Jonathan L. Neville

Partner and Retail Co-Chair

Direct: 404.873.8642
Fax: 404.873.8643
171 17th Street NW
Suite 2100
Atlanta, Georgia 30363


Jon is a partner in the Real Estate practice, co-chair of the Retail Real Estate team, and co-chair of the Retail industry team. Jon is a nationally recognized expert in retail real estate, as he is frequently quoted in publications, authors influential thought leadership articles, and speaks at prominent conferences (including serving on the planning committee of ICSC’s annual legal conference). Jon’s practice encompasses all aspects of retail, including acquisition, development, redevelopment, leasing, financing, restructuring, and selling shopping centers, malls, mixed-use projects, restaurants, and other retail developments. Jon has extensive experience in representing both operating companies, as well as developers of all sizes, often serving as an outside general counsel to his clients where clients seek Jon’s business and strategic guidance as well as legal expertise.

Jon’s developer/ownership clients range from the largest retail owner in the United States to many small family businesses and partnerships; Jon’s tenant/operating company clients include the fastest growing restaurant in the nation and the fastest growing franchise in the nation to one-unit franchisees working to start a business from scratch. Having completed transactions in all 50 states and in Canada, Jon is familiar with nearly all markets in the United States and has developed an expansive national network of brokers, developers, operators, contractors, financiers, and other industry professionals upon whom Jon and his clients regularly call for guidance and transaction assistance.

Jon initially began his practice representing up-and-coming franchisees in fast growing brands, and his passion for the franchising industry continues in his real estate practice today. Recognizing that real estate is vital to the long-term success of most franchised brands, Jon regularly assists franchisors and franchisees in negotiating leases and purchase agreements, coordinating and overseeing acquisitions and transitions of markets encompassing multiple units, and ensuring brand compliance for all lease and related real estate transactions. This experience carries over to Jon’s developer representation as well, as Jon is uniquely qualified to understand the needs and requirements of a franchised brand while avoiding pitfalls that may arise due to a lack of common understanding between franchisors and developers.

Jon speaks at multiple conferences across the United States and on nationally syndicated media productions. Over the course of his career, he has been appointed to leadership roles for multiple professional and trade organizations across the retail industry. In addition to currently serving on the prestigious ICSC Law Conference Planning Committee, Jon has served on the National Advisory Board of the ICSC Next Generation program, served as Southern Division chairperson for all Next Generation programming committees from Texas to North Carolina, and has twice served as president of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Real Estate Section.


  • Represents the largest owner of retail real estate in the United States, handling leasing needs for various projects nationally.

  • Represents the fastest growing restaurant chain in the United States as recognized for 2019, and has previously represented 4 restaurant brands given similar recognition.

  • Serves as outside leasing counsel for large acclaimed mixed-use redevelopment projects in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, Texas, the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver, Colorado, downtown, Honolulu, Hawaii and Orange Village, Ohio.

  • Serves as real estate counsel for over 20 nationally-recognized operating companies and franchised concepts in various capacities, including business in the fast casual restaurant, QSR restaurant, childcare, fitness, personal hygiene, and health care/retail medical industries.

  • Assists existing developer clients of all sizes in addressing daily property management matters, including overseeing landlord/tenant matters, vendor and brokerage contracts, and providing strategic guidance on co-tenancy, exclusive, and other issues.

  • Represents the fastest growing franchisor in the United States for all real estate needs.

  • Represents multiple regional/national developers in handling acquisition and disposition matters, many of such developments being “value add” transactions where clients have acquired, leased, enhanced, and disposed of assets over a short time frame.

  • Assists largest franchisee of a major QSR restaurant brand in purchasing operating store units from other franchisees in order to increase market share, including coordinating with landlords and the franchisor to accomplish such goals.

  • Assists multiple franchisors in acquiring operating store units from franchisees to further brand development and financial objectives.

  • Assists operating companies in “pruning” under-performing locations by establishing and negotiating exit strategies in avoidance of litigation.

  • Represents New York-based family investment company in expanding retail and office portfolio in the Atlanta, Georgia marketing and environs.

  • Represents family business in acquisition, development, and disposition of triple-net investments throughout the Southeastern and Mid-South regions of the United States.

  • Drafted the initial model conservation easement used by selected governmental organizations within the State of Georgia and has negotiated/implemented conservation easements in 11 states for major private landowners.

  • Served as lead developer counsel for a development in Salina, Kansas, which included the first-ever Tax Increment Financing project completed within the City of Salina.


  • University of Georgia School of Law, Juris Doctor,
    magna cum laude
    • Order of the Coif
    • Editorial Board, Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law
  • University of Georgia, Bachelor of Arts,
    summa cum laude, with Highest Honors
  • State of Kansas 2006
  • State of Georgia 1999
  • Professional:

    • International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
      • Co-Chair, ICSC Law Conference, 2024
      • Board Member, ICSC Law Conference Planning Committee, 2013-present
      • Board Member, National Advisory Board for the Next Generation (Next Gen) Program, 2013-17
      • Southern Division Chair, Next Gen Program, 2013-16
      • Georgia Chair, Next Gen Program, 2010-13
      • Atlanta Program Planning Chair, Next Gen Program, 2008-10
    • Atlanta Bar Association
      • Chair, Section of Real Estate, 2011-12, 2014-15
      • Board Member, 2008-19
    • Kansas Bar Association
    • International Franchise Association
    • American Bar Association



    • Northside Youth Organization: Softball Coach, 2015-19
    • Member, Northside United Methodist Church
    • Druid Hills Baseball
      • Past President, 2015-17
      • President, 2013-15
      • Vice President of Legal Affairs, 2012-13
      • Board Member, 2008-17


  • Best Lawyers in America®, Real Estate Law, 2018-24
  • Georgia Super Lawyers, 2015-19
  • “Rising Star,” Georgia Super Lawyers, 2009-14
  • “Distinguished Service Award,” Atlanta Bar Association, 2012

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