Chris Drewes


New York
Phone number
(212) 808-7535

Now in his fifth decade of practice, Chris is the consummate dealmaker. His work involves all aspects of commercial real estate, including real estate financing, joint ventures, acquisitions, dispositions, development, construction, leasing, and other matters.

In addition, Chris has extensive experience with bankruptcy, reorganization, workouts and creditors’ rights, hospitals and health care, not-for-profit organizations, and general commercial law. He also represents U.S. and foreign clients in complex transactions involving information technology development licensing and services.

Chris is dedicated to bringing parties together to achieve that elusive balance that gets the deal done and ends in the right result for his clients. Having closed thousands of commercial real estate transactions valued into the billions of dollars over the course of his career, Chris derives great satisfaction from looking out his window or walking down the street and recalling the many projects in which he had a hand.

Knowing firsthand the enormous creativity and problem-solving skills that complex real estate transactions can require, Chris deftly navigates financial, operational, and logistical challenges that are often unique from one project to the next.

Whether assisting a national private development company with the planning, development, construction, and financing of a nine-figure multi-use waterfront complex or helping an institutional syndicator of real estate investment partnerships with restructuring and workout issues, clients appreciate that Chris consistently understands the terrain, grasps the issues, safeguards their interests, and seeks creative solutions to difficult problems.

In addition to his work for commercial lenders and developers, Chris has extensive experience representing not-for-profit health care, religious, educational, and charitable organizations in connection with real estate acquisitions, development, finance, and other transactional matters.

Chris’s work with not-for-profit educational institutions extends well beyond his real estate practice. He serves on and was a former chair of the board of trustees of St. Joseph’s University, where he is also currently a member of the Executive and Finance Committees. He has served on the board of trustees of the Eden II School for Autistic Children and is a member of its Governance Committee. Chris is also chair of the board of directors of CrimsonRise, Inc., an organization dedicated to developing and implementing therapeutic strategies for individuals on the autism spectrum.

I’m about solving problems and making deals work. I look at a transaction from all angles to find the common ground that will get it done and achieve my client’s goals.”

Commercial Real Estate Transactions

Representing life insurance companies, banks and financial services companies in commercial real estate loan transactions, including both construction and permanent financing.

Representing life insurance companies in connection with equity ventures in which the life company partners with developers to acquire, develop, improve and operate commercial projects throughout the country.

Representing life insurance companies, banks and other lending institutions in connection with foreclosures, bankruptcy proceedings, workouts and restructuring of commercial real estate mortgage loans, joint ventures and other real estate investments.

Representing life insurance companies, investors and commercial enterprises in connection with the acquisition and disposition of office properties and multifamily residential, industrial and other real estate assets.

Representing a privately held real estate company in connection with the negotiation of a long-term triple-net financeable ground lease for the development of a market-rate residential and retail complex on the South Bronx waterfront.

Representing commercial developers, lenders and institutional real estate owners in negotiating general construction contracts, construction management, architects’, project management and related agreements in connection with both ground-up construction and major renovation projects, including medical office buildings and facilities, general office buildings, multi-family housing, industrial buildings and other properties.

Representing a privately held construction and development company in connection with a series of pre-fabricated modular subsidized housing projects in the Los Angeles area.

Representing a for-profit educational organization in the development and financing of an off-shore medical college in the Bahamas.

Representing an institutional syndicator of real estate investment partnerships in connection with restructuring and workout issues.

Representing a national private development company in connection with the planning, development, construction and financing of a waterfront retail, restaurant, commercial, museum, educational and entertainment complex.

Representing a private enterprise in connection with the financing, project management and development (including negotiation of construction contracts and related agreements) of Veterans Affairs hospitals, biofuel facilities and other infrastructure projects.

Transactions Involving Not-for-Profit Organizations

Representing various not-for-profit health systems, hospitals, medical centers, nursing homes and other health care facilities in connection with the acquisition and disposition of real estate and other assets, major modernization and construction projects, financing and refinancing through secured and/or Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured tax-exempt debt, taxable debt, private placement and other modalities, and bankruptcy, reorganization, workouts, restructuring and related matters.

Representing various not-for-profit health systems in connection with the acquisition of and/or affiliation with hospitals and other health care facilities throughout the New York metropolitan area.

Representing a major not-for-profit health system in connection with the acquisition and development of a health care facility on the former site of an historic hospital in Greenwich Village; the acquisition and development of a 475,000-square-foot outpatient facility adjacent to one of its medical center campuses; and the acquisition and development of various medical facilities and other projects.

Representing a New York City university hospital and medical center in connection with a major construction and modernization project, including unique arrangements involving development rights, financing and related matters.

Representing a world-renowned performing arts conservatory in connection with the development of a shared mixed-use residential, office and performance space facility; a major modernization and construction project on its New York City campus; and related tax-exempt bond financing and other matters.

Representing a private liberal arts college in connection with the construction of a gymnasium on its Brooklyn campus, the acquisition and construction of an athletic field complex, gymnasium, library, technology center, residential facilities and a student center on its Long Island campus; financing and refinancing for these and other projects through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds.

Representing a sectarian day school in New York City’s Greenwich Village in connection with the negotiation of a long-term ground lease with its sponsoring religious organization and the financing and development of a major expansion of its school building.

Representing a real estate development company in connection with the acquisition, financing and operation of staff housing for a New York City university hospital and medical center.

Representing a not-for-profit medical college in the development and leasing of a biomedical research facility, sale of a medical office building and a residential apartment building in New York City, and various tax-exempt bond financing and refinancing transactions.

Representing affiliates of a not-for-profit medical center in the New York City Industrial Development Agency IDA financing and construction of a parking garage and financing for the development of housing pursuant to Section 202 of the Housing Act.

Representing the New York/New Jersey division of a national charitable organization in connection with negotiations for the use of its development rights in a commercial real estate development venture, refinancing and/or sale of its subsidized low-income housing and occupational therapy facilities, and related matters.

Other Commercial Transactional Experience

Representing a global provider of software solutions and information technology in complex IT development, licensing, consulting and business process outsourcing transactions.

Representing various enterprises in transactions involving media sales, television programming production and syndication, and related matters.

The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Real Estate Law, 2018-2023.

International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)

St. Joseph’s College, New York, board of trustees, chair; Executive Committee and Finance Committee member

The Eden II School for Autistic Children, Inc., board of trustees; Executive Committee, Governance Committee member