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Legal Services for Real Estate & Land Development

Investing in real estate can be one of the most profitable and steady investments you ever make — assuming it is done the right way, of course. Delving into the world of real estate, especially for commercial development or investing purposes, should always start with plenty of research into everything from your region to the saturation of the type of real estate you might develop. When you are ready to start dipping your toes into the water, our real estate lawyers are here to help. Our legal team can help with everything from negotiating leases to dealing with eminent domain concerns for a wide range of land development and commercial real estate plans across the Emerald Coast. Connect with Matthews & Jones, LLP for local legal services in Destin, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, and the surrounding areas.

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Our real estate and land development legal services include:

  • Development representation, including: land acquisition, financing, entitlements, leasing, and sale
  • Leasing, sub-leasing, easement agreements, negotiating operating leases, and related for commercial/industrial land
  • Development and land use services, which include development agreements and waivers
  • Eminent domain and condemnation guidance
  • Permitting, zoning, planning, entitlements, and environmental permitting
  • Private property rights
  • Residential, retail, resort, and mixed-use development guidance

Areas of Practice

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Ad Valorem Value Adjustments

During the month of August taxing authorities mail each property owner a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes. If you have any questions about your property’s value or how it was determined, you are encouraged to contact the property appraiser’s office. After meeting with an appraiser and examining the relevant data, you have the right to file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). Matthews & Jones, LLP can be an essential part of helping you defend the value of your land.

Commercial and Industrial Development

Matthews & Jones, LLP can be a vital member of your project team. We can coordinate all aspects of the development, from land acquisition to project entitlements, project financing and sale to lease of the developed product.

Our attorneys regularly represent banks and other lending institutions in making construction loans, and prepare and negotiate the documents necessary to finance all types of commercial property development. For our developer clients, we are instrumental in the acquisition, development and financing of single-family communities, multi-family residential projects, office buildings and shopping centers.


Commercial and Retail Leasing

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, Matthews & Jones, LLP provides attorney services related to the leasing of commercial and retail spaces.

Our experience includes:

  • Negotiating Most Types of Operating Leases
  • Build-To-Suit-Leases
  • Ground Leases
  • Subleases (For Free-Standing and Pad Sites)
  • Related Easement Agreements.

In addition, our multi-disciplinary approach to business makes us well-suited to counsel our clients on complex disputes, if needed.

Development and Land Use

Our attorneys, together, have over 100 years of combined transactional and regulatory experience in the areas of zoning, entitlements and land use planning, and environmental matters. We strive to build long-term value in our client relationships through a team approach to the services we offer and are well suited to counsel clients through virtually every stage of a development project. We provide legal advice related to all property types and industry sectors.

Development Law and Land Use Services Include (But Not Limited To):

  • Obtaining Development Agreements
  • Development Orders
  • Land Use Variances and Waivers
  • Plats
  • Re-Plats
  • Other Development Matters.

We have appeared on behalf of clients before regulatory bodies including the City of Destin, Okaloosa and Walton County Commissions, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Florida Department of Transportation.


Eminent Domain and Condemnation

The terms “eminent domain,” “condemnation” and “taking” are all terms that refer to the power of the federal or state government to take private property for a public purpose, even if the property owner objects. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution allows the government to take private property if the taking is for a public use and the owner is “justly compensated” (usually, paid fair market value) for his or her loss. A public use is virtually anything that is sanctioned by a federal or state legislative body, but such uses may include roads, parks, reservoirs, schools, hospitals or other public buildings. Your attorney at Destin Law can play an essential role in negotiating with the government authority in negotiating the amount of “just compensation.”

Environmental and Regulatory Permitting

Destin Law represents large and small businesses, developers and individuals in all areas of environmental permitting, regulatory compliance, litigation and due diligence. Our attorneys work closely with our clients’ environmental consultants and experts to minimize and manage environmental liabilities and risks in connection with real estate transactions, development of residential, multi-family, retail and commercial developments and obtaining environmental permits and entitlements. Our attorneys maintain close working relationships with the local, regional and state regulators.


Planning, Zoning, and EntitlementsV

As governmental regulation increases in the areas of planning, zoning and land development, the employment of sound legal counsel is essential in achieving your land use objectives. Many landowners, developers, financial institutions, and local and municipal governments rely on the attorneys of Matthews & Jones, LLP for our commitment to extending creative solutions within a changing environment. Our attorneys maintain working relationships with government officials and staff at local, regional, and state levels that prove crucial to moving land use projects forward.

Private Property Rights

Matthews & Jones, LLP views your private property rights paramount to maintaining your financial well-being. If your private property rights have been infringed upon by the government, a private citizen or a business, we’ll fight for your rights both in and out of court.


Residential Development

The Destin Law transactional team has extensive experience in the areas of single family residential subdivisions, condominium law and condominium conversions. We have a wide range of experience representing developers, owners and lenders in connection with the development of new projects from the ground-up, as well as with acquisitions, conversions of condominiums, commercial condominiums and mixed-use projects.

Resort Development

We advise clients on virtually every aspect of acquisition, development and conversion including investment structuring, financing, construction, and the negotiation and documentation of management and services agreements between the owner and operator for hotel properties, condominium hotels, destination resorts, and specialty golf, ski and marina developments. We help structure flexible, well-considered management arrangements and advise on appropriate relationships between various project components. Our team has experience with fractional and private residence club projects. We also provide counsel on the structure of rental programs and advise on regulatory compliance for matters related to sales, licensing and advertising.


Restrictive Covenants

A restrictive covenant is a limiting clause in a real estate deed that prevents certain types of development. It is crucial, therefore, that developers know all restrictive covenants and understand their potential impact. The attorneys at Matthews & Jones, LLP have extensive experience in real estate and land use, and can guide you through the labyrinth of land use regulations that may affect the value of a piece of property you’re interested in purchasing or selling. We also represent clients who wish to change land-use designations by advocating on their behalf to local and state governing bodies.

Retail and Mixed-Use Development

Our seasoned professionals have shepherded major mixed use developments through the development process, making what can often be a tedious and bumpy process smoother and faster for our clients. No project is too large or too small. We advise clients on virtually every aspect of the development process, including finding viable site locations, due diligence, contract negotiations, permitting, licensing and litigation. From the largest mixed use developments on the Emerald Coast to smaller retail malls, we’ve assisted various developers from around the country.


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