals, February 2015
- "Client Teams: Clarifying Team Roles and Leadership Responsibilities," The Hildebrandt Institute, October 2009
- "Client Teams: Clarifying Team Roles," The Hildebrandt Institute, September 2008
- "Real Estate M&A, Private Equity and REIT Privatization," Information Management Network, September 2007
- Selected as an Acritas Star, a “client-nominated, stand-out lawyer”
- AV® Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- BTI Client Service All-Star, 2006, 2015 and 2016
- Listed as both a leading real estate lawyer and real estate finance lawyer in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2005 to 2021
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2009 to 2021 in the field of Real Estate Law
- President's Award, Cleveland Bar Association, 2004
- Selected to the Ohio Super Lawyers list, 2007-2018, 2020-2021
- Listed in Legal 500 in Real Estate, 2014 to 2021
- American Bar Association, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section Decisions Committee (past chair) and Non-Traditional Commercial Real Estate Finance Committee
- Ohio State Bar Association, member, Board of Governors of Real Property Section, 1999 to present
- Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- Cleveland Mortgage Bankers Association
- NAREIT, member, SEC Subcommittee
- The 50 Club
- Leadership Cleveland (Class of 2012)
- Cuyahoga Community College Foundation, Board of Directors, Vice Chair, Executive Committee Member
- Cleveland Leadership Center Board of Directors, member; Finance Committee, member; Governance Committee, member