Kessler, Robert M.

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Address: 733 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Lawyer Firm: Rosenberg & Estis, P.C.
Phone: 212-867-6000
Fax: 212-551-8484

Areas of PracticeTransactional Law, Real Estate Leasing, Real Estate Development

Robert M. Kessler joined Rosenberg & Estis in 1997 and is a member with the firm’s Transactional Department. Mr. Kessler he has represented both for-profit and not-for-profit entities as developers, sellers, purchasers, landlords, and tenants in real estate transactions and real estate-related contracting of various types, sizes and complexity. In particular, Mr. Kessler represents owners and tenants on net leases, commercial leases, telecommunications matters, and preparation and negotiation of contracts (e.g., consulting, construction and management) in connection with the development, occupancy, and operation of real estate. He has expertise in public-private transactions, including ground leases and subway station improvement agreements for three prime sites in the Times Square area and leasehold condominiums for not-for-profit organizations. In addition, he represents an owner/operator of ferry and tour boats on various transactional and operational matters, including contracts with governmental agencies.

Prior to joining Rosenberg & Estis, Mr. Kessler was Senior Counsel at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). At EDC he was instrumental in forging many of New York City’s largest and most sophisticated public/private real estate ventures, including the 42nd Street/Times Square redevelopment, Metro-Tech, Brooklyn Renaissance Plaza, and Queens West. Mr. Kessler also represented EDC and the New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) on many other sale, lease, development, construction, privatization, regulatory, contracting and financing matters.

Mr. Kessler’s over 30 years of extensive experience have included such diverse topics as land use and zoning, environmental regulation, legislative affairs, condemnation, tax abatements and exemptions, New York City and State procurement and public approval processes, corporate retention incentive transactions and privatization of City assets. He has, in addition, been a speaker on public/private partnerships and been named a New York Super Lawyer.

Notable Work

With a team of colleagues and co-counsel, represented a charitable foundation in the net lease of an 11 story building on 5th Avenue, the formation of a leasehold condominium and the leaseback of certain space. Led a team of attorneys representing Durst Broadcasting LLC in multiple simultaneous agreements to relocate broadcasters to One World Trade Center.Represented The Ford Foundation in connection with a major redevelopment and renovation of their iconic 1967 landmark headquarters building in Midtown Manhattan and temporary relocation during such renovation. From May 2014 to May 2016, represented seven different clients in construction management agreements with nine different construction managers for fifteen projects of various sizes in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. These projects included ground-up developments, building renovations and interior fit-outs, ranging from several million to several hundred million dollars in value. With a team of colleagues, represented Cornell University in the net lease of a building on East 71st Street and East 72nd Street in Manhattan and sale of a leasehold condominium unit to The Hospital for Special Surgery. The effort required the negotiation and drafting of a net lease and documents for creation and sale of a leasehold condominium, including addressing complex issues such as structuring the transaction for tax efficiency, responsibility for building improvements, operation and use of shared facilities, reciprocal rights and options for purchase and sale of units, use of excess development rights, and condominium governance. Represented International Olive Company, Inc. in a 49-year net lease of an occupied six-story building in SoHo. This transaction was completed in the midst of ongoing tenant litigation. (Represented tax-exempt charitable trust in connection with 2011 net sublease of and capital improvements to a midtown Manhattan office building, including sub-sublease, construction contracts, multiple SNDAs and leasehold condominium.Represented Joint Venture of SJP Properties, Inc. and Prudential Real Estate Investors on Ground Lease transaction and exercise of purchase option for Times Square site with 42nd Street Development Project Inc. (a subsidiary of New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development) and The City of New York, and related agreements, including easement and Subway Entrance Agreement with New York City Transit Authority.Represented Joint Venture of Durst Organization and Bank of America on Ground Lease transaction for midtown Manhattan property acquired by eminent domain by New York State Urban Development Corporation (d/b/a Empire State Development), and related development and construction-related agreements, including Subway Agreement with New York City Transit Authority.Review, drafting and negotiation of certain World Trade Center documentation for Durst Organization as consultant/joint venture partner/manager.Reviewed World Trade Center documentation for insurance consortium.Represented Durst Organization in forming joint venture, and joint venture of Durst Organization and Vornado in submitting a (runner-up) proposal, and drafting/negotiating preliminary documentation for, multi-block "Hudson Yards" project.Represented Durst Organization in connection with a joint venture with SFA Properties for future residential acquisitions and development.Numerous commercial leases and telecommunications and signage licenses for the Durst Organization and other clients.Numerous construction and consultant agreements for the Durst Organization, Vornado and other clients.Numerous corporate transaction documents, license agreements, leases, permits, financing documents and service agreements for New York Water Taxi and Water Taxi Beaches.

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