Public/Private Partnerships

In recent years, limited state and federal resources have heightened the need for innovative approaches to take community development projects from the drawing board to completion. Calfee has become a leader in counseling clients on the development of projects requiring the cooperative use of public and private resources. The firm’s experience in real estate, partnership law and taxation, and commercial and municipal finance, combined with broad experience in governmental matters, has enabled us to assist clients in developing programs that are models of public and private sector collaboration.

In addition to providing the traditional real estate and financing representation that these projects require, Calfee attorneys bring a unique understanding of the public sector derived from years of professional experience in public law and finance and government relations. This background provides the firm with significant strength in advising clients on programs requiring government involvement.

Real Estate

Our Real Estate Practice has been recognized for five years running by Midwest Real Estate News in the “Best of the Best” issue as one of the Top 25 Law Firms in Real Estate.  Calfee’s practice group represents a wide range of clients including developers, investors and syndicators, institutional lenders, individuals and corporate clients in connection with matters related to the acquisition, disposition, construction, development, leasing, and financing of real property assets.  In addition to conventional purchase, sale, loan, and lease transactions, this practice encompasses the formation of investment syndications, joint ventures, and economic development incentives, the structuring of synthetic leases and tax-deferred exchanges, and the representation of clients in complex multi-site and multi-state transactions.

  • Master development programs
  • Joint ventures and syndications
  • Site acquisition and control
  • Building and zoning compliance
  • Environmental due diligence and compliance

Government Relations

Calfee’s Government Relations and Legislation practice is respected for its political savvy and effectiveness, legal expertise, honesty, and relationships with all levels of local and state government on both sides of the political aisle. Since 1989, our full-service lobbying group has appeared before the Ohio General Assembly, statewide elected officials, executive agencies, commissions, and departments of state government. We advocate for our clients in a strong, clear voice that makes an impact. 

  • Analysis of public policy perspectives
  • Legislative strategy, development and implementation
  • Creation of coalitions
  • Development of “grassroots” support programs


No project will be successful, or even completed, if it doesn’t have financing.  We represent clients in all aspects of  transactions, financings and debt structures. The firm's commercial attorneys counsel financial institutions and borrowers in analyzing, structuring, documenting and negotiating all aspects of finance in private, public, syndicated, international and governmental settings.  Our diversified backgrounds mean we understand all aspects of securing financing for a project.

Calfee is regarded as one of the foremost bond counsel firms in the State of Ohio. With more than 30 years experience in this field, we regularly represent Ohio municipalities, counties, townships, the State of Ohio, special districts and other political subdivisions as bond counsel, issuer's counsel and special counsel, and serve as underwriters' counsel to various local and national investment bankers.

  • Public/private investment funds
  • Low income housing credit projects
  • Historic rehabilitation credit projects
  • Conduit financing
  • Tax increment financing
  • Tax abatement
  • Governmental loans and grants


Representative Projects

  • Assisted Fortune 500 corporation in obtaining commitments for supplemental government loan guarantees to further secure federally guaranteed loans.
  • Served as counsel to three Cleveland public/private investment funds involved in providing over $100 million of debt and equity funding for area housing, retail, commercial and public improvement projects.
  • Represented utility company in tax-deferred exchange involving two nuclear and five fossil fueled electrical power plans and related assets.
  • Represented public hospital in synthetic lease transaction for new parking garage.
  • Acted as Ohio local counsel for one of Ohio’s full service casinos, assisting with land assemblage, tenant relocations, demolition and construction, historic landmarks, landowner lawsuits, receivership purchases, and venture financing in excess of $800,000,000.
  • Assisted a property owner in removing a large industrial center from a securitized loan pool without payment of prepayment penalties, late fees or default interest.
  • Assisted the developer during the acquisition and restoration of the Old Arcade in Cleveland’s central business district, including the negotiation of multi-tiered public and private financing arrangements and real estate tax abatement.
  • For nearly two decades, Calfee counseled a national truck stop corporation on all of their real estate work, acquisitions, siting, development and construction, divestitures, easements, zoning, real estate litigation.

We were among the first firms to serve as bond counsel in connection with the issuance by a port authority of bonds payable from municipal tax increment financing revenues and “backed up” by voluntarily-imposed special assessments paid to the municipality. This novel structure permitted the financing of a public parking facility adjacent to an inner-ring suburb retail center.