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Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2014

Author(s): Martin D. Polevoy, Jonathan L. Mechanic
Practice Area: Banking, Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Real Estate
Published: Jun 2014
PLI Item #: 51065
CHB Spine #: N618

Jonathan L. Mechanic is chairman of Fried Frank's Real Estate Department. He first joined the Firm in 1978. He became a partner in 1987, when he rejoined the Firm after having acted for five years as general counsel and a managing director of HRO International Ltd., a real estate development organization responsible for the development of more than 2.5 million square feet of office space in Manhattan.

Mr. Mechanic routinely counsels developers, owners, investors, REITs and lenders in all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including the acquisition, disposition and development of office, retail, hotel and mixed-use properties; commercial mortgage, mezzanine and construction financing; acquisition and sale of distressed debt; and joint ventures and restructurings. He also represents both landlords and tenants in commercial leasing and ground lease transactions.

Mr. Mechanic has taught the real estate transactions course at Harvard Law School for seven of the last nine years. He also lectures regularly for NYU Law School, the Real Estate Board of New York and the Practising Law Institute, and is a co-author of The Commercial Office Lease Handbook published by the American Bar Association.

Fried Frank's Real Estate Department was awarded the Chambers USA Award for Excellence 2009 for Real Estate, an award which honors outstanding lawyers and law firms across the USA. In 2007 Mr. Mechanic was named a "Dealmaker of the Year" by The American Lawyer and in 2006 he was the recipient of the Chambers USA Award for Excellence for Best Real Estate Lawyer. Mr. Mechanic is consistently recognized as a "Star" individual in real estate, a ranking given to attorneys with exceptional recommendations in their field, by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. He is consistently recognized as a leading lawyer by Legal 500 in Real Estate. He appeared on the cover and was featured in the 2007 edition of New York Super Lawyers. In March 2011, Mr. Mechanic was named one of the "Most Influential Lawyers" by The National Law Journal. He was also named "MVP Lawyer of the Year" by Law360 in 2011 and 2013, and is consistently included on The New York Observer’s "Power 100" list of the most powerful people in New York real estate as well as The Commercial Observer’s “The Lawyers You Call” list.

In addition, Real Estate Weekly recognized Mr. Mechanic in its 2008 All Stars edition, which honors real estate industry leaders. He was also honored with the Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award at the Real Estate Board of New York's 112th annual banquet and received the National Jewish Health Humanitarian Award in 2009. In December 2011, Mr. Mechanic was awarded the Judge Joseph M. Proskauer Award by UJA-Federation of New York. In 2013, Mr. Mechanic was honored by Big Brothers Big Sisters and for his work on behalf of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Over the years, he has also been honored for his philanthropic activities by National Jewish Hospital, Israel Bonds, the Modell Foundation, ORT, The Association for the Help of Retarded Children, Albert Einstein Medical College, the Police Athletic League and The Salvadori Center.

Mr. Mechanic is a member of the Executive Committee, Board of Governors for the Real Estate Board of New York; the Board of Trustees of NYU Law School; the American Bar Association; the National Realty Committee; Real Estate Roundtable; American College of Real Estate Lawyers; YMWREA; and the New York City Bar Association. He is also on the advisory board of the NYU Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy and the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. He is a board member of The Eldridge Street Synagogue, The Jeffrey Modell Foundation, the Realty Foundation of New York and National Jewish Hospital.

Mr. Mechanic received his JD from New York University School of Law in 1977, where he served as an editor of the Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif, and his BA, magna cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1974. He is admitted to practice in New York.

