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Overview

Our Firm is attuned to the needs of our hospitality clients for guidance in the ever-evolving complexity of issues facing the industry both in Florida and across the country. As a multi-disciplinary team, we work with clients to navigate complicated joint venture agreements, land development and zoning issues, environmental concerns, construction, joint venture financing and labor & employment challenges.

  • Acquisitions & Dispositions
  • Alcoholic Beverage Licensing
    We assist businesses with all types of alcoholic beverage licenses - to manufacture, distribute, buy, sell, or serve alcohol - and at every stage of the licensure process - acquisition, maintenance, liening, and sale.
  • Construction & Development
  • Financing & Capital Structure
  • Franchising, Management & Branding
  • Joint Ventures
  • Labor & Employment
  • Land Development, Zoning & Environmental
  • Licensing
  • Litigation
  • Operations
  • Real Estate
  • Workouts & Bankruptcy
  • Projects Include:
    • Hotels & Resorts
    • Hotel Enhanced Mixed-Use Projects
    • Restaurants
    • Golf Courses & Golf Course Communities
    • Gaming & Casinos
    • Theme Parks
    • Marinas
    • Spas
    • Cinemas
    • Cruise Lines
    • Sports & Entertainment Venues

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Financing & Capital Structure

  • Represented an owner in refinancing and equity restructuring of a $200,000,000 loan for a 500 room luxury hotel, which was part of a resort development on Key Biscayne, Florida involving multiple owners.
  • Represented a lender in the $400,000,000 construction financing for a project adjacent to a major theme park in Orlando, Florida, including a luxury hotel, spa, golf course and a second hotel.
  • Represented numerous purchasers of individual non-performing loans, including a privately held company acquiring a $30,000,000 loan secured by a South Beach hotel and a foreign hotel company that purchased loans secured by hotels in Arizona and Illinois.

Joint Ventures

  • Represented a U.S. hotel chain in the formation of a joint venture with a European jewelry company for the creation of a new ultra luxury hotel brand, including the structuring of U.S. and non-U.S. investment vehicles, property holding entities, debt and equity commitments, property leases, license agreements and management agreements.
  • Represented a branded national hospitality company in the establishment of a joint venture with a major institutional investor for the investment of over $500,000,000 in hotel development across the United States.
  • Represented a European wineries and hospitality services company in the negotiation and documentation of a joint venture with a domestic company for expansion of its business into the U.S. market.

Construction

  • Represented a hotel owner in the negotiation of a construction agreement for the $110,000,000 development of luxury beach resort, including several themed restaurants, a spa and fitness center, retail space and meetings facilities.
  • Represented a hotel management company in the negotiation of a construction agreement for a $20,000,000 expansion of a resort and convention hotel.

Development & Management

  • Regularly represent developers and owners in all aspects of ground-up development of new hotels, including land use and entitlements matters.
  • Regularly represent managers and owners in the negotiation and documentation of hotel management agreements.
  • Represented a developer in transactions related to the first U.S. location of a European “lifestyle” brand expanding into the North American market, including a ground lease, development and leasehold construction financing for the construction of the hotel and a separate parking facility to be shared with an adjacent hotel under development by a third party.
  • Represented the owners of three separate hotel and residential condominium projects in the negotiation of development and management agreements, as part of the first roll-out of a new brand launched by a joint venture between an international hotel company and a prominent club designer.

Operations & Strategic Sourcing

  • Represented a global franchisor in developing legal strategies for direct savings captured by aggregating enterprise-wide purchasing volume and negotiating total cost of ownership (TCO) contracts with vendors, as well as implementing other TCO cost reduction initiatives.
  • Represented information technology divisions of Fortune 100 companies in numerous transactions involving the analysis, development and negotiation of complex hospitality/technology ventures on a global scale, including working with, negotiating against and consummating transactions for global distribution systems, central reservation platforms and hotel property management systems.
  • Represented hospitality companies in the negotiation and documentation of retail leases and vendor and outsourcing contracts. 

Labor & Employment

  • Obtained a jury defense verdict in Orlando federal court for a client accused of sexual harassment in which the employee was seeking $2,000,000.
  • Obtained summary judgment (and an attorneys’ fees award of over $200,000) for a client in Orlando federal court on whistleblower, wiretapping and sexual harassment claims in which the plaintiff was seeking $6,000,000.
  • Represented employers in discrimination, wage and hour and employment litigation.
  • Represented employers in wage and hour compliance matters, including tip and service charge issues.
  • Advised clients regarding unions and collective bargaining.
  • Counseled clients regarding their employee benefit plans and executive compensation, including 401K plans, medical and other welfare benefit plans, COBRA issues, Section 125-Cafeteria Plans, Code Section 409A issues and tax and ERISA compliance and litigation.

