Chester P. Lee is co-chair of Duane Morris' Real Estate Practice Group. Mr. Lee practices in the area of real estate law, providing strategic and legal advice for all types of commercial real estate transactions. Mr. Lee has represented both lenders and borrowers in secured financings and loan restructurings, including construction loans, Real-Estate-Owned properties (REOs), leasehold financings, debtor-in-possession loans, exit financings, project financings and mezzanine debt.
Mr. Lee also has counseled clients acquiring, disposing and/or developing real property, including ground-lease and sale-leaseback transactions (including sale-leasebacks involving call centers and medical facilities). Many of these matters involved purchases of multiple sites located in numerous jurisdictions. He has represented many foreign investors (including those from China, Russia and France) in their initial acquisitions and developments of projects in the United States (such as retail and manufacturing sites). He also has worked with landlords, tenants and subtenants in the leasing and subleasing of real estate assets, including built-to-suit facilities, retail locations and warehouse and distribution centers.
Mr. Lee has represented international and domestic investors in natural resource acquisitions, including uranium and coal mining projects. Mr. Lee has counseled clients in the financing of energy assets such as wind farms and propane gas distribution facilities.
Mr. Lee is a 1982 graduate of Harvard Law School and a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University.
Represented a leading distributor and retailer of motor fuels in the sale of its assets, including more than 1,400 wholesale fuel locations and 70 retail convenience stores, to a large U.S. operator of gas stations/convenience stores in a transaction valued at over $350 million.
Represented a major private pension fund in connection with its add-on investment in a New York City mixed-use development.
Represented a private pension fund in three Texas retail/office acquisition and ownership disputes.
Represented investors partnering with real estate sponsors in the development, ownership and operation of multifamily, retail and office projects with aggregate values of over $700 million.
- Represented a Chilean multifamily family office in its $92 million acquisition and financing of a multi-level, 350,000 square foot shopping mall in Maryland; transaction included a joint venture with a commercial real estate development and net lease company in Tennessee, as well as a real estate acquisition and associated bank financing.
- Represented foreign individuals and family offices (from jurisdictions such as China, Chile, and Hong Kong) in investments in U.S. real property, including passive and direct ownership.
- Represented VEREIT, Inc. (NYSE: VER) a NYSE-traded REIT, in a merger transaction valued at $3.1 billion to acquire American Realty Capital Trust IV, Inc., a "non-traded" REIT. The combined company as a result of the merger had pro forma enterprise value of $10 billion.
- Represented VEREIT, Inc. (NYSE: VER) a NYSE-traded REIT, in a merger transaction valued at $3.2 billion to acquire American Realty Capital Trust III, Inc., a "non-traded" REIT. The combined company as a result of the merger had pro forma enterprise value of $10 billion.
- Representing an Asia-based automotive textile manufacturer with locating and securing its first U.S. facility in the southern United States, including working with consultants and government officials with respect to various incentive programs such as real estate tax abatements.
- Represented Four Springs Capital Trust in the formation of a REIT and its offering of up to $100 million Series A Preferred Shares.
- Represented American Infrastructure MLP Fund L.P. (AIM), a California-based private equity firm, in its acquisition of a controlling interest in the Quik-Way Group. Quik-Way owns and operates more than 110 gas and convenience stores in Texas. As part of the transaction, AIM made an equity capital contribution and arranged for a new $100 million credit facility with a major commercial bank.
- Represented a national lender in numerous financings (aggregating over $750 million) involving the construction and renovation of projects located in the New York City area.
- Represented a joint venture between a shopping center owner/developer and a private equity fund in the purchase and sale of over 400 retail sites located throughout the United States.
- Represented a money center bank in the restructuring of four syndicated construction loans (aggregating approximately $600 million) encumbering projects located in Florida and Georgia (including preparing and reviewing pre-negotiation and standstill agreements and analyzing syndicated lenders consent issues).
- Represented a China-based client in US real estate joint ventures valued at over $500 million.
- Represented a consumer products company in the build-to-suit lease of an approximately 500,000 square feet warehouse and distribution center.
- Represented an international investor in the joint venture development of uranium mines located in the southwestern part of the United States.
- Represented a renewable energy developer in the financing of various wind farms located throughout New York State.
- Represented an Asia-based manufacturer of automobile components in the acquisition and development of its first manufacturing facility in the United States.
- Represented a propane gas distributor in the financing of its numerous distribution facilities.
- Represented high net worth French and Russian investors in the purchase of New York City properties.
- Represented a China-based investor in the purchase and development of an industrial site in New York City.
Areas of Practice
- Real Estate Law
- New York
- Harvard Law School, J.D., 1982
- Columbia University, B.A., summa cum laude, 1979
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2009-present
- Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
- Partner, 1997-2009
- Of Counsel, 1992-1997
- Associate, 1989-1992
- Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
- Associate, 1982-1989
Honors and Awards
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law Category, 2016-2021
- Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)
- Board of Directors
- American Bar Association
- Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- Co-author, "Mortgage and Other Real Property Relief Under the CARES Act," Duane Morris Alert, April 7, 2020
- Co-Author, "The Butterfly Effect," Middle Market Growth, Winter 2017
- Author, "Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate: A Comprehensive Guide," published by the American Bar Association's Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, "Chairperson's Welcome and Opening Remarks," iGlobal REIT Summit, New York, February 8, 2017