Bruce B. May

Chair, Real Estate

Overview

Mr. May has devoted his entire career to all aspects of the law and practice of real estate and commercial transactions throughout Arizona. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© and Southwest Super Lawyers in the category of real estate since the inception of both.

Contact
Areas of Focus
  • Real Estate
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Leasing
  • Subdivision Law
  • Mix-Use Projects
  • Condominium Projects
  • Master-Planned Community Projects
  • Title Insurance
  • Solar Projects
Education

J.D., University of Oregon School of Law (1978)

  • Order of the Coif
  • Associate Editor, University of Oregon Law Review

A.B., Princeton University (1971)

Biography

Mr. May has devoted his entire career to all aspects of the law and practice of real estate and commercial transactions throughout Arizona. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© and Southwest Super Lawyers in the category of real estate since the inception of both.

In 1991, Mr. May was elected to membership in The American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) in honor of his state-wide and national accomplishments. He is also a member of the Georgetown Advanced Commercial Leasing Institute {GACLI) in recognition of his expertise in commercial leasing and, while it was active, kept current with his corporate clients as a member of the International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate.

Looking to Mr. May’s extensive experience, he has been interviewed, and his opinions sought, by prominent nationally distributed newspapers, and has been a contributor to a syndicated radio program regarding events of national significance.

Mr. May has counseled sophisticated local, national, and international owners, developers, lenders, and investors in all phases of:

  • large scale mixed-use projects
  • condominium development and condominium owner associations
  • master-planned residential communities
  • Regional and neighborhood shopping centers and stand-alone retail uses
  • office buildings
  • industrial properties
  • single family homebuilding businesses
  • public/private partnerships and public incentives
  • solar projects

In the course of such representation, he has developed specific expertise, in addition to his broad real estate experience, in:

  • complex leasing for retail, office, industrial and other uses
  • title insurance, coverages, endorsements and claims
  • broker licensing and regulated activities
  • state and local tax issues arising from real estate transactions
  • state constitutional “gift clause” prohibitions
  • government property lease excise tax (GPLET)
  • federal, state and local subdivision laws
  • historical archeological burial sites; wetlands; protected species, habitat, and native plants; and other related environmental issues that impact real estate projects
  • lease enforcement and commercial lock-outs
  • enforcement of security instruments through receiverships and trustee sales
  • Native American tribal law, practice, and procedure
  • community facilities districts (CFD)
  • construction law, contractor licensing and mechanic’s liens
  • condominium and master-planned community acts

Admissions

Admitted to Practice

  • Arizona (1978)

Court Admission

  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (1978)

Representative Experience

Public/Private Development of Multi-Use Projects

  • Counsel on all real estate related issues arising from a $320M public/private venture located in Tempe, Arizona that included the development of a hotel, convention center, residential and retail uses and headquarters and athletic facilities for state and national sports authorities, on multiple phased ground leases with a national university. The project required complex incentives and entitlements from the City and university.
  • Counsel for a non-profit foundation in the acquisition of land for a $300M research park located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The site was formerly a regional shopping center and presented unique issues involving the substantial presence of environmental. contaminants, title restrictions and hostile neighboring owners. Simultaneously, he was negotiating with the City the terms of a long-term, profit-sharing ground lease.
  • Counsel for the owner of property located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona to be developed into an 800,000-1,000,000 square foot office/retail project fueled by incentives under an unsubordinated GPLET lease and development, disposition, and redevelopment agreement with the City
  • Each of the transactions required designing a structure to avoid Arizona’s constitutional “gift clause” prohibitions and evaluating the risks of any challenge

Shopping Center – Retail

  • Counsel for a national owner, developer, and operator of a regional, department store anchored, shopping center of 500,000 square feet located in Tucson, Arizona and prepared and reviewed the leases and engaged in extensive negotiations with regional and national retailers
  • Served as local counsel for a national REIT entering the Phoenix and Tucson markets as owner and operator of shopping centers and a regional developer entering the market to acquire and develop sites for national stand-alone retailers