Selected Representations

  • Counsel to Citigroup Inc. in its long-term lease of, and option to purchase, its 1.7-million-square-foot global headquarters at 388-390 Greenwich Street, one of the largest leases ever signed in Manhattan.
  • Counsel to Atlas Capital Group, Fortress Investment Group and Westbrook Partners in their acquisition of the St. John's Center located at 555 Washington Street in New York City and the related mortgage financing provided by an affiliate of Goldman Sachs.
  • Counsel to Legends (owned by the Yankees and Cowboys) on its lease for the observatory deck at One World Trade Center.
  • Counsel to Condé Nast on its 25-year lease of approximately 1 million square feet at One World Trade Center in New York City.
  • Counsel to George Comfort & Sons on its lease of 900,000 square feet to Nomura Securities at Worldwide Plaza in New York City.
  • Counsel to Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy on a lease for the 26th floor at 450 Park Avenue in New York City. Milbank will use the leased premises as its Midtown conference center.
  • Counsel to the Whitney Museum on the development of its new 200,000 square foot, Renzo Piano-designed museum in the heart of the Meatpacking District in New York City.
  • Counsel to luxury retailer Coach on its announced acquisition of 750,000 square feet of space in the first new tower to be constructed by the Related Companies at Hudson Yards in New York City.
  • Counsel to the Related Companies in connection with its acquisition of the debt on the glass residential tower located on One Madison Avenue in New York City.
  • Counsel to Highgate Holdings in the acquisition and subsequent disposition of the Milford Plaza Hotel in New York City.
  • Counsel to RFR Realty in its acquisition of a controlling interest in the Paramount Hotel in New York City for US$254 million from Highgate Hotels and Walton Street.
  • Counsel to Broadway Partners on its recent recapitalization and joint venture with Brookfield Properties of 450 West 33rd Street in New York City.

Martin Polevoy is the head of the real estate practice group in New York. His practice includes all areas of real estate, including acquisitions and dispositions, development, leasing, financing, joint ventures, construction contracts, restructuring and workouts. He represents many well-known national and international owners, developers, investors, and financial institutions, as well as European and Asian investors, in both debt and equity transactions in the United States.

Mr. Polevoy's practice includes representing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as real estate counsel in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site; the development of a 1.7 million-square foot headquarters building for The New York Times Company in Manhattan; representing L’Oreal USA, Inc. in their new 400,000 square foot headquarters lease at the Hudson Yards development project in Manhattan; representing General Motors in the relocation of their New York headquarters; representing a major investment bank in over 2 million square feet of leasing transactions and the acquisition of its Manhattan headquarters building; acquisition of over 4 million square feet of first-class office buildings for a prominent German open-end real estate fund; and serving as national real estate counsel for one of the largest real estate funds in the United States, and representing Asian investors in the US, including China Construction America, Inc..

In addition, he has been a frequent participant, as program chair and as a speaker and panelist, in continuing legal education programs of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the Practicing Law Institute, Georgetown University Law Center, and the Anglo-American Real Estate Institute. He has also written extensively on various aspects of real estate law.

Mr. Polevoy has been recognized as a leading real estate practitioner in many prominent surveys. The respected English research publisher Chambers & Partners cites him in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading lawyer in real estate, commenting, "His enthusiasm and immense knowledge are his greatest assets, according to clients." Chambers also noted Mr. Polevoy's "wealth of experience and practical business approach," described him as "incredibly dedicated and responsive," and said he "is a highly experienced lawyer whose distinguished career and expertise continue to attract high-profile clients. While described as 'a big name in leasing,' Polevoy provides an all-around service that is highly respected by his peers."

The Legal 500 also recognizes Mr. Polevoy, stating that he is regarded as a "tenacious negotiator," "extremely knowledgeable in the real estate area." The PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2009 recommends him. The International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers and the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers have named Mr. Polevoy one of the 12 leading real estate lawyers in the world. He is named in the Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers as an expert in real estate law. He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America and has been repeatedly named a New York Super Lawyer. In 2007, Lawdragon named him among the Lawdragon 500 Dealmakers in America. In 2008, Real Estate Weekly, the leading real estate newspaper for the New York metropolitan area, named Mr. Polevoy to its list of "All Stars in Real Estate."


  • Chair, 14th Annual Practising Law Institute Program on Negotiating Sophisticated Real Estate Transactions, New York City (April 27, 2010)
  • Chair, 13th Annual Practising Law Institute Program on Negotiating Sophisticated Real Estate Transactions, New York City (April 27-28, 2009)


  • United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit


  • American Bar Association
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers (fr. Member of Board of Governors)
  • Anglo-American Real Property Institute
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York
  • New York State Bar Association
  • AFIRE-Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate
  • The Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania