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Commercial Ground Leases: A Conceptual Framework


Learn about the terms and intricacies of ground leases and the rules and regulations that support them.

This course will provide you with an in-depth primer on the uses and structural underpinnings of ground leases, as well as the differences between ground and space leases. As you will learn and as some of you may already know, ground leases transfer virtually all of the responsibilities of ownership to the tenant for the term of the ground lease, which is much longer than those in a space lease (generally 50 or more years and most commonly 99 years).
Although the tenant owns the building and improvements for such an extended period, the landlord ends up with a rent flow and a reversionary interest in the improvements at the end of the term. Moreover, because the improvements are costly and the tenant bears the risks and responsibility for constructing or purchasing them, tenants generally obtain leasehold financing to pay a portion of such costs. Such financing arrangements and the rating agencies governing such mortgages have complex rules and requirements that imbue many aspects of the lease.



Stephen E. Friedberg

Stephen E. Friedberg

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

  • More than 40 years of experience in the practice of commercial real estate law, both nationally and locally
  • Depth of experience provides him with the ability to provide solutions to complex problems his clients encounter in their transactions
  • Focuses on sale/leaseback structuring and implementation; ground lease structuring and negotiation from both landlord and tenant perspectives; development construction and leasing of data centers, distribution centers, high-rise residential buildings and shopping centers; sales, acquisitions and financings of commercial properties; retail, office and industrial property leasing; structuring and utilization of public, private partnership transactions in the development or improvement of real estate properties; and financial restructurings for developers and other property owners
  • Co-head of the firm’s interdisciplinary sale/leaseback practice, including both single and large scale sale/leaseback transactions and has worked on transactions as large as 600 properties
  • Leads the firm’s ground lease practice, having worked on creating and implementing ground lease programs for a number of institutional and private company clients, as well as drafting and negotiating ground leases for both landlords and tenants, across multiple classes of properties
  • Extensive experience in the shopping center industry, having served as in-house counsel to a major shopping center developer in the acquisition, sales, development, and leasing of numerous shopping center properties
  • Has particular expertise in the interdisciplinary practice area defined by the intersection of real estate and communications law, which includes the acquisition, disposition, development, financing and leasing of data centers, switch facilities, colocation facilities, radio and television broadcast antennas, distributed and in-building antenna systems, rooftop antennas, and wiring of buildings for broadband communications access
  • Has lectured on various issues concerning sale/leasebacks, ground and office leasing, data centers, and a number of topics regarding shopping center financing, development, and leasing
  • J.D. degree, Case Western Reserve University; B.A. degree, Michigan State University

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