CSG Law Real Estate Group Announces New Leadership Roles

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC (CSG Law) is pleased to announce the elevation of long-time team members to critical leadership roles as part of the overall CSG Real Estate Group strategy to best serve its clients in 2024 and beyond.

CSG Real Estate has newly branded its Redevelopment, Land Use & Zoning Group to be led by Co-Chairs Lisa A. John-Basta and Thomas J. Trautner Jr., and Practice Group Leader Jennifer M. Porter, all prominent redevelopment veterans now stepping up to manage the firm’s robust practice. John R. Lloyd, a well-known leader of the property taxation bar, will become Chair of the rebranded Real Property Taxation & Incentives Group.

These appointments to leadership positions within CSG Law’s broad-based real estate practice reflect CSG Real Estate’s continued growth and commitment to fulfilling the evolving needs of its extensive real estate client base. Central to the full real estate team’s strengths are its deep industry knowledge and decades of experience navigating the intersection between public and private sectors.  Through strategic expansion, hiring the best talent, and listening to its clients, the CSG Law Real Estate Group has become the “go to,” full-service, one-stop team for thoughtful, efficient and cost-effective solutions to all real estate transaction and development needs.

“The significant growth of the firm’s Real Estate Group has created the opportunity to establish the Redevelopment, Land Use & Zoning Group and rebrand our Real Property Taxation & Incentives Group, all in order to align with client needs,” stated Francis J. Giantomasi, Member of the Executive Committee of CSG Law.

“Lisa, Tom and Jen spearheading our redevelopment, land use and zoning team, and John continuing to helm our enhanced property taxation and incentives practice, recognizes their proven leadership and will be a win-win for CSG Law and our clients for years to come,” said Mitchell S. Berkey, Chair of the Real Estate Group.

Members of the new leadership team are regarded by clients and peers as at the top of their respective disciplines. Lisa John-Basta co-authors New Jersey Zoning & Land Use Administration, the most preeminent treatise on land use and zoning in the State, published by Gann Law Books. Tom Trautner is the Co-Chair of the Northern New Jersey District of the Urban Land Institute and is a recognized authority in affordable housing. Jen Porter’s practice expands the team’s reach to four states (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut) as she serves our clients’ needs regionally. John Lloyd has over three decades of experience representing owners, taxpayers, and municipalities on real property taxation issues spanning all asset classes, as well as complex PILOT, redevelopment, condemnation, and incentives matters.

CSG Law’s Redevelopment, Land Use & Zoning Group and Real Property Taxation & Incentives Group both work seamlessly within the tremendous breadth of the overall CSG Real Estate Group, one of the largest full-service real estate teams in the region. The ability to call upon colleagues in CSG Law’s Environmental, Corporate & Securities, and Tax groups, positions CSG Law as the leading full-service provider of strategies to achieve client objectives. Group members also collaborate closely with leading consultants from engineering, architectural, environmental science and planning firms, adding value to the development team and providing a coordinated vision and approach to best serve clients’ needs.

Recent projects the Redevelopment, Land Use & Zoning Group and Real Property Taxation & Incentives Group have handled highlight the broad range of capabilities of the team. These include projects such as:

  • Representing New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), a 25+ year-old institution focused on cultural engagement and education, as well as economic development of the urban area of Newark, New Jersey. When NJPAC decided to embark on a transformative $300 million project that would expand the arts and education district surrounding the existing New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the organization chose CSG as its redevelopment and land use counsel.   The project will create a vibrant new neighborhood in center city Newark with mixed-use high-rise and mid-rise buildings with over 345 residential units and 17,000 square feet of retail space as well as a new three-story family arts and education community center.
  • Representing NJPAC when it decided to embark on a film studio project that some are dubbing “Hollywood East,” in Newark’s South Ward which will revitalize lands that housed an abandoned housing project with a new state-of-the art 250,000 square-foot film studio complex expected to have a billion-dollar impact on Newark. The firm successfully petitioned to have the property designated an area in need of redevelopment, worked to formulate development regulations for the film studio use in the form of a redevelopment plan, negotiated and entered into a redevelopment agreement with the Newark Housing Authority, and obtained land use approvals for the project.
  • Representing a major national banking association in over 95 real estate and land use matters across multiple states (NJ, NY & CT) in connection with the development of new retail bank branches, expansion of existing retail branches, site upgrades including drive-up ATM and ADA-compliant upgrades, condemnation proceedings, and more recently in support of its commitment to alternative energy investment through its operational sustainability and retail solar projects for more than two dozen sites.
  • Representing a solar energy provider in obtaining land use approvals and successfully defending litigation challenging those approvals for a 70-megawatt solar energy generation facility – a one-of-its-kind, utility-scale, clean-energy project located on 593 acres across several parcels throughout Harmony Township, New Jersey. This project helped the state to meet its renewal energy goals set forth in the Governor Murphy’s Energy Master Plan, which include achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2050.
  • Representing a joint venture of a publicly traded international real estate investment firm and New Jersey-based developer/operator as transactional and redevelopment counsel with respect to the redevelopment of the Montclair Arts & Entertainment District that has energized the vibrant cultural, dining and shopping downtown area of Montclair, NJ through a $135 million investment into a 14,000 square-foot Public Plaza, 200 residential apartments, 40,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of retail development and the redevelopment of the historic Wellmont Theater. Taking a lead role, CSG helped the redeveloper assemble the sites, secure the necessary land use approvals, establish terms for the shared maintenance and operation of the Public Plaza and negotiate all related real estate concerns.