Michael Smetana

Partner & Real Estate
Practice Chair

Email : msmetana@cm.law

Toll Free: 1-844-285-4263 ext. 768

Direct : 312-329-1324

Office : Chicago

An experienced real estate attorney who advances the goals of real estate owners, developers, retailers and non-traditional real estate clients in all manner of commercial real estate transactions — from dirt to demolition.

Michael Smetana has successfully represented clients in a myriad of complex real estate transactions including acquisitions, dispositions, developments, redevelopments, land assemblages, leasing, construction, municipal financing and secured loans. Mr. Smetana has extensive experience in real estate development, sales and leasing.

Mr. Smetana has also provided general corporate counsel and dispute resolution advice to many of his clients. His professional skillset guides clients through all phases of real estate ownership and operations, including –


  • Deal structure planning, including drafting and negotiating letters of intent
  • Drafting and negotiating acquisition documents, including purchase agreements, ground leases,
    assignments, land swap agreements and related transaction documents; coordinating assemblages
  • Managing and providing legal analysis through all due diligence phases, including review and
    analysis of leases, entitlements, environmental issues, pending claims, title and survey

Development, Construction and Entitlements

  • Authoring and negotiating all manner of development-related documents, including covenants,
    conditions and restrictions, easements, development agreements with private parties and units of
    local governments (e.g., sales tax rebate agreements)
  • Coordinating legal obligations and rights among multiple parties across multiple agreements
  • Resolving environmental and other collateral issues
  • Negotiating construction agreements and amendments (AIA and other forms)
  • Assessing entitlement rights; appearing before municipalities on zoning modifications

Leasing & Financing

  • Drafting and negotiating leases, amendments and related documents for retail, office and industrial
    leases, including ground, build-to-suit, reverse build-to-suit and existing facility leases
  • Handling lease transactions in all phases of property life cycle: pre-construction, existing facilities,
    redevelopment and bankruptcy
  • Managing and documenting all aspects of secured financing transactions on behalf of lenders and borrowers


  • Developing standard forms for repeat transactions (e.g. exclusive listing agreements, broker
    registration letters, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements)
  • Managing pre-litigation disputes, communications and strategies; documenting settlements
  • Advising clients on compliance with law, code violations and other operational concerns

Representative Transactions

  • The ground-up development of a multi-phased, regional shopping center
  • Acquisition, sale and financing of single tenant and multitenant retail properties for closely-held real estate companies
  • The ground-up development of big-box anchored power center
  • Negotiation of retail leases for regional retailer looking to expand market share
  • Negotiation of ground leases and construction contracts to facilitate brand-entry market penetration for a national restaurant chain
  • Value-added office leasing for a private investment group seeking to reposition assets in existing markets
  • Value-added retail and outparcel ground leasing for closely-held real estate companies
  • Disposition of franchisee-operated restaurants
  • Financing of urban residential/retail mixed-use property and low-income housing for redevelopment
  • Redevelopment of TIF district town center properties with municipal financing for a health care facility and grocery-anchored retail center

Interesting Facts
When not practicing law, Michael enjoys time with his family, cycling and an occasional walk in the woods.  His favorite charity is Children International, a global nonprofit humanitarian organization that helps children break the cycle of poverty.

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