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Juan D. Reyes III



Juan D. Reyes brings years of experience in public and private development to support clients navigating land use, development, finance and permitting. With a unique background spanning from federal leadership to large-scale urban and rural municipal development, historic preservation and the private sector, Juan leverages his extensive knowledge of federal, state and municipal regulations to advance your goals regarding zoning, planning, landmark and building code matters, and governmental funding and approvals. He also advises clients on a wide array of federal, state, and local government incentives.

Juan served as acting head and chief counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and senior advisor and counsel to the Build America Bureau of the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2017-19. During this time, he oversaw the FRA’s 950-member staff and the agency’s $3 billion budget. Juan was the principal legal advisor to the FRA on all U.S. passenger and freight rail matters, including safety regulations, legislation, research and development.

In his role as chief counsel of the FRA, Juan supported multi-billion dollar U.S. rail upgrades, including the $24 billion Northeast corridor improvement project, the Hudson Tunnel Environmental Impact Statements, development of federally funded Amtrak Stations in major cities throughout the country, Chicago’s billion dollar Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) project, and the development of a successful strategic plan to mandate the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on 41 railroads. Juan developed regulations for Elon Musk’s proposed “Hyperloop” and “Electric Skate” technologies, along with high speed rail projects in Texas, Florida, California and the Northeast. His role with the FRA kept Juan active on Capitol Hill, where he participated in five Congressional hearings and testified before Congress’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

During his time with the Department of Transportation, Juan served on the DOT’s internal committee for autonomous and electric vehicles and emerging technology rule making, the White House Committee on 5G technology, the Northeast Corridor Commission, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Streamlining committee, the Regulatory Reform Task Force, the Board of Union Station and was instrumental in forming the Non-Traditional Technology (NETT) Council.

His work as senior advisor and counsel to the Build America Bureau saw Juan advising on Private Activity Bonds (PABs), Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans, Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans and funding for all modes of transportation. Juan was a final decision maker for Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation as a member of the Credit and Finance Council, and he was also on the senior review team (SRT) at the U.S. Department of Transportation which awarded all of the Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) and Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD, formerly TIGER) grants.

Juan built relationships with many organizations in the Native American community through his work as an advisor to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He has supported the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, the Sonoma County Indian Health Project, the Yochadehe Dehe Wintun Nation, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, the Department of Health and Human Services Tribal Advisory Committee, the National Indian Health Board and the California Rural Indian Health Board.

Juan’s experience also includes several executive branch roles vital to New York City real estate, including general counsel to the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals and counsel to the New York City Loft Board, Office of the Mayor.

His clients come from a range of sectors, including residential and commercial developers, national retailers, not-for-profit institutions, corporations, educational institutions, restaurants and entertainment facilities. Juan works closely with New York City’s legislative leaders, city agencies and administrative departments as he assists clients navigating regulatory and discretionary governmental approvals. He has obtained variances, rezonings, landmarks, special permits and Department of Buildings approvals throughout New York City and, in particular, Manhattan.


Bar Admissions

New York

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court




Quinnipiac University School of Law
J.D. (1995)

Emory University
B.A. (1990)

Insights & Events

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • International Council of Shopping Centers Government Relations Committee
  • Member, Young Lawyers Committees, Interfaith and Civil Rights Committees for the Anti-Defamation League

Civic Activities

  • The Browning School Alumni Council
  • St. David’s School Alumni Council
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