It takes a seasoned team to navigate the entitlement and development labyrinth, no matter how big or small the project. Morrison & Foerster's lawyers—with experience in California and beyond—are consistently recognized as leaders in the land use and development field.

Our practice encompasses all aspects of site selection, acquisition, permitting, environmental review, financing and regulatory operating requirements. Our objective is to streamline that process while ensuring that projects are defensible against legal challenge, develop efficiently and operate effectively. We have broad experience with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), planning and zoning laws, development agreements, natural resource permits, subdivision approvals, infrastructure finance and development, and other laws affecting the use and development of real property. Our multidisciplinary team helps companies adapt to, benefit from and influence the shifting legal framework related to climate change and sustainable development. We work proactively to avoid and resolve disputes and—when litigation cannot be avoided—we successfully defend our clients' interests in court.

We have been asked by clients to work on their most complex and challenging development projects, including the iconic 3.1-million-square-foot Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino, California; many of the largest solar and wind projects in the western United States; corporate/R&D campuses for AMPAC, Kaiser, Genentech and Gilead Sciences; and master-plan expansions of the San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and San Diego International Airport.

While we have honed our skills advising on and defending our clients' megaprojects, we are well-poised to add value to smaller projects and startups as well. We understand the importance of listening to our clients and effectively managing legal services, including budgeting. Our team is a one-stop shop for all land use needs, with access to resources and strengths that cannot be found at other firms.

We advised Genentech in replanning its headquarters campus, assisting in land acquisition, and securing all authorizations to double (more than 6 million square feet) the company's headquarters campus in South San Francisco through approval of a new master plan, environmental impact report, and expansion of the Genentech R&D District. This project involved replacing existing buildings and providing for infrastructure improvements and financing to serve the new buildings. We also represented this client in the siting of its $750 million, three-phase biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility on 50 acres in the City of Vacaville, assisting in processing the necessary land use and environmental approvals, managing the environmental review under CEQA, and negotiating a development agreement with the City of Vacaville and the Redevelopment Agency.
San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
We represented the Authority, from its creation in January of 2002, through the transfer of the San Diego International Airport from its prior operator, the San Diego Unified Port District, to the Authority. This included the negotiation of transfers of the personal property, real estate and contracts relating to the Airport, and negotiating a division of the financial assets held by the Port, but deriving from the Airport, as well as working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the approval of the transfer, and numerous state and regional regulatory authorities on the repermitting of the operations of the Airport upon the transfer. We also drafted new codes and policies to guide the new Authority's activities. We continue to assist the Authority in a wide variety of matters, including its first Airport Master Plan and Environmental Impact Report on that Plan, both adopted in May 2008, and litigation with the exclusive FBO operator.
Apple Inc.'s New Cupertino Campus
Serving as land use, CEQA and natural resource permitting counsel to Apple in connection with a new, approximately 3.4-million-square-foot campus in Cupertino, California.
BRE Properties’ Walnut Creek BART Project
Assist BRE Properties with the entitlement of a mixed-use, transit-oriented development project at the BART Station in Walnut Creek, California.  This 16-acre site will be developed with a replacement parking garage for BART parking, a 30,000-square-foot commercial building, approximately 590 multi-family residential units, approximately 8,000 square feet of retail use, and associated parking.
First Solar, Inc.
Advise FirstSolar, a major developer of utility-scale photovoltaic solar facilities, on environmental, land use, natural resource, and real estate aspects of complex solar permitting, transmission, and facility development, including compliance with NEPA and the CEQA, the federal and California Endangered Species Acts, the Williamson Act, and local zoning and related laws and regulations.
Gilead’s Headquarters Expansion
Obtained final approval from Foster City in connection with Gilead’s proposal to double the size of its headquarters/R&D campus.  The city approvals included a new corporate campus master plan for the 40-acre campus, environmental impact report, rezoning for greater density and less parking, and a 20-year development agreement to protect Gilead’s rights under those approvals. Contemporaneously, Foster City agreed to transfer to Gilead roadways and water and wastewater facilities that run through the property, allowing Gilead to create a compact and unified campus. During this process, we also represented Gilead in its acquisition of Electronics For Imaging’s 30-acre corporate campus, which borders Gilead’s campus, including the transfer of EFI’s development entitlements for possible future Gilead expansion.
Intermodal Container Freight Facility in Los Angeles
Advise Union Pacific Railroad on land use and other environmental permitting matters for $400 million rail facility in Los Angeles. Because of the opposition of some community groups, the project is undergoing a detailed environmental review.
San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
Served as counsel to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority since its establishment.  We advised the Authority on compliance with all state and federal laws relating to the establishment of the operation of the Authority, such as the Brown Act and the Political Reform Act, as well as California public contracting laws and public employment laws.  We handled the transfer of the airport, its assets, personnel, and operations from the Port of San Diego to the Authority.  We drafted new codes and policies to guide the new Authority’s activities, including its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program and related concession plan for SAN.  In addition, we successfully resolved claims the Authority had inherited under construction contracts for the Quieter Homes Program. We continue to assist the Authority on a wide variety of matters, including its first Airport Master Plan and Environmental Impact Report on that Plan, both adopted in May 2008, and the construction of Terminal 2 West, as well as litigation with the exclusive FBO operator.
Special Land Use Counsel to Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
Serve as special land use counsel to Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in the siting of its major hospital and medical office facilities throughout Northern California and the Central Valley.  Since 1991, we have represented the company on all facets of its entitlements process, including CEQA advice, negotiation of development agreements, rezoning, and preliminary and final development plan approvals on more than a dozen of its medical facilities, including major Kaiser Permanente facilities in Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose, Antioch, Emeryville, San Francisco, Vallejo, Santa Clara, San Rafael, Sacramento, Modesto, Vacaville, and Walnut Creek.

Chambers USA 2015
California – Real Estate: Zoning & Land Use

Legal 500 US 2015
Land Use/Zoning

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2015
National: Land Use & Zoning Law
San Francisco: Land Use & Zoning Law (Tier 1)

Puerto Rico Airport Privatization Named Deal of the Year by Project Finance Magazine.

Daily Journal Names David Gold and Zane Gresham "Top Land-Use Leaders"

"Morrison & Foerster LLP’s practice is ‘excellent in dealing with government agencies’."
Legal 500 US 2014

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