J. Grant Wilmer Jr.

Partner

Fax: 404.873.8687

Biography

Grant is a partner in the Commercial Real Estate and Private Wealth practices. He is co-leader of the Family Business practice, former chair of the Real Estate practice and a former member of the Executive Committee. As a real estate lawyer, Grant advises clients in connection with the purchase, development, financing, operation and sale of mixed-use projects, regional and super regional shopping centers, neighborhood strip centers, apartment complexes, office/industrial parks, hotels and parking lots. He has comprehensive experience structuring transactions and joint ventures. He also negotiates, drafts and reviews agreements for partnerships, limited liability companies, acquisitions, investments, sales, financing, management, reciprocal easements and development agreements for developers, investors, purchasers, and sellers.

Over the last ten years, Grant’s real estate practice has expanded to embrace private wealth clients. In his private wealth practice, Grant guides individuals and their families to decipher the complexities of estate planning and succession planning. He addresses the critical issues that are special to family businesses and closely-held companies.

Over the course of his career, Grant has displayed a keen appreciation for art, aesthetics and performance. He combined his professional acumen with his artistic sensibilities when serving as the past chair of the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Foundation. He also provided pro bono real estate legal advice to the Center for Puppetry Arts for over 30 years. Finally, Grant has a special interest in antique automobiles and is the former director of the local region of the Classic Car Club of America.

Experience

  • Represented office/warehouse developer in development of office/warehouse industrial parks. These involved addressing development and planning issues for the whole office/warehouse park, including architectural controls, roads, utilities, drainage, and rail line access, and required the preparation of a declaration of covenants, easements, and restrictions, as well as documentation to address the purchase of the tract, financing of the development and the joint venture with the equity.

  • Represented client in the land acquisition and development of numerous mixed-use projects, with residential and retail components, including a joint venture with equity fund investors.

  • Represented real estate developer in the sale of a large outlet mall parcel to an outlet mall developer. This was a part of a much larger assemblage and there were numerous considerations for the remaining property as to easements to be reserved, use restrictions, and other planning issues. This transaction also followed a lengthy period of negotiations with the existing lender. Lastly, there was a joint venture restructuring in connection with the admission of a new investor.

  • Represented client in the renovation of a shopping center.

  • Represented the owner of a regional mall in connection with a potential sale of an anchor parcel subject to a long-term lease, so as to monetize that lease.

  • Represented client in recapitalization of office project.

  • Represented five limited liability companies and related individual guarantors in the restructure and refinancing of several loans secured by five different properties, one of which was not income producing, resulting in a reduction of loan amounts by discount, extended loan periods and more favorable financing terms.

  • Represented the owner of a family business in estate planning and the ongoing governance among his daughters after death. The client desired to provide for his wife and daughters, but also to provide for the continuation of the family business and family harmony.

  • Represented a real estate developer in joint ventures and development agreements for the construction of high-rise condominium buildings and the sales of units. These involved complicated non-recourse first loans and mezzanine debt. There were also complicated development issues and required permits and easements.

  • Represented a REIT in acquiring the dominant regional mall in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a period of permitting, we represented the REIT and subsequent owner in the redevelopment of the mall into one that would remain the dominant mall in the area. The representation included, negotiations with existing anchor tenants for approvals and for development of existing anchor stores, property exchanges, purchases of property from certain anchors, site plan approvals, reciprocal easement agreements, air rights agreements, sales of pads to anchors, ground leases to other anchors, shared parking agreements, agreements for the development of mixed use building with residences and others.

  • Representing a wealthy family in the purchase of several neighborhood shopping centers. In addition to addressing the due diligence and financing for the acquisition of each center, we have represented the owners in connection with condemnations, tenant issues, new leases and extensions, and operating issues. We have also represented these owners in negotiating co-tenancy agreements and joint venture agreements.

  • Represented our client in the admission of an investor in the company and several years later, the buy-out of that investor member. These transactions involved negotiation control, approval rights and funding obligations and the roll up of certain assets. The breakup required joint venture agreements that preserved certain rights of the parties as well as the spin out of the assets of the company and certain development rights.

  • Represent a Dutch firm in acquiring 50 percent interests in three Australian regional shopping centers at a time when there were only 42 such centers in all of Australia, 21 of which were owned by the joint venture partner. This transaction required due diligence, purchase agreements and joint venture agreements. Given the strength of each of the two parties, the negotiations required significant negotiation and ultimately, an agreement was reached. The aggregate price was substantial.

  • Represented global hotel operator in the acquisition of a 400+ room hotel in a multi-parcel development in which the remaining sites were zoned for office buildings. In addition to negotiating the purchase and sale agreement and handling the acquisition, we renegotiated the declaration of covenants, easements and restrictions regarding the other parcels in the development to address parking, access and future development.

  • Represented sellers in the sale of multifamily and mixed-use properties.

Credentials

  • Georgetown University Law Center, Master of Laws - Taxation — 1978
  • University of Georgia School of Law, Juris Doctor — 1977
  • Duke University, Bachelor of Science — 1974
  • District of Columbia 1979
  • State of Georgia 1977
  • Professional:

    • Urban Land Institute
    • Board of Real Estate Group of Atlanta, 2019
    • American Bar Association, NAOIP
    • Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law Recent Decisions Editor, 1976–77

     

    Community:

    • Historic Oakland Foundation Board of Advisors
    • Classic Car Club of America–New South Region, President/Director (2012-2014)
    • Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, Chair, 1998–2001

Recognition

  • Best Lawyers in America (Real Estate Law), 2015-20
  • Georgia Super Lawyers, 2006-13
  • “Legal Elite,” Georgia Trend, 2007

News & Insights