People: Lester M. Bliwise, Partner

Photo of Lester M. Bliwise, Partner

Lester M. Bliwise

Partner

New York
Direct: (212) 218-3505
Fax: (917) 344-1259
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Mr. Bliwise is a partner in the Real Estate Department in Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s New York office.  Mr. Bliwise practices in the area of commercial real estate and has extensive experience in acquisitions and dispositions, joint venture investments, conventional and capital market mortgage lending, and debt restructurings and workouts. Mr. Bliwise is recognized nationally for his experience in structuring and closing complex real estate transactions for institutional clients. His practice encompasses all property types, including office, retail, industrial, apartment and hotel properties. He regularly represents insurance companies, pension funds and their advisors, banks, REITs, and other institutional real estate investors and lenders.

Mr. Bliwise is a partner in the Real Estate Department in Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s New York office.  Mr. Bliwise practices in the area of commercial real estate and has extensive experience in acquisitions and dispositions, joint venture investments, conventional and capital market mortgage lending, and debt restructurings and workouts. Mr. Bliwise is recognized nationally for his experience in structuring and closing complex real estate transactions for institutional clients. His practice encompasses all property types, including office, retail, industrial, apartment and hotel properties. He regularly represents insurance companies, pension funds and their advisors, banks, REITs, and other institutional real estate investors and lenders.

Education

  • J.D., Brooklyn Law School (1970)
    Brooklyn Law Review (Notes Editor)
  • B.A., Rutgers University, Rutgers College (1967)

Admissions

  • New York

Affiliations

  • Real Property Law Section, New York State Bar Association (Executive Committee Member; Past Section Chair)
  • Real Estate Financing Committee, Real Property Law Section, New York State Bar Association (Past Committee Chair)
  • New York City Bar Association
  • International Council of Shopping Centers (Member, U.S. Law Conference Program Committee)
  • Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (f/n/a Commercial Mortgage Securities Association)
  • Pension Real Estate Association
  • Concert Artists Guild (Friend)

Representative Engagements

  • Represented an insurance company in the acquisition of a majority interest in the joint venture owning retail and residential portions of the newly developed MiMA Condominium complex in Manhattan and the restatement of the venture agreement.
  • Represented an insurance company in the acquisition of a nearly 50% interest in the retail portion of the Palazzo and Venetian hotels/casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada. The representation included negotiation of the venture agreement as well as the contribution and purchase agreements.
  • Represented a venture comprised of an insurance company and a sovereign wealth fund in the purchase of a major San Francisco office building including the assumption of a significant mortgage loan.
  • Represented an institutional investor in the acquisition and sale at various times of numerous properties including the purchase of a Third Avenue, New York office building; the purchase of a multi-floor mid-town, New York retail property; the purchase of a landmark office building in Washington, D.C.; the purchase of two adjacent office buildings in Virginia; the sale of a portfolio of 12 industrial properties in several states; the sale of an office building in Bethesda, Maryland; and the sale of a regional shopping center in Georgia.
  • Represented an institutional investor in the formation of a joint venture with a NYC company to develop a high-rise apartment building with ground floor retail space in Long Island City.
  • Represented a venture comprised of an institutional investor and a publicly traded REIT in the sale of a portfolio of 16 shopping centers in five states.
  • Represented an institutional investor in the closing of an over $1 billion joint venture with a shopping center REIT to invest in four market dominant shopping malls including the negotiation of the venture documents.
  • Represented an insurance company in the formation, with a non-U.S. pension plan, of a venture to make or acquire $1 billion of commercial mortgage loans.
  • Represented an institutional investor in the $170 million mortgage and mezzanine financing of its apartment building in mid-town, New York with an insurance company lender.
  • Represented a private company whose principal owners were an investment bank and investors advised by an institutional advisor in the sale of the landmark New York Marriott East Side Hotel.
  • Represented governmental pension funds in the mortgage financing of a mid-town Fifth Avenue, New York office building.
  • Represented an institutional investor in the capital markets mortgage financing of six student housing properties located in four states. The financing was structured as six separate project mortgage loans with portfolio level guaranties, future funding escrows and levels of cross-collateralization.
  • Represented a private shopping center owner in the capital markets financing of one of the largest shopping centers in the United States, which included traditional anchors, big box retailers, more than 200 mall tenants, sit-down restaurants and an indoor entertainment complex.  Also represented the client in the prior construction loan financing for the center.
     

Presentations

  • Seminar Speaker and Workshop Leader, International Council of Shopping Centers U.S. Shopping Center Law Conferences: “Borrowers in Default—Dealing with Everyone in the Capital Stack” (October 2009); “Issues for Borrowers in Capital Market and Other Financings” (October 2006);“Getting a Loan Closed—What Borrowers Want and Need and How to Get There” (October 2005); “Mezzanine Debt—Convergence of Debt and Equity” (October 2004); “Secured Lending in the Current Marketplace—Understanding the Important Legal Issues” (October 2002); “Secured Lending Today—The Key Issues” (October 2001)
  • Panelist, “Building the Capital Stack: How to Make the Right Capital Decisions for Your Deal,” ICSC and NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association Capital Marketplace Conference (September 2008)
  • Panelist, “Legal & Tax Aspects of Project-Level Real Estate Workouts, Defaults & Foreclosures,” U.S. Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund Investing Forum (May 2008)
  • Panelist, “Real Estate Debt Strategies: Risk-Adjusted Return Opportunities in High-Yield Debt,” U.S. Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund Investing Forum (May 2007)
  • Speaker, New York State Bar Association Programs on Advanced Real Estate Practice: “Selected Real Estate Financing Issues for Borrowers” (December 2006); “What’s Happening in CMBS Lending Today” (December 2005); “Issues and Concerns in Mezzanine Financing Transactions” (December 2004); “Construction Lending” (December 2003);“Capital Markets Issues” (December 2002); “Ground Leases and Leasehold Financing” (December 2001, 2000 and 1999)
  • Panelist, “Commercial Real Estate Financing” (various topics), Practicing Law Institute Programs (February 2005 and 2004, May 2001, June 1999 and 1998, May 1997)
  • Panelist, “The Relationship Among Co-Lenders When the Deal Goes Bad,” American College of Real Estate Lawyers Conference (April 1997) 

Publications

  • Author, “Understanding Mezzanine Financing,” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (April 2004)
  • Author, “Real Estate Titles,” Chapter on Mortgages, New York State Bar Association (1984, Revised 2nd Ed. 1994, Revised 3rd Ed. 2001)
  • Co-Author, “Lender Responses to Troubled Loans,” Real Estate Review (Fall 1993), reprinted in Japanese, International Legal Strategy (November 1995)
  • Co-Author, “Bankruptcy Flaws Now Minimized - Real Estate Implications of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994,” The National Law Journal (January 1995)

Accolades

  • Fellow, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Fellow, American College of Mortgage Attorneys
  • Fellow, New York Bar Foundation
  • Recognized Attorney, Real Estate (Nationwide), Legal 500 USA (2012, 2017)
  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America in the area of real estate law (2008–2016)
  • Selected for inclusion in New York Super Lawyers (2006–2014)
  • Recipient, 2008 Lawyers Alliance for New York’s Cornerstone Award for pro bono activities supporting nonprofit efforts to improve quality of life in low-income neighborhoods in New York City