Bruce B. May

Member

Mr. May has devoted his entire career to all aspects of the law and practice of complex real estate, finance, and commercial transactions throughout the country. 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. Mr. May was elected as a Fellow in The American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) in honor of his state-wide and national accomplishments.

Biography

Mr. May has devoted his entire career to all aspects of the law and practice of complex real estate, finance, and commercial transactions throughout the country. 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.

Mr. May was elected as a Fellow 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
  • Apartments
  • Regional and neighborhood shopping centers and stand-alone retail uses
  • Office buildings
  • Industrial properties
  • Single family home-building 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

Project Siting, Zoning and Permitting

  • Represented the U.S. Department of Energy in the funding of more than a billion dollars of construction of two of the largest solar facilities in the United States. The representation included evaluating the developer’s compliance with all state and local requirements, preparing an exhaustive checklist of issues, requirements, prohibitions, permits, approvals and consents, addressing legal questions and the resolution of practical issues, and obtaining relevant legal opinions.
  • Represented a large, national company regarding issues raised by one of its largest salt extraction facilities. Jennings Strouss had to convince local officials that the facility was a permitted use under local and state law and that permits issued decades before were still effective. Our attorneys were then called upon to oppose a rezoning of property immediately adjacent to the facilities to residential use and negotiate and create a complex solution mitigating the effect of the operation of the facilities on the residential development.
  • Represented a national real estate investor and developer in assessing the compliance with siting and zoning requirements of a shopping center the client intended to purchase. In the course of the representation, our attorneys identified important features of the project that did not meet the requirements of the zoning code or the terms of the variances and use permits the seller had obtained (or failed to obtain). On the basis of our conclusions, the client has refused to proceed with the transaction until the issues are resolved. As a result, Jennings Strouss is currently involved in discussions and negotiations with local planning and zoning officials and the developer’s zoning counsel.
  • Represented a municipality that commonly faces a variety of zoning issues and most recently required a strategy to permit development in the face of a defective zoning scheme.

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 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. Documented a complex loan arrangement with the original developer and conducted a foreclosure of the entire project. 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. Negotiating with home-builders, 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. 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. 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. Worked with the police department to charge and oust prominent but disruptive members.

Media and Presentations

Articles

Blogs

Presentations

  • “Commercial Real Estate Leases: Trends and Developments,” West Valley Commercial Real Estate Group Webinar (August 21, 2020)
  • “Commercial Real Estate Leases: Trends and Developments,” The Knowledge Group Webinar (July 14, 2020)
  • Panelist, “Negotiating and Drafting Restaurant Leases,” Strafford CLE/CPE Webinar (March 12, 2020)
  • Moderator, “Phoenix Industrial & Logistics Outlook: Last Mile Logistics & Supply Chain,” BISNOW (October 24, 2019)

Memberships

Lambda Alpha International (2016 – present)

Phoenix Community Alliance (2004 – 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)

Valley Partnership (2004 – 2006)

American Bar Association

  • Former Chair, Broker and Brokerage Committee
  • Former Chair, Regulation of Land Sales Committee
  • Former Chair/Former 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 – 2021)
  • Listed, Southwest Super Lawyers® in the category of Real Estate: Business (2007 – 2020)
  • Listed, International Who’s Who of Real Estate Lawyers (2013 – 2020)
  • Listed, International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (2013)

Military Service

  • Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG), U.S. Navy, USS Sampson (DDG 10) Guided Missile Destroyer (1971 – 1975)