Franchising

  • Representing a major U.S. based hotel company, organized and coordinated the transition of troubled international hotel brand after its acquisition by the larger U.S. company, including relations with the Canadian master franchisee, disposition of unproductive properties and negotiation of master development agreements for various regions in Asia and Europe.
  • Representing an investment group comprised of U.S. and Latin American investors, negotiated a franchise agreement for a South Beach hotel with a Spanish resort company establishing its first U.S. mainland project and its first franchised property.
  • Representing a U.S. developer, negotiated two master franchise agreements with a U.S. franchisor for expansion of an upper upscale U.S. hotel brand into Canadian and Central American markets.

Golf

  • Represented an owner in the acquisition and re-flagging of a golf resort and winery, including environmental diligence and creation of reciprocal easement and restrictive covenant agreements.
  • Represented the directors of a prestigious private golf club, previously self-managed, in its selection of a national golf management company and the negotiation of a comprehensive management agreement consistent with the club’s culture.

Restaurants

  • Represented owners and restaurateurs in numerous transactions, including development, leasing, debt and equity structuring and licensing of signature restaurants located primarily in hotels, mixed use projects and retail facilities.
  • Represented luxury hotel owners in negotiation of agreements to engage celebrity chefs.

Gaming

  • Represented Las Vegas based gaming company in the structuring and negotiation of joint venture, development, licensing and management agreements for the largest hotel-casino project then proposed in the United Kingdom.
  • Represented secured creditors in pursuit of $130,000,000 in bankruptcy claims and in the ultimate acquisition and operation of a casino, including handling land use matters, labor and employment issues and negotiation of agreements.

Land Use/Regulatory

  • Represent owners/developers throughout Florida in securing routine and complex entitlements for large, green-field resort projects and challenging, urban redevelopment sites.
  • Represented developer in securing land use, environmental and government authorizations for the redevelopment of the Diplomat Resort, including a hotel, conventional center, condominium, golf resort, retail center and marinas in Hollywood, Florida.
  • Represented Ginn Company in obtaining entitlements for numerous resort projects in Flagler County, including the Hammock Beach Club Resort as part of the greater Hammock Dunes Development of Regional Impact.
  • Representing developer in redevelopment of multiple resort properties in Longboat Key, Florida, involving negotiation and drafting of major comprehensive plan and land development code amendments to enable higher density, mixed use resorts with upscale hotels, restaurants, convention facilities and supporting amenities.
  • Representing owner/developer in modifying local regulations through the Area of Critical State Concern program to develop offshore island resort project in the Florida Keys    
  • Representing developer in redevelopment of the former Adams Mark beachfront site in Clearwater Beach, requiring negotiations with state on coastal permitting issues.  

Events: Recognizing Pokémon Problems and Other Technology Pitfalls
South Florida Hospitality Human Resources Association |August 2016|Robert S. Turk

Events: Dade County Bar Association 2016 Bench & Bar Conference
Hyatt Regency Miami |February 2016

Events: Liquor Licensure 101
Stearns Weaver Miller |January 2016|Bridget Smitha

Firm Announcements: New Faces, Growing Places
February 2015

In the Media: CREW-Miami Members Lead in 2015
CREW-Miami People & Deals Newsletter|December 2014

In the Media: Women in Law: Women Honored for South Florida Legal Accomplishments
Daily Business Review|October 2014

In the Media: CREW Storms Miami Beach
Real Estate Bisnow|October 2014

In the Media: Top 20 Women in Law: DBR Recognizes South Florida Achievers
Daily Business Review|September 2014

In the Media: Stearns Weaver Adds Real Estate, IT Partners In Miami
Law360|September 2014

Firm Announcements: Gisela M. Munoz Joins Stearns Weaver Miller
August 2014

Events: 2014 Legal Update
South Florida Hospitality Human Resources Association Seminar |July 2014|Robert S. Turk

Events: Cybervetting and Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace
Hospitality Human Resources Association of Broward County (HHRABC) |June 2014|Kara S. Nickel

Events: Something Wicked This Way Comes: Why South Florida Hotels Need to Know What Is Happening at the NLRB and DOL in DC
South Florida Hospitality Human Resources Association |August 2011|Robert S. Turk

Events: Legal Tips on Tip Credit, Tip Pooling and the Service Charge - Does Anybody Really Understand How to Pay from Gratuities?
Hospitality Human Resources Association of Broward County |August 2011|Robert S. Turk

Firm Announcements: Four Attorneys Promoted to Shareholder
November 2009

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