Overview

Howard’s practice includes a broad real estate litigation and transactional focus. His clients include both international and local real estate individuals and companies. He has successfully tried scores of condemnation cases, before both court-appointed commissioners and juries, and has obtained excellent results for his clients.

He has handled real estate transactions and disputes involving commercial, industrial sales, acquisitions, leasing and land use. As a real estate investor in addition to being a lawyer, Howard’s advice is both legally astute and pragmatic. He recognizes that most clients have a business concern, not just a legal issue to resolve.

Howard has substantial condemnation law experience, representing both landowners and taking authorities. In addition to his condemnation practice, Howard represents clients in matters involving real estate including foreclosures and receiverships, zoning and land use, landlord/tenant, leasing, lien law, real estate tax protests, real estate transactional law and construction dispute resolution.

In 2017, Howard was invited to become a select member of The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE), in recognition for his problem-solving abilities in areas of real estate counseling. The CRE is an international group of high-profile professionals of prominent real estate, financial, legal and accounting firms who provide expert, objective advice on complex real property situations and land-related matters.

Services

Experience

  • Successfully negotiated more than $35,000,000 in just compensation in connection with the Southwest LRT Project.
  • Successfully represented S & R Quisberg, Inc., owner of a Cub Foods store, in special assessment and condemnation disputes that resulted in compensation and savings to the client of more than $600,000.
  • Lead lawyer in negotiating and completing a $15,000,000 financing package for a multi-use hotel and recreation property.
  • Successfully represented Arcis Golf, a national golf course owner and operator, in connection with contested condemnation action.
  • Successfully tried condemnation cases before the court-appointed commissioners resulting in multiple awards in excess of $5 million for his clients.
  • Extensive condemnation experience relating to transmission corridors including high voltage transmission lines and pipelines. Experience includes Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa.
  • Obtained a six-figure jury verdict in a condemnation case after a multi-day trial.
  • Successfully defeated unlawful efforts to condemn private property on a number of separate occasions.
  • Negotiated millions of dollars of real estate tax reductions for commercial and industrial clients.
  • Practical condemnation and real estate tax experience includes convenience stores, major shopping centers, development land, multi-family housing, golf courses and recreation land and corporate headquarters.

Real Estate

  • Successfully defeated a neighbor challenge to a residential project in the City of Minneapolis. In an effort to stop a development project, the neighbors argued that the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA) should stop the project. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order dismissing the MERA claim as barred by collateral estoppel. As a result, the project can proceed. Friends of Tower Hill Park, Appellant, vs. Foxfire Properties, LLC, et al., Respondents, Vermilion Enterprises, LLC, et al., Respondents, MN Court of Appeals, A19-1111.
  • Represented Sentinel Acquisitions Corporation in the acquisition of two downtown Minneapolis office buildings, including the Xcel office building.
  • Represented Sentinel Acquisitions Corporation in the purchase of 2 multi-family residential properties in downtown Minneapolis.
  • Represent clients with real estate disputes such as title disputes, boundary line disputes, zoning and land use needs, municipal enforcement actions and all real estate related matters.
  • Construction disputes including mechanic’s liens, construction defect litigation and construction insurance.
  • Experience successfully resolving ADA claims for property owners.
  • Extensive commercial real estate transactional practice including sales and leasing advice for commercial and industrial properties.
  • Municipal land use approvals for real estate development and redevelopment.
  • Obtained approvals for hotel liquor licenses, pawn shops and retail developments.
  • Represents Court-appointed receivers.
  • Represents a Fortune 1000 company in nationwide leasing.
  • Represented Fortune 500 company in the $15,000,000 acquisition of 10 office showroom properties in multiple states.

Property Tax Appeals and Assessments

  • Represents owners of commercial, industrial and retail properties in cases where the property is unfairly taxed.
  • Secured valuation reductions of more than $30 million for several downtown properties.
  • Represented major downtown property in multi-year real estate tax protest resulting in tax reductions in excess of $1,000,000
  • Represented several retail centers in multi-year tax resolution.
  • Successfully challenged real estate tax assessment for Fortune 500 company.

Credentials

Education

  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D. 1995, cum laude
  • University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication, B.A., 1992

Admissions

  • Minnesota, 1995
  • Iowa, 2016
  • Colorado, 2017
  • Nebraska, 2021
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 1995
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Recognition

  • Best Lawyers’ Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Minneapolis, 2023
  • Primary Member for Minnesota, Owners' Counsel of America
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Lawyer of the Year in Minneapolis Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law, 2015
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law, 2008-present
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation — Real Estate, 2023
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
  • Super Lawyer – Eminent Domain, