Jonathan I. Epstein is a real estate lawyer and a commercial litigator. He offers a wealth of knowledge with more than 35 years of experience as both a transactional lawyer and a litigator of business disputes. His cross-disciplined practice enables him to provide insights and judgments that can only be gained from the type of broad-based experience that Jon brings to every engagement. Jon is the former partner in charge of the firm’s Princeton office, a role he held for 25 years.
Jon’s practice involves all facets of real estate – structuring deals, land acquisitions, zoning and planning, financings and workouts of real estate transactions, as well as litigation arising out of virtually any type of real estate venture. He counsels developers and lenders, large and small, on the myriad legal issues confronted by clients in today’s regulatory and business environment, from the formation of a development entity and site acquisition through the sale, syndication, workout or restructuring of any type of real estate transaction. His real estate clients are local, regional and national developers, including the largest shopping center REIT in the country and national residential real estate developers as well as financial institutions, title companies, hotel operators and property managers.
Jon represents developers on multifamily housing developments from site assemblage through sale, including deal financing and structuring, often involving unique and complicated financing techniques. Jon’s practice includes representation of clients on redevelopment projects and land use matters in municipalities throughout the state, specializing in contested land use cases, as well as regulatory matters before state, county and local government agencies.
Jon also represents developers, lenders and corporate and individual clients in commercial litigation, with an emphasis on real estate-related matters including prerogative writ actions and commercial foreclosures and all facets of corporate litigation, including oppressed shareholder cases and partnership disputes. Jon has argued complex cases in the New Jersey Appellate Division and Supreme Court. He has also litigated numerous business breakups involving many different sectors, including real estate development companies, law firms, accounting firms, technology businesses, title companies, retail businesses, restaurants, wealth management firms and energy companies.
Jon also counsels small to mid-sized corporate clients on corporate governance. With support from the firm’s corporate and securities group, he provides pre-litigation counseling and advises corporate clients and board members on issues arising out of business operations or corporate transactions. Jon draws on the experience of the firm’s corporate lawyers to assist him in complex shareholder and partnership litigation.
Early in his career, Jon was an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, where he taught a clinic on civil litigation.
Jon’s practice involves all aspects of real estate – structuring deals, land acquisitions, zoning and planning, leasing, financings and workouts of real estate transactions, as well as litigation arising out of virtually any type of real estate venture. Representative engagements include:
- Representation of Cape Advisors in the acquisition, equity raise and financing of multiple $100 million residential real estate developments in Manhattan.
- New Jersey counsel for Mill Creek Residential Trust on multi-family residential developments throughout New Jersey.
- Representation of American Real Estate Partners on approvals in connection with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch World Headquarters office campus in Hopewell, N.J.
- Representation of Trammell Crow Residential on multi-family development projects, including $150 million 544 unit Alexan CityView Redevelopment Project on the Peninsula at Bayonne Bay Harbor.
- Warehousing and production facility leasing for QPSI.
- Representation of Simon Properties on governmental approvals for Quaker Bridge Mall 600,000 square foot Expansion Project.
- Representation of Congress Hall Hotel, Cape May on all governmental approvals and litigation for historic tax credit rehabilitation project.
- Representation of joint venture involving Whitehall funds, Och-Ziff and Cape Advisors on $80 million financing and acquisition of Atlantic City casino hotel site.
- Representation of developer on acquisition and financing of Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City.
- Representation of NHP/AIMCO on Windsor Crossing multi-family residential and shopping center, East Windsor, N.J.
Jon’s representation of clients in real estate and commercial litigation includes:
- Lead counsel for Bayonne Residential Limited Partnership (an AIG/Trammell Crow Residential joint venture) on $100 million claim against the Port Authority of NY & NJ, Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority and City of Bayonne for breach of a Redevelopment Agreement and violation of New Jersey Redevelopment Law.
- Defense of Princeton University in multiple cases challenging various governmental approvals for the University’s $325 million Arts and Transit Project.
- Successful defense of Albridge Solutions in founder shareholder oppression litigation enabling the Company to sell for over $300 million.
- New Jersey commercial foreclosure counsel for Fannie Mae.
- Successful defense of Penn Mutual Insurance Company in lender liability claims arising out of foreclosures of commercial properties.
- Counsel to NHP/AIMCO in its capacity as receiver on multiple foreclosure actions involving 35 apartment complexes in several states securing over $300 million.
- Successful representation of numerous “business divorce” actions involving real estate development ventures, energy companies, software businesses, retail businesses, law firms, wealth management companies and title companies.
Best Lawyers®, Commercial Litigation (2020)
Judge Learned Hand Award, American Jewish Committee (2011)
Professional Lawyer of the Year for Mercer County, New Jersey Commission on Professionalism (2005)
Awards Methodology (www.drinkerbiddle.com/content/awards)
- New Jersey
- Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, J.D.
- Hobart College, B.A.
- U.S. Tax Court
- Mercer County Bar Association (Former President and Trustee)
- District VII Ethics Committee
- Legal Aid Society of Mercer County
- Mercer Bar Foundation
- Mercer County Inn of Court