Murtha Means More

Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality


Contact: Robert E. Kaelin, Chair

The Retail and Hospitality Group represents real estate developers, owners and operators of shopping centers throughout New England. In addition, we represent numerous retailers and businesses within the hospitality sector, including restaurant and hotel chains. We regularly represent clients on the full gamut of landlord-tenant matters, from lease drafting and interpretation issues, to landlord/tenant disputes and evictions, to creditors' rights and bankruptcy. Murtha attorneys are active in development, including zoning and land use, environmental due diligence and remediation, and construction contract negotiations and disputes. We provide representation in all phases and types of financings, including funding pre-closing development costs, construction and permanent lending and loan modifications and workouts and foreclosures, and are skilled counselors in labor, employment and corporate law issues.

Population patterns, real estate price fluctuations and distressed properties, complex transportation issues, and an increasing focus on locally and regionally driven planning processes (e.g., smart growth) and the market and regulatory requirements of each, create a challenging but also rewarding development environment. In this complex and constantly changing environment, successful participants must understand where, why and how their competition is operating; anticipate emerging markets and issues that may arise from local government officials and neighborhood stakeholders; and have a firm grasp of the economics of a deal, including state, regional and local factors that may influence this analysis. Owners and operators are also challenged by the lead time necessary to permit projects and the resulting uncertainty of construction and energy costs, fluctuating financing requirements and availability, and an unstable labor market.

We partner with our clients to navigate through these issues. Our clients rely on us for excellent legal advice, but also, equally importantly, for the strategic counseling that often can be the difference between a good deal and a bad one, between opportunity gained and opportunity lost. Our performance in this regard is made possible because we understand how to do business in the retail and hospitality sectors. We are particularly proud of the fact that our reputation in this regard is most recognized by the one group that matters most: our retail and hospitality industry clients.

Over the years, our lawyers have striven to establish credibility with local and regional business communities and our contemporaries. We enjoy the highest reputation in our courts. This credibility is an essential component of our effectiveness.

We believe that effective legal representation requires clear communication and the most efficient and cost effective disposition of matters. This includes creative solutions to client problems. In each matter we endeavor to match our legal team exactly to the needs of the problem being addressed, bearing in mind the management philosophy, cost expectations, internal experience and resources of the client.

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.

Construction

  • 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.

Litigation

  • 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.

Environmental

  • 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.
     
Description

Contact: Robert E. Kaelin, Chair

The Retail and Hospitality Group represents real estate developers, owners and operators of shopping centers throughout New England. In addition, we represent numerous retailers and businesses within the hospitality sector, including restaurant and hotel chains. We regularly represent clients on the full gamut of landlord-tenant matters, from lease drafting and interpretation issues, to landlord/tenant disputes and evictions, to creditors' rights and bankruptcy. Murtha attorneys are active in development, including zoning and land use, environmental due diligence and remediation, and construction contract negotiations and disputes. We provide representation in all phases and types of financings, including funding pre-closing development costs, construction and permanent lending and loan modifications and workouts and foreclosures, and are skilled counselors in labor, employment and corporate law issues.

Population patterns, real estate price fluctuations and distressed properties, complex transportation issues, and an increasing focus on locally and regionally driven planning processes (e.g., smart growth) and the market and regulatory requirements of each, create a challenging but also rewarding development environment. In this complex and constantly changing environment, successful participants must understand where, why and how their competition is operating; anticipate emerging markets and issues that may arise from local government officials and neighborhood stakeholders; and have a firm grasp of the economics of a deal, including state, regional and local factors that may influence this analysis. Owners and operators are also challenged by the lead time necessary to permit projects and the resulting uncertainty of construction and energy costs, fluctuating financing requirements and availability, and an unstable labor market.

We partner with our clients to navigate through these issues. Our clients rely on us for excellent legal advice, but also, equally importantly, for the strategic counseling that often can be the difference between a good deal and a bad one, between opportunity gained and opportunity lost. Our performance in this regard is made possible because we understand how to do business in the retail and hospitality sectors. We are particularly proud of the fact that our reputation in this regard is most recognized by the one group that matters most: our retail and hospitality industry clients.

Over the years, our lawyers have striven to establish credibility with local and regional business communities and our contemporaries. We enjoy the highest reputation in our courts. This credibility is an essential component of our effectiveness.

We believe that effective legal representation requires clear communication and the most efficient and cost effective disposition of matters. This includes creative solutions to client problems. In each matter we endeavor to match our legal team exactly to the needs of the problem being addressed, bearing in mind the management philosophy, cost expectations, internal experience and resources of the client.

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.

Construction

  • 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.

Litigation

  • 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.

Environmental

  • 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.
     
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