Suzanne St. Pierre

Partner
St Pierre Suzanne

Suzanne St. Pierre, chair of Venable’s New York Real Estate Group, represents U.S. and multinational institutional investors, developers, nonprofits, and other organizations in complex commercial real estate transactions. Suzanne assists with structuring real estate investment trusts (REITs), forming business entities, and negotiating transactions involving a wide variety of commercial real estate development projects.

Suzanne has extensive experience in advising clients on office, residential, retail, industrial, hotels, community facility, railroad, and cultural and mixed-use projects. Suzanne's practice includes:

  • Negotiating complex acquisitions and dispositions, construction, and design agreements
  • Forming partnerships, limited liability companies, REITs, joint ventures, and other co-investment vehicles
  • Structuring lending, leasing, and condominium deals, including conventional and securitized financing and sale leasebacks
  • Drafting hotel and other property management contracts
  • Advising on issues related to government-funded projects and construction projects

Suzanne routinely counsels major nonprofit organizations and charitable foundations on leases and other real estate initiatives. She uses alternative dispute resolution strategies to help resolve conflicts between contractors and subcontractors.

Experience

Representative Matters

Joint Ventures

  • Represented Canadian investors in negotiating a co-investment agreement – and the formation of REITs and other investment vehicles – in the acquisition of numerous debt and equity investments in U.S. real property
  • Represented a German insurance company in creating a joint venture by which it acquired a 50% interest in one of Boston's largest class A office buildings, valued at $450 million. The transaction also involved creating a tax-efficient ownership structure
  • Represented an Italian investor in the acquisition of the largest ownership stake in the Flatiron Building in New York City, which is held through a number of partnerships with principals of real estate operator Newmark Knight Frank
  • Represented the purchasers of a 100-plus acre state-owned facility in upstate New York, in creating a joint venture for the redevelopment of the property. Other aspects of the transaction included acquiring the property and negotiating an environmental remediation agreement, backed by environmental insurance

Acquisitions and Dispositions

  • Representing New York City Economic Development Corporation in the sale and redevelopment of the first phase of the 60-acre Willets Point district in Queens, New York
  • Represented Con Edison in the sale of four New York City blocks along the East River, just south of the United Nations – previously the site of a power plant for approximately 100 years – for a reported sale price of $680 million. To facilitate the sale and redevelopment of this environmentally impacted property, and to allow Con Edison to realize the fair market value of the property, the transaction included a cutting-edge strategy to transfer environmental liabilities to a remediation contractor, backed by environmental insurance policies that guaranteed the performance and price of the remediation work, and insured the seller and buyer against future liabilities
  • Represented a Swedish insurance company in the sale of a portfolio of owned and master-leased class A office buildings in New York City and Chicago
  • Represented an Italian investor in the acquisition, renovation, and financing of historic commercial and residential properties in New York City and Los Angeles
  • Represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the acquisition and leasing of commercial properties in New York City
  • Represented a German company in the acquisition and leasing of property in Georgia for a wood pellet production facility and related port facilities. The transaction also included advising the client on the contracts for construction of these facilities and related rail transportation agreements

Real Estate Fund Investments

  • Represented a major Japanese life insurance company in the formation of a real estate investment fund with a major privately owned U.S. real estate development company. The initial assets of the fund were valued at $750 million
  • Represented a German financial institution in the acquisition of major ownership interests in U.S. real estate funds sponsored by the Hines Organization and Harbert Management Corporation

