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Murtha Cullina’s Retail & Hospitality practice combines years of experience, extensive local knowledge, practical advice and results-oriented strategies to respond to virtually every issue our clients encounter.

We work with a broad array of property owners and tenants, including:

  • Real estate developers, owners and property managers
  • Shopping center owners and operators
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Retail stores
  • Auto dealerships
  • Fitness clubs

Known for their responsive client service, Murtha Cullina's lawyers provide a comprehensive range of services that address a multitude of legal needs typically required by those in the retail, restaurant and hospitality sectors. Our practice’s depth provides the “one-stop” access that clients seek. When complex matters involve multiple legal disciplines, we regularly collaborate with our Murtha Cullina colleagues from related practices such as Real Estate, Litigation, Environmental, Labor & Employment and Construction to provide inclusive, efficient counsel. 

Our range of legal services includes:

  • Landlord/tenant litigation, disputes and evictions
  • Representation of buyers, sellers and lenders in real estate transactions
  • Land use and zoning requirements, compliance, approvals and appeals 
  • Environmental due diligence and remediation
  • Lease drafting and interpretation
  • Construction contract negotiations and disputes
  • Creditors’ rights, bankruptcy and workouts
  • Comprehensive financing representation
  • Labor, employment and corporate law counsel

Members of our Retail & Hospitality practice regularly litigate in housing, bankruptcy and other courts across Connecticut, Massachusetts and New England. We also appear before the Specialized Tax Session of the Superior Court in New Britain, Connecticut, on property tax appeal matters. Our skilled lawyers have earned an enviable reputation among the courts and our clients for their credibility and effective representation.

Murtha Cullina’s ability to sustain long-lasting relationships is rooted in our tireless dedication to understand and navigate the many issues our clients face: economic uncertainty, regulatory changes, “smart growth” planning, population and employment patterns, real estate price fluctuations, brick-and-mortar and online competition, public health threats and other factors. Not only do clients rely on us to provide solid legal advice, but they also look to us to deliver proactive strategic counsel that can mean the difference between opportunities gained and opportunities lost or recognizing a good deal from a bad one. We stay on top of industry trends and regularly share our insights with major trade associations and professional groups, such as the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association. 

Related Information

Real Estate / Commercial/ Finance

  • Representation of major restaurant chain in connection with a $55 million dollar sale/leaseback transaction involving 30 restaurant properties. 
  • Representation of major restaurant chain in connection with a $160 million dollar sale of restaurant business.
  • Successfully opposed auto manufacturer’s attempt to terminate Boston area dealer.
  • Successfully represented national grocery store chain sued by landlord for alleged violation of “going dark” clause.
  • Organized and provided private placement documentation in connection with establishment and development of a new restaurant group with exclusive franchise rights in Connecticut and portions of Massachusetts to construct and operate seven casual dining, full service restaurants. 
  • Frequently represent several national retail tenants in New England in pursuing CAM Audit rights under their commercial leases.

Liquor License

  • Representation of major restaurant chain on multi-unit transfer of 80 liquor licenses located in 9 states.
  • Representation of numerous national, regional and local restaurant chains on liquor license applications and liquor license violations throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and before the Commonwealth Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

Zoning & Land Use

  • Representation of major retailer and developer in obtaining zoning approvals for home improvement store and obtaining zoning approvals to expand shopping mall.
  • Representation of client in obtaining zoning approvals for the development of the W.R. Grace Property in Woburn, Massachusetts for hotel and restaurant use.
  • Representation of major auto dealership in obtaining zoning approvals for the expansion of its dealership.
  • Representation of shopping center owner in obtaining zoning approvals for the redevelopment of a retail mall.
  • Representation of client in obtaining approval of a zoning overlay district to allow for the mixed use development of the Kraft Foods site in Woburn, Massachusetts for biotech, office, restaurant, retail and residential uses.


  • Successfully represented shopping center developer in arbitration addressing dispute with partner over costs sharing related to the build-out of subsequent phases of lifestyle center.
  • Frequently draft and negotiate contracts ranging from build out and rehabilitation of existing properties to ground up construction of new centers.

Labor & Employment

  • Counsel for hotelier in the acquisition of four hotels in Connecticut, including ongoing labor, employment and liquor control issues.
  • Counsel to hotel owners in Massachusetts for employment matters.


  • Frequently litigate commercial lease clauses on behalf of landlords and tenants for, among other things, covenant of quiet enjoyment and failure to timely exercise option clauses.
  • Representation of numerous commercial developers/landlords on collections and commercial evictions throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.
  • Frequently represent commercial landlords in connection with tenant bankruptcies in various bankruptcy courts throughout New England, including the Southern District of New York.
  • Frequently represent commercial property owners, including lessees, in tax appeals in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.
  • Frequently litigate issues under franchise agreements on behalf of franchisors and franchisees.


  • Assisted major East Coast shopping center developer in addressing contamination issues at various developing and owned sites, including dry cleaner issues and represented drug store site developer in purchase of sites in Connecticut involving significant contamination issues under the Connecticut Transfer Act.
  • Advising a real estate development and management company regarding obligations to remediate historical contamination under both the Connecticut Transfer Act and the Connecticut Voluntary Remediation Program where multiple parcels and several tenants were involved, including drafting multiple environmental land use restrictions and working with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to develop creative solutions in order to avoid the transfer act for adjacent parcels after property lines were redrawn.