Commercial Leasing

  • Representation of a large law firm in lease negotiations for its offices

Master-Planned Communities

  • Counsel for the owner of a 1500 acre master-planned multi-use community in Show Low, Arizona. He documented a complex loan arrangement with the original developer and conducted a foreclosure of the entire project. He has organized and implemented a transition of ownership and control of the project to the client and advises the client on a wide variety of development issues, renegotiating, in particular, a project-wide Development Agreement with the City and funding agreement with a Community Facilities District.
  • Representation of a partner in a dispute over ownership, control, and development of an 850-acre golf-theme, a high-end residential master-planned community in Peoria, Arizona. Involved were unique issues involving a condition of title, access over BLM Lands, protected species and habitats, and application of the Arizona Subdivision Act
  • Representation of many of the region’s largest developers of large-scale master-planned communities that incorporated residential, retail, office uses, championship golf courses, lakes and other amenities. Mr. May was negotiating with homebuilders, golf course designers daily and assessing and resolving complex regulatory issues raised by wetlands, U.S. waterways, protected habitats, species and native plants and significant archeological sites and resulting local, state and Corp of Engineers permitting requirements.

Solar Projects

  • Selected as Arizona counsel for the U.S. Department of Energy for the Department’s funding of over $1B for the development of two of the largest solar power generating projects in the world. The representation required mastering a complex funding arrangement, advising an international law firm and dealing with many of the largest law firms in the country, preparing all necessary security documents for Arizona, determining and evaluating necessary local and state permits, resolving unique title issues, and securing complex title insurance for real and personal property with specifically crafted endorsements, co-insurance, UCC-9 aggregate insurance, and mechanic’s lien coverage for “broken” priority.

Industry Development/Data Centers

  • Local counsel for a national wholesale data center developer and operator. Mr. May representation includes extensive and unique due diligence, evaluation and resolution of often adverse title and zoning issues, resolution of incompatible neighboring uses and evaluation of various federal, state and city tax inducements and other incentive programs.
  • Served as local counsel for a national brokerage and investment firm in negotiations with a national bank for the sale/joint use leaseback of a $75M data center, raising complex and technical issues involving reconfiguration of the facilities and preservation of proprietary and confidential matters.
  • Represents one of the world’s largest salt production companies in connection with the operation of a facility in the Phoenix metropolitan area and other projects and assists with natural gas subleases of salt domes, complex water, geotechnical and environmental permitting issues and resolving disputes with adjoining owners.

Condominium and Apartment Projects

  • Represents the owners of several large-scale condominium projects and assists with the operation of the condominium associations they control.
  • Represents several owners of large-scale apartment projects and coordinated the conversion of a complex into a condominium. His representation includes preparation and review of all condominium, marketing and sales documentation, condominium plats, ensuring compliance with local, state, FHA, HUD, FNMA and FHLMC requirements, and assistance in the process of securing all necessary local permits, approvals and licenses.

Hotel/Office

  • Assisted a national investor in seizing and subsequently operating a 750,000 square foot high-rise hotel and office building project with one of the largest private health clubs in Phoenix. Previous ownership left behind problems involving liquor licensing, criminal activities and an unruly membership in the health club. Mr. May found himself working with the police department and charged with ousting prominent but disruptive members.

Media and Presentations

Articles

Blogs

Memberships

Lamda Alpha International (2016 – present)

The American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)

  • Fellow, Leasing Committee (1991 – present)

International Council of Shopping Centers

Phoenix Art Museum

  • Member, Contemporary Art Forum (2005 – 2008)

Phoenix Community Alliance (2004 – present)

Valley Partnership (2004 – 2006)

American Bar Association

  • Past Chair, Broker and Brokerage Committee
  • Past Chair, Regulation of Land Sales Committee
  • Past Chair/Past Vice Chair, Real Property Division Committees devoted to the Division’s organization

Honors and Awards

  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated
  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America© in the category of  Real Estate Law (1983 – 2019)
  • Listed, Southwest Super Lawyers in the category of Real Estate: Business (2007 – 2018)
  • Listed, International Who’s Who of Real Estate Lawyers (2013 – 2015)
  • Listed, International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (2013)