Jonathan I. Epstein

Partner

Overview

Jonathan Epstein draws on more than 35 years as a transactional lawyer, commercial litigator and adviser to real estate developers to deliver insights, counsel and courtroom advocacy tailored to his clients’ priorities and needs. While he maintains an active litigation practice and advises various type of businesses, Jon is especially well-known for handling complex transactions and financings for real-estate-developer clients.

Real Estate Development

Jon represents clients in all aspects of real estate development — including structuring deals, land acquisitions, zoning and planning, financings, and workouts. He has been lead counsel on numerous significant real estate projects throughout New Jersey and New York, including the acquisition and restoration of the grand historic beachfront Congress Hall Hotel in Cape May, the 544-unit Alexan CityView luxury apartment complex at Bayonne Harbor, the zoning approvals for an 800,000-square-foot expansion of the Quaker Bridge Mall, and several luxury multifamily developments in lower Manhattan.

Jon helps developers and lenders navigate regulatory and business challenges, from the formation of a development entity, site acquisition and financing through the sale, syndication, workout or restructuring of any type of real estate project. He also advises on redevelopment projects and land-use matters in municipalities throughout New Jersey, specializing in contested-land-use cases. Jon has represented local, regional and national developers — large and small — as well as several national multifamily residential developers, financial institutions, title companies, brokers, hotel operators and property managers.

Representative Experience

  • 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, NJ
  • 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 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, NJ

Commercial and Real Estate Litigation

Jon’s litigation experience distinguishes him from many of his fellow transactional lawyers. He represents developers, lenders and corporate and individual clients in commercial litigation, with an emphasis on real estate matters, including prerogative writ actions and commercial foreclosures. Jon has argued multiple complex cases before the New Jersey Appellate Division and three cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Jon also handles general corporate litigation, including oppressed shareholder cases, partnership disputes and business breakups of real estate ventures, and all types of privately held businesses.

Representative Experience

  • 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

Faculty Positions

  • Seton Hall University School of Law — Former Adjunct Professor, Civil Litigation Clinic

Personal Interests

Jon is an avid golfer and a proud assistant to his cinematographer daughter at NFL Films.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

New Jersey

Court Admissions

U.S. Tax Court

Education

Rutgers University School of Law - Camden
J.D.

Hobart College
B.A.

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Mercer County Bar Association
  • District VII Ethics Committee (Former Member)
  • New Jersey State Bar Association

Civic Activities

  • Mercer County Bar Association, Past President
  • Mercer County Bar Association, Past Trustee
  • Mercer County Bar Foundation, Past Trustee
  • Legal Aid Society of Mercer County, Past Trustee

Firm Leadership

  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP — Managing Partner, two terms; Regional Partner in Charge, Princeton Office, 1992-2018

Honors

  • Best Lawyers® — Commercial Litigation, 2020
  • Best Lawyers® of the Year, Tri State Area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) — Real Estate, 2015
  • American Jewish Committee — Judge Learned Hand Award, 2011
  • New Jersey Commission on Professionalism — Professional Lawyer of the Year for Mercer County, 2005
  • Super Lawyers — Real Estate and Business Litigation

Awards Methodology

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