Michael H. Ward’s practice spans the gamut of commercial real estate transactions, including property acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, licensing, construction, development, lease-purchase transactions and financing, principally serving in a lead counsel role in each area. Principal representations include those of developers, contractors, lenders, equity providers, franchisees, public entities and other stakeholders on a wide range of single and multi-purpose/mixed-use projects.
In each engagement, Mike serves principally as lead counsel on all matters pertaining to each segment of the client’s involvement, including corporate matters (JV/owner and affiliate entity creation), land acquisition/site control, entitlements, financing (construction and permanent, single and portfolio loan origination, purchase, refinancing and restructuring transactions), construction, development, and other related matters.
With nearly 30 years of accomplished and integrated legal, business and transactional experience spanning all real estate market segments, he serves the real estate needs of clients ranging from public entities and small to mid-cap to Fortune 100 corporations.
Representative industries include hospitality (full and limited service hotels), commercial office, retail, warehousing, residential (including for sale and rental, market and affordable, multifamily and single-family housing), education, and public sector. Representative projects within these industries have included:
- Full and limited service hotel development (including. e.g., lead counsel to co-developer on 750-room, 4-star, branded hotel project)
- Acquisition and/or repurposing of public and private properties for public educational and private uses (including, e.g. serving as lead counsel to State acquisition and repurposing of large, federally-owned military installation for use as a college medical campus; serving as bond and owner’s counsel on acquisition and financing of historic civil rights museum and institute)
- Acquisition, financing, and redevelopment of large, subsidized multifamily housing projects (including, e.g., serving as lead owner’s counsel on a series of multifamily affordable housing project acquisitions and developments, utilizing a combination of tax-exempt bond, low-income housing tax credit, HUD Section 8, conventional debt and equity financing).
Combined with his general corporate, public accounting, auditing (independent and internal), tax and transactional experience, Mike brings a unique blend of talents, knowledge, problem-solving, closing abilities and overall guidance and direction to each real estate and transactional engagement. He is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas and Alabama.
In addition to his experience and training from some of the largest law firms in the country, Mike also served as Corporate Secretary and General Counsel of H. J. Russell & Company, the nation’s largest African American-owned construction and real estate firm, where he was responsible for handling, directing and overseeing all corporate legal matters for the company, including the negotiation and contracting for a wide range of construction and real estate development projects spanning the country, with total construction and development costs exceeding $6 billion.
- University of Texas, J.D.
- University of Texas, B.B.S. in Accounting
- Greenberg Traurig LLP
- Nelson Mullins LLP
- Barnes & Thornburg LLP
- H.J. Russell & Company, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
- Urban Land Institute (ULI), Atlanta Advisory Board Member
- Atlanta Bar Association, Board Member (2004-2005), Corporate Counsel Chair (2003-2004), Construction Law Chair (2000-2004)
- American Bar Association
- Rotary Club of Atlanta
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