Litigation Victory in Right of First Refusal Case

Our firm recently prevailed in a case on behalf of one of our long-time developer clients, in a right of first refusal case involving properties in the Short North in Columbus.  See Gordon Restaurants, Inc. v. W.S. Carlile & Sons Co., 2022-Ohio-4589.

That case involves a situation in which the tenant has a right of refusal in two adjacent buildings.  Our developer client owns the property immediately to the north, and has a 90+ year lease for parking and access on the rear of both properties.  Our client sought to purchase both properties for eventual redevelopment.

The tenant sought to obstruct the sale to our client by exercising its right of first refusal as to only one of those two properties – the smaller property that it barely used, instead of the other larger and more expensive property in which the tenant’s restaurant business actually operates.

The Court of Appeals concluded that our client is entitled to complete its purchase because the tenant failed to match the terms of our client’s offer to purchase both properties, our client’s offer was commercially reasonable under the circumstances, and there was no bad faith in the offering process or with the notice given to the tenant.

This Appellate Decision is a rare case dealing with interpretation of a right of first refusal in a commercial real estate transaction, and it shows how litigation can sometimes be essential to clearing certain issues involving real estate.

Entity Transfer Threat Level Increases

House Bill 126 nearly addressed the subject of entity transfers, but the as-passed version of the Bill that became law last month did not address the concerns surrounding entity transfers (a sale in which a buyer purchases a limited liability company that owns property instead of acquiring the real estate itself).  Mike Sikora was instrumental in helping avoid inclusion of that language in House Bill 126.

County auditors believe that, while House Bill 126 didn’t address that issue, legislators now are more aware of the issue and believe that it warrants future conversations.   Sikora Law is continuing its work on the issue of entity transfers with the Ohio State Bar Association and NAIOP.

Michelle Jarboe of Crain’s Cleveland Business recently wrote another article on this subject – click here to read it.

New & Improved Opportunity Zone Law Effective Soon

On September 13, 2022, Senate Bill 225 will officially become the law of Ohio.  This new law will temporarily double the funding for Ohio’s Historic Tax Credit Program and Ohio’s Opportunity Zone Program, and it will bring valuable enhancements to both of those prized economic development Programs.  Our firm drafted the Opportunity Zone language in that Bill, and we are using it to help many of our Developer Clients.

Crain’s Cleveland Business published a well-written and insightful article on the Opportunity Zone Program, including multiple quotes from Mike Sikora about the Program and how we’re helping our Clients utilize it to get their deals done.  Ohio’s Opportunity Zone Program is now more valuable than ever, in light of rising interest rates and construction costs.

Check out that Crain’s Cleveland Business article by clicking here.

Ohio’s Opportunity Zone Program Gets Even Better

Senate Bill 225 passed the Ohio House with the Ohio Senate unanimously concurring on the House amendments.  That Bill was signed by Governor DeWine and will become law on September 11, 2022.  Once it becomes effective, it will temporarily double the funding for Ohio’s Historic Tax Credit Program and Ohio’s Opportunity Zone Program, and it will bring valuable enhancements to both of those economic development Programs.

Mike Sikora drafted the Opportunity Zone language in that Bill, just as he did the most recent amendment to Ohio Opportunity Zone law last year.  Not only did we draft the two most recent versions of Ohio Opportunity Zone law, but we believe we also have far more experience utilizing that law for our Clients than any other firm.  We drafted and submitted 42 Ohio Opportunity Zone Applications in Round 1, 51 Applications in Round 2, and 79 Applications in Round 3 (the most recent Round).

Reach out to us for any and all Opportunity Zone matters that you may need assistance with.  We know how to utilize this new and improved Ohio Opportunity Zone law to ensure your compliance with it and to maximize your benefits from it.

Rising Star Legal Assistant Joins our Team

Our team is very excited to announce the addition of Alexandria “Alli” Green to our team.  Alli will serve as the firm’s Legal Assistant in our Downtown Cleveland Office.  Alli joins Sikora Law with prior experience as a litigation paralegal for a mid-sized general practice firm in Indiana.  She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies from Indiana University at South Bend.  Alli is passionate about volunteering and is already getting involved in the Cleveland area community.  Her team player attitude and positive outlook will make her a fabulous fit with our team of professionals.  Welcome aboard, Alli!