Construction

  • Negotiated construction and design agreements for the Bronx Library Center on behalf of The New York Public Library (NYPL), and advised the center on excavation and related cooperation agreements with neighboring property owners
  • Represented the owner of a commercial property in Harlem regarding the historically sensitive renovation of the property, including negotiating design, construction, and consulting contracts; obtaining construction financing; obtaining new markets and historic renovation tax credits; and listing of the property on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Represented the NYPL in negotiating a construction cooperation agreement with Lincoln Center and Lincoln Center Theater related to the construction of a new theater on the roof of the Library-Theater building on the main Lincoln Center campus. The transaction involved negotiating with the NYC Law Department and the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services for approvals and licenses, and developing protocols among the client, Lincoln Center, and Lincoln Center Theater to maintain continuous library operations during construction
  • Represented Amtrak in negotiations with developers, Related and Vornado, to renovate Penn Station and relocate Amtrak facilities to the Farley Post Office building. Representation included advising on complex title matters, construction and operational logistics associated with the proposed demolition of Madison Square Garden, and development of a mixed-use high-rise development in its place

Nonprofit Transactions

  • Represented the Tides Foundation and other nonprofit corporations in the formation of a "green" nonprofit office center within a mixed-use condominium in downtown Manhattan. The transaction included negotiating the condominium documents; acquiring the condominium units; forming a unit owners' association; negotiating agreements among the nonprofits for the joint acquisition, construction, and operation of the center; negotiating construction and design contracts; and NYC Industrial Development Authority bond financing
  • Represented a nonprofit organization in negotiating a long-term lease for office and performance facilities in New York City
  • Represented the NYPL in negotiating agreements with Columbia University and Princeton University for the construction and joint operation of a state-of-the-art book storage facility in the Princeton Forrestal Center
  • Represented a major nonprofit institution in negotiating a triple net lease of a building in Queens – with purchase options – for use as an office, distribution, and workshop facility
  • Represented a charitable foundation in the acquisition of a building in New York City for use as an educational center for children

Financing

  • Advised the holder of a senior mezzanine loan regarding equity foreclosure and possible bankruptcy filing related to a major commercial property
  • Represented the owner in a sale-leaseback transaction involving industrial facilities located in Texas and Louisiana
  • Represented Jazz at Lincoln Center in the construction financing of its performance and education facility, a condominium unit in Time Warner Center in New York City. The loan was secured by a mortgage and charitable pledges, and was structured to comply with the terms of major grants
  • Represented a major U.S. life insurance company in the disposition of several commercial loan portfolios, each valued at more than $200 million

Leasing and Property Management

  • Represented the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation in the ground leasing of the 6-plus acre Admiral's Row and Sands Street sites to a private developer, including negotiating the terms of the supermarket lease for New York City's first Wegmans location
  • Represented a university and its research foundation in negotiating a long-term ground lease to the foundation – and ground sublease to a developer – for the construction of a technology center adjacent to the university campus
  • Represented the owners of commercial buildings in Manhattan in negotiating retail, restaurant, and office leases
  • Represented an energy company in negotiating a ground lease of property located in the state of Washington, to be developed as a power plant
  • Represented numerous owners in negotiating property management agreements for office properties, including a one million square foot class A office building in Chicago

Additional Transactions

  • Represented the developer of property in Almaty, Kazakhstan in negotiating with Accor Group of contracts related to the construction and management of a 200-room hotel within a mixed-use commercial development, and associated licensing of the Novotel trademark
  • Represented private equity funds in the proposed $110 million acquisition of a portfolio of airport parking facilities in a bankruptcy sale
  • Represented a major U.S. shopping center developer and operator in the restructuring of ownership of its portfolio and inter-company loans, and advised the client regarding tax-efficient disposition strategies
 

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. UCLA School of Law 1990
  • B.A. cum laude Duke University 1987

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • President, New York Women Executives in Real Estate, elected September 2016
  • Member, board of directors, New York Women Executives in Real Estate, 2010 - present
  • Member, New York City Loft Board, 2003 - 2007
  • Member, Regulatory Leadership Committee, NYC Builds Bio+

Recognition
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  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2020
  • Recognized by New York Law Journal in its "New York Trailblazers" for 2019
  • Named one of New York City's top female power players in commercial real estate, Bisnow, 2016
  • Listed in Super Lawyers Business Edition, Real Estate, New York, 2013
  • Included in New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2007 - 2012