Susan E. Golden

Susan Golden

Sue Golden focuses on civic, cultural, and economic development projects, representing public, not-for-profit, and private entities on matters involving real estate transactions, land use, landmarks, zoning and other regulatory approvals, public and private funding, and governance matters. Sue has considerable experience with New York State and New York City land use and environmental quality reviews and government procurement and funding contract administration, as well as New York nonprofit and public authorities law. Her approach reflects a commitment to collaboration, value, and responsiveness.

Sue has helped government, private, and not-for-profit entities with real estate development, rebuilding, renovations, and other improvements to or investments in real property. She counsels on compliance with zoning, landmarks, historic preservation, environmental review, and permitting requirements; public review and government approval of development proposals, including zoning changes, permits, and variances; negotiation of development, design, and construction contracts; and government grants, charitable funding, and donor agreements.

Sue also handles property acquisitions and conveyances, including deeds, easements, leases, and the transfer of development rights (so-called air rights), and the negotiation of mixed-use condominium structures. She advises on both community and regulatory matters—from public hearings to agency requirements—and translates for clients the fundamentals of the world of acronyms she works in, ULURP, SEQRA/CEQR, LPC, SHPO, BSA, PDC, CCG, PAAA/PARA, NEPA, FOIL, ACRIS, and others. When necessary, she works with litigation counsel to defend project approvals.

Sue has extensive experience representing governmental, quasi-governmental, and nonprofit entities, including New York not-for-profit and education corporations and New York public authorities, in a full range of governance-related matters. She advises on structural and operational matters, including formation, corporate governance, endowments and restricted gifts, collaborations and affiliations, mergers and dissolutions, contract negotiation, grant and donor agreements, and regulatory compliance matters.


Representative Matters

  • Represented Trust for Governors Island on the recently announced $700 million Climate Exchange, led by Stony Brook University, including a pre-development agreement, funding agreement, and development ground lease for this 400,000 square foot climate research and innovation campus. The Trust owns and operates Governors Island pursuant to a master agreement with the City of New York
  • Serving as land use, environmental, and real estate counsel for redevelopment of the Mount Sinai Health System hospital and medical school properties throughout New York City, including zoning analysis and master planning, obtaining zoning variances and permits from the Board of Standards and Appeals, CEQR environmental reviews, subdivision of tax lots, purchase and sale and easement transactions, revocable consent approvals, and design and construction contract issues
  • Counseling the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation on land use, environmental, and real estate matters related to the redevelopment and revitalization of the areas of Lower Manhattan affected by the events of September 11, 2001, encompassing the World Trade Center Memorial and Redevelopment Plan, and other projects throughout Lower Manhattan
  • Serving as land use and environmental counsel for renovation and restoration of the American Museum of Natural History's (AMNH) historic campus, located on New York City park land, including the new Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation; also represented the AMNH Planetarium Authority – a state agency – throughout public and government review of the Planetarium and North Side Project; these projects have involved approvals from City Parks and Recreation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Public Design Commission; as well as City and State Environmental Quality Review (C/SEQR), State historic preservation review, and subsequent litigation
  • Advising the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) on the development of and relocation to the new Moynihan Station; the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station), New York; and the planned Hudson River tunnel; these projects involved the negotiation of development and other stakeholder agreements, the formation of a mixed-use condominium, the acquisition of right of way and real property from the State of New York, the City of New York, Hudson River Park Trust, and private entities, through deed and leasehold acquisitions, easements, and other construction and operating rights
  • Representing Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, founded in 1967 with the support of Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Jacob K. Javits as the nation’s first Community Development Organization, on real estate, development, and land use matters for the proposed redevelopment of Restoration Plaza, the cultural and economic town center of Central Brooklyn for more than 50 years, including City Uniform Land Use Review (ULURP) and City Environmental Review (CEQR) in connection with a proposed rezoning and large-scale plan
  • Counseled on development and construction of a proposed new museum building for the Studio Museum in Harlem on West 125th Street, including real estate transactions, zoning and environmental review and approvals, public and private funding and financing, and new market tax credits
  • Represented the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in its $600 million expansion and capital improvement project at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center – home of the U.S. Open – in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York, through City Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), and State alienation legislation
  • Advised the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery on procurement, construction, real estate, contracting, grants, and governance matters related to the $3.8 billion in federal disaster relief funding allocated for New York State after Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and Superstorm Sandy
  • Represented the Art Students League in a transfer of development rights and the right to cantilever over the League's landmark building, including advice regarding the League's membership approval process, later upheld in litigation
  • Represented a life sciences research institute in academic and research collaborations, leasing, governance and board matters, and its eventual acquisition by a major research university
  • Counseled clients in creating and participating in a variety of nonprofit park or open space conservancies, including board structure, control issues, governance and conflict matters, and ownership or management of public open space
  • Advised nonprofit grant recipients on City and State funding contract requirements, restrictive covenants, and reimbursement issues




  • M.P.A. New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service 1993
  • J.D. New York University School of Law 1992
    • Editor, Review of Law and Social Change
    • Managing Editor, Environmental Law Journal
  • B.A. magna cum laude George Washington University 1988

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Second vice chair, Real Property Law Section, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Executive Committee and Committees on Land Use and Construction, Real Property Law Section, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Committee on Not-for-Profit Entities and Concerns, Real Property Law Section, New York State Bar Association
    • Co-chair, 2013 – 2023
  • Member, Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee, New York City Bar Association, 2013 – 2023
  • Member, WX, New York Women Executives in Real Estate
  • Member, Law Committee, Municipal Art Society of New York


  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2024
  • Legal 500
    • Real Estate, 2017 – 2018
    • Land Use/Zoning, 2016
  • Random Farms Kids’ Theatre, Exceptional Community Service for the Arts Award, 2015
  • Super Lawyers
    • Top Real Estate Women Attorneys, New York Metro, 2013
    • Real Estate, New York Metro, 2013
    • New York Metro, 2006 – 2007, 2009 – 2012


Pro Bono

  • The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center
  • Random Farms Kids Theater
  • Mount Saint Michael Academy