Joe Forte is a partner in the firm’s New York office. He has substantial experience in commercial real estate capital markets and finance with a particular emphasis on the origination, structuring, workout and enforcement of commercial mortgage loans.
Mr. Forte’s experience includes permanent, bridge and construction mortgage lending; mezzanine finance; pari-passu and subordinate debt; co-lending and participation arrangements; loan sales and purchases; loan workouts, foreclosures and restructurings; and environmental risk management for lenders. He regularly advises lenders and investors on mortgage banking, doing business, licensing, usury, federal preemption and investment authority as well as secondary mortgage and capital markets issues.
Mr. Forte has been at the forefront of many major innovations in the real estate finance industry for nearly 40 years. He was involved in the early development of the secondary and securitization markets for residential, multifamily and commercial mortgages and, in 1988, he developed the program and loan documents for the first commercial mortgage loan conduit and other early standardized conduit programs, loan documents and flow purchase programs.
Mr. Forte represents traditional portfolio lenders as well as special servicers in CMBS transactions, whether as stand-alone transactions or in complicated capital stacks involving senior mortgage debt, subordinate B-notes or mezzanine debt with intercreditor, participation and co-lender arrangements. Through six real estate downturns beginning with the failure of the early mortgage REITS in the mid-‘70s, the interest rate spike and disintermediation crisis in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, the partnership syndication crisis subsequent to the adoption of the 1986 U.S. Tax Code, the savings and loan crisis and the RTC workouts in the early ‘90s, the market disruption after the Asian Flu crisis in August 1998 and the most recent financial crisis, he has dealt with a wide array of disparate issues in resolving problem loans with the support of experienced partners in litigation, bankruptcy, corporate banking and tax practices.
In the past he has also advised FNMA and FHLMC on a variety of issues. He has also represented the nation’s commercial real estate finance industry in the development of the ASTM’s original environmental risk assessment standards; with others in the adoption of the 1994 Bankruptcy Code amendments; as principal draftsman of the Capital Consortium’s Capital Markets Ratable Mortgage form; in defeating the American Land Title Association’s original creditors’ rights exception to its title insurance policies across the U.S.; in obtaining the New York state tax authorities’ acceptance of CMBS defeasance as well as the use of consolidated mortgage notes in commercial mortgage transactions in New York; with others in the drafting of a standard co-lending agreement for the Life Insurance Company Task Force of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA); as amicuscuriain the GGP and ESH bankruptcies and as a draftsman in the CMBS industry effort to establish standard mandatory non-binding mediation procedures governing mortgage putbacks for representation and warranty breaches in CMBS transactions.
Memberships & Associations
Anglo-American Real Property Institute, Member, 1993-present New York State Bar Association, Real Property Section ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
New York City Bar Association, Real Property Committee, Former Member American College of Real Estate Lawyers, Fellow, 1988-present American College of Mortgage Attorneys, Fellow, 1996- present
Real Estate Roundtable and its Real Estate Credit Policy Advisory Committee, Member, 1991-present Mortgage Bankers Association, Member, 1985- present
Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (formerly known as CMSA), Member, 1994-present
CREFinance World Magazine, Founder and Publisher, 1999-present.
Getting the Deal Through, published by Real Estate Law Business Research, Contributing Editor, 2014-present. Anglo-American Real Property Institute, Chair, 2015.
Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (formerly known as CMSA), President, 1998-1999.
Honors & Awards
Mr. Forte has been recognized as a leading real estate finance practitioner in national and international surveys. Since 2004, he has regularly been highlighted by ChambersUSAfor his real estate practice and has been hailed as “a legend” “who is at the top of his game.” “He is someone who everyone truly respects.” ChambersUSAstated that Joe is “a highly experienced and respected real estate finance specialist. He has notable expertise on the structuring, origination and workout of commercial mortgage loans.” TheLegal500UnitedStateshas also recommended Mr. Forte for his real estate practice.
He has been recognized annually by TheInternationalWho’sWhoofRealEstateLawyersas one of the top 10 most highly regarded lawyers and from 2010 to 2013 as “Global Real Estate Lawyer of the Year.” In 2013, he was one of only two attorneys recognized among 30 executives in Commercial Property Executives’ “Most Influential People in Real Estate” feature celebrating those central to driving growth and innovation in the commercial real estate recovery. He has been recognized in the Euromoney Guides to theWorld’sLeadingRealEstateLawyers,StructuredFinanceandSecuritizationLawyers,andBankingFinanceandTransactionalLawyers; and as “Highly Recommended” by PLC Corporate Real Estate Leading Lawyers Guide. Mr. Forte is regularly chosen as a Super Lawyer in New York and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America. He has also been the recipient of several “Best Article” awards from several legal and industry publications.
