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Commercial Real Estate Counsel

John is the Chair of the firm’s Real Estate, Land Use and Construction Law Practice Group. He counsels his clients in all areas of real estate development, construction law, and commercial and construction financing: including, property acquisitions and dispositions; commercial, retail, and office leasing; zoning; and land use law; and creditors’ rights. He provides both preventive and remedial legal counsel to financial institutions, real estate developers, REITS, architects, engineers, hotel owners, construction companies, design builders, commercial lessors and tenants, and title insurance companies. John also has significant experience in environmental matters and brownfields redevelopment.


Examples of John’s Recent Client Work

  • Served as local counsel for an international construction and engineering firm for the development of a $2.2 billion power plant.
  • Represented a commercial bank on the syndication, acquisition, and closing of a $71 million construction loan for a 17 story class A office building.
  • Represented a commercial bank on a $16 million refinance of a hotel and restaurant loan.
  • Represented a commercial seller on the $3.3 million sale and exchange of a multi-tenant retail shopping center.
  • Represents a school district as special real estate counsel on all of its acquisitions and dispositions of school facilities and sites.
  • Local counsel for national drug store retailer on municipal permitting for store site locations.
  • Served as special real estate counsel for the development of a $107 million newspaper production facility for the owners of the Journal Sentinel, Inc., obtaining a Voluntary Party Remediation and Exemption From Liability status for the newspaper company.  This helped break the cycle of disinvestment in West Milwaukee by allowing the newspaper company to build a new facility in one of the first reclaimed brownfields in the State of Wisconsin.
  • Represented Fortune 500 records management firm as local counsel for lease negotiations and disputes.
  • Served as counsel for the architectural and engineering design team for the Wisconsin Center.
  • Represented a national real estate syndication and management firm in its multi-state acquisitions, financings, and sales of multi-family apartments, office buildings, shopping centers, and other commercial properties.
  • Represented a national construction contractor on contract disputes relating to the $3 billion Denver Airport facility.
  • Represented a publicly-held hotel and restaurant company in its acquisition of a 1,300-acre resort hotel and conference center in Southeastern Wisconsin and serves as special counsel on municipal land use matters.

Awards/Distinctions

  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®–Construction Law, Real Estate Law, Corporate Law, and Commercial Litigation 2009–2019
  • Named one of “Milwaukee’s Leading Lawyers” in Construction, Land Use and
    Real Estate by M Magazine, July 2012 issue. Only 2-5% of the top ranked attorneys published by Avvo for each category were recognized.
  • Selected for inclusion in Wisconsin Super Lawyers in 2005–2017, Law & Politics and Milwaukee Magazine.
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™–AV, reflecting an attorney who has reached the height of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity.
  • Profiled in the 2008 Construction Law Edition published by The Daily Reporter and the Wisconsin Law Journal.

Articles/Presentations

  • Speaker, O’Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing, 2011 Hot Topics for In-House Counsel seminar, “Working with In-House Counsel: The Unauthorized Practice of Law in Wisconsin.”
  • John has lectured to professional groups on commercial loan workouts, lender liability claims, and brownfields developments.

Community Service

  • Director of Divine Savior Holy Angels High School
  • Director and President of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin
  • Director and President of the Brookfield Rotary Club
  • Director and President of the Elm Grove Community Foundation
  • Director of Westmoor Country Club
  • Sisters of the Divine Savior Sponsorship Board of Directors

Representative Clients

  • Archdiocese of Milwaukee
  • Bechtel Corporation
  • Iron Mountain Information Management, Inc.
  • MSI General Corporation
  • Total Mechanical, Inc.
  • Journal Sentinel, Inc.
  • HOK Construction Services, Inc.
  • First Business Bank, Milwaukee
  • Brixmor Property Group
  • Marcus Corporation
  • Waukesha County
  • Heuler Tile Company

Professional Associations and Affiliations

  • Member, American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Milwaukee Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Member, Waukesha County Bar Association