Faegre Drinker announced today that Juan D. Reyes, III has joined the firm as a partner in the government and regulatory affairs practice group in the New York office. Reyes comes to the firm from Seyfarth Shaw LLP, where he was leader of the zoning practice and co-chair of the public private partnership (P3) practice.
Reyes is the 13th partner to join Faegre Drinker in 2021, and fourth partner addition to the New York office, following labor and employment partner Erika Collins, finance and restructuring partner Richard Bernard and corporate partner Kathleen Emberger.
He 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 agency leadership to large-scale urban and rural municipal development, historic preservation and the private sector, Reyes leverages his extensive knowledge of federal, state and municipal regulations to advance clients’ goals regarding zoning, planning, landmark and building code matters, and governmental funding and approvals.
Reyes 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. Reyes was the principal legal advisor to the FRA on all U.S. passenger and freight rail matters, including safety regulations, legislation, research and development.
“Juan’s deep knowledge in all aspects of private and public sector development, along with his DOT experience, add key capabilities to our national infrastructure and P3 team,” said government and regulatory affairs practice group leader David Zook. “At a time when infrastructure investment is claiming a spot at the top of the national agenda, we are thrilled to be expanding our services in this arena.”
In his role as chief counsel of the FRA, Reyes 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. Reyes 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 Reyes active on Capitol Hill, where he participated in five Congressional hearings and testified before Congress’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“Having served in high-level federal government roles, Juan is a well-known and respected attorney in the city and we are thrilled to welcome him to our growing New York team,” said Marc Leaf, Faegre Drinker’s New York office leader. “He has rezoned entire portions of Manhattan and the innovation and determination he brings to every project is exactly what our clients in New York are looking for.”
His work as senior advisor and counsel to the Build America Bureau saw Reyes 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. Reyes 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.
Reyes 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.
His 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.
Reyes’ 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. Reyes 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.
In addition to his private practice, Reyes serves on the International Council of Shopping Center’s Government Relations committee and on the Anti-Defamation League’s Young Lawyers, Interfaith, and Civil Rights committees. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Emory University and his Juris Doctor from Quinnipiac University School of Law.
Faegre Drinker’s government and regulatory affairs practice comprises of attorneys and consultants, including lobbyists, policy authorities and scientists, that have a deep understanding of how government functions at all levels and across an array of subject matter and technical areas. Our professionals represent clients in legislative, regulatory and administrative matters with extraordinary passion and depth of experience.