St. John's University School of Law, J.D., 1973, cumlaude, Managing Editor, St.John’sLawReviewand TheCatholicLawyer; St. Thomas More Scholar
St. Francis College, B.A., 1969, magna cumlaude, Franciscan Scholar
New York, 1974
U.S. Court of Appeals – Second Circuit
U.S. District Court – Southern District of New York
Co-Chair of the Paul, Weiss Real Estate Department and a member of the firm’s Management Committee, Meredith J. Kane regularly represents developers, equity investors, institutional and entrepreneurial owners and government agencies in all aspects of development, finance, acquisitions and sales, equity joint ventures, restructuring, leasing and securitization of real estate.
Ms. Kane’s experience includes all aspects of the finance and development of complex public/private joint venture projects including:
the long-term lease acquisition of New York’s World Trade Center complex;
the development of MTA’s 26-acre Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s far west side for over six million square feet of office space and 5,000 residential units; and of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn for a sports arena and up to 16 residential and commercial buildings;
the representation of the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association in the ownership and debt restructuring of the 11,000-unit residential complex;
the transaction between the City of New York and Cornell University and Technion–Israel Institute of Technology to develop a world-class Engineering and Applied Sciences graduate school in New York City;
the development and financing of New York Wheel, a 630-foot high observation wheel to overlook New York Harbor and the New York skyline on land leased from the City of New York in St. George, Staten Island;
the representation of Time Warner, Inc. in its program to relocate up to four million square feet of corporate office space in the New York area;
the retail redevelopment and historic restoration of Grand Central Terminal;
the development and securitized financing of Brooklyn Renaissance Plaza and the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, a 1.2 million square foot office and hotel complex in downtown Brooklyn;
the development and financing of Avalon Chrystie Place, a 5-building, 720-unit housing, retail and community facility development in Manhattan’s Cooper Square area;
the development and financing of the 76-story Trump World Tower luxury condominium;
the development and financing of over 5 million square feet of major mixed-use retail and residential projects in Flushing, Queens;
the development of multiple new facilities for City University of New York, including a new headquarters, new building for Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and new academic facilities for CUNY senior colleges;
the acquisition, development and financing of multiple new facilities for North Shore-LIJ Health System, including medical offices, hospital facilities, and administrative headquarters;
the development and financing of major proposed new and expanded cultural venues, including the Park Avenue Armory, New York City Opera, New York Public Library, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Poets House, and Little Shubert Theatre;
the redevelopment of nine historic theaters in the 42nd Street Development Project;
the development and financing of a new arena for the Miami Heat basketball team; and
the development and financing of numerous office, residential and mixed-use complexes throughout all boroughs of New York City and the New York region.
She has represented Avalon Bay Communities, The Lefrak Organization, Vornado Realty Trust, Time Warner, Inc., Muss Development Company, Daewoo Corporation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Rockefeller Group Development Corporation, Carnival Corporation, City University of New York, and others in major real property acquisitions, sales, financings and developments.
Ms. Kane has received numerous honors and awards for her work. She was honored as the 2009 Woman of the Year by WX - New York Women Executives in Real Estate, and was named one of the Top 50 Women in Real Estate and one of 25 Current Leaders in the Industry by Real Estate Weekly and The Association of Real Estate Women. Euromoney Legal Media Group named her Best in Real Estate at the 2012 inaugural Americas Women in Business Law Awards and Grid Magazine named her one of the top 10 American women in real estate development. Most recently, Commercial Observer profiled Ms. Kane as part of New York’s Most Powerful Real Estate Attorneys, an accompaniment to its 2015 Power 100 list.
Ms. Kane is also cited by multiple legal directories as one of the leading real estate lawyers in the United States. In Chambers USA 2015, sources describe her as “terrific” and a “problem solver.” She is recognized for advising Rockefeller Group Development Corporation on the financing and development of the Flushing Commons Project. Ms. Kane is also recognized in Who’s Who Legal USA, The Legal 500, The Best Lawyersin America and numerous other peer-review publications. She is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.
Ms. Kane served as a commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1995 to 2004. She was a member of the World Trade Center Memorial Center Advisory Committee. She was a lead official from 1985-87 of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development in charge of the planning and development of 8,000 new housing units, and a City Planning official for the City of New Haven from 1977-79 in charge of mixed-use retail and commercial districts. She is a regular speaker at professional forums on real estate development and finance, and she also contributes to The Real Estate Law Review, an international legal reference publication covering developments in real estate law in 33 countries. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Avenue of the Americas Association (Chair, 1999-2007), and is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, WX-Women Executives in Real Estate, the New York Women’s Forum, the ULI-Urban Land Institute, the Forum for Urban Design and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (former Chair, Economic Development Subcommittee). She serves on the boards of several civic and not-for-profit organizations.
PRACTICES Real Estate
J.D., Harvard Law School, 1982 cum laude
B.A., Yale College, 1976 magna cum laude
RECOGNITIONS Euromoney Legal Media Group – “Best in Real Estate” Americas Women in Business Law Awards
Real Estate Weekly “Top 50 Women in Real Estate” and “25 Current Leaders in the Industry”
Grid “Top 10 American Women in Real Estate Development”
Commercial Observer “New York’s Most Powerful Real Estate Attorneys”