While the goals of affordable housing — including community revitalization, sustainable economic development and improved living standards — have remained stable over the years, the tools necessary for developers, lenders and investors to successfully complete their projects constantly change. Market forces, government incentive programs, zoning and land use challenges, changes in laws, and other political and economic conditions are always in flux, impacting the success of any affordable housing project.
For more than four decades, Jones Walker has helped organizations and individuals acquire, develop, finance and build a broad range of affordable housing; workforce, senior, student and military housing; and mixed use projects involving new market credits across the country. In this complex environment, we are able to offer clients the deep industry knowledge, full-spectrum legal counsel, and firsthand government experience required to provide creative, practical solutions.
To help our clients achieve their goals, we strive to understand the motivations of the parties with whom they do business, as well as the complex nature of the relationships between parties that often exist in housing transactions. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients on all sides of affordable housing and related housing projects, and draw on this knowledge to help negotiate and close deals that meet client needs while preserving essential relationships.
Developers, including public, private, nonprofit and for-profit companies, state and local housing authorities and other public bodies, educational institutions, management agents, property owners, design professionals, contractors, and consultants
Lenders, including national, state, local and community banks, mortgage and investment bankers, letter of credit providers, state and local housing finance agencies, and underwriters
Investors, including financiers and equity syndicators, Low Income Housing Tax Credit investors, public-private partnerships, asset managers, and real estate investment trusts
Our housing lawyers are regularly recognized as top practitioners in the United States by leading industry and legal publications such as Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America, and many have received top peer review ratings in Martindale-Hubbell.
Our experience in real estate, project finance and development, banking, public finance and securities, loan syndications, tax, zoning, entitlement and land use, green building, environmental regulation, commercial litigation, bankruptcy, and energy complements our housing practice. Our energy team is at the forefront of green construction and building retrofits, and several of our lawyers hold the LEED AP designation.
Our project and finance lawyers provide pragmatic, leading-edge advice on even the most complex transactions, including the following:
We also assist clients in identifying local counsel, consultants, community representatives, tenant groups, advocacy groups, and media outlets to address the concerns of these important constituencies, and with establishing clear lines of communication we ensure that the clients' stories are told and understood by all interested parties.
Given the fact that virtually all affordable housing projects involve some form of government incentive or involvement, a positive working relationship with the officials, agencies and authorities that oversee these initiatives is essential. At Jones Walker, our lawyers have extensive, firsthand experience working collaboratively with federal, state and local governments and housing authorities, planning and zoning commissions and councils, public universities and colleges, and government-sponsored enterprises such as HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.
One of our partners served as Chairman of the Housing Subcommittee in the United States Congress, and many others enjoy effective working relationship with officials and local office employees of the HUD, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. We have also successfully represented clients in numerous matters involving the Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), among other agencies.
For example, shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Jones Walker attorneys worked to create and implement the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) loan program to rebuild housing in South Louisiana. This program opened the door for the State of Louisiana to leverage its Disaster Recovery funds to rebuild affordable housing throughout the affected regions, using low income housing tax credits, CDBG funds, grants, and bond financing incentives, including redevelopment of the “Big 4” public housing facilities in New Orleans, and launching the State’s first project for homeless and mentally/physically disabled using Community Development Block Grant funds.
Jones Walker has been involved with every major federal affordable housing initiative in the last forty years. Our comprehensive understanding of the issues and our close collaboration with all disciplines required to analyze, create, develop, construct, finance and complete federally assisted housing projects, enable us to provide astute legal counsel to clients, including the following:
We are called upon by clients engaged in the acquisition, development, expansion, and disposition of virtually every type of housing, including:
We have represented projects which produced low income housing tax credits, purchased by investors and syndicators. We have been involved in the negotiation of partnership agreements, joint ventures, operating agreements, and syndication agreements with national investors, syndicators and developers.