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Negotiating Real Estate Deals 2015

Author(s): Martin D. Polevoy, Jonathan L. Mechanic
Practice Area: Banking, Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Real Estate
Published: Jun 2015
PLI Item #: 57147
CHB Spine #: N631

Jonathan L. Mechanic is chairman of Fried Frank's Real Estate Department. Prior to joining Fried Frank as a partner, he was general counsel and a managing director of HRO International, a real estate development organization responsible for developing 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. Notably, he represented a Paramount led joint venture in its acquisition of Deutsche Bank’s U.S. headquarters at 60 Wall Street and CWCapital Asset Management in its sale of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village to Blackstone Group and Ivanhoé Cambridge. He also represents landlords and tenants in commercial leasing and ground lease transactions, including his recent representations of 21st Century Fox and News Corp. on their headquarters leases at 1211 Avenue of Americas; Citigroup in its long-term lease of its global headquarters at 388-390 Greenwich Street and the exercise of its option to purchase the building; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP in the law firm’s relocation to 55 Hudson Yards; and Coach in the sale-leaseback of its global headquarters at 10 Hudson Yards.

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.

Mr. Mechanic was recently awarded the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award from New York University and the 2016 Chambers USA Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession Award, which highlighted his work on tens of billions of dollars in property deals and praised his support of the ongoing development of the Real Estate market. For a decade, Mr. Mechanic has been consistently recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, as a "Star Individual" in real estate. He is consistently included on The Commercial Observer's "Power 100" list of the most powerful people in New York real estate and was the only practicing attorney to make the list in 2016 and 2017. Mr. Mechanic was inducted to the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for Real Estate in 2017. Fried Frank's Real Estate Department is consistently recognized as Law360’s Real Estate Group of the Year and 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 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. In addition, Real Estate Weekly recognized Mr. Mechanic in its 2008 All Stars edition, which honors real estate industry leaders. 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.

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. In 2017, he and his longtime friend and colleague, Stephen Lefkowitz, were awarded the Lewis Rudin Award by Coro New York Leadership Center.

Over the years, Mr. Mechanic has also been honored for his numerous philanthropic activities by UJA, Israel Bonds, the Modell Foundation, ORT, The Association for the Help of Retarded Children, Albert Einstein Medical College, the Police Athletic League, American Friends of the Rabin Medical Center, and The Salvadori Center.

Mr. Mechanic is a member of the Executive Committee, Board of Governors for the Real Estate Board of New York and the Board of Trustees of NYU Law School. He is also Chairman of the Advisory Board of the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, a member of the Advisory Board of the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, a member of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Columbia University Center for Urban Real Estate, and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. 

Mr. Mechanic received his JD from New York University School of Law in 1977, where he served as 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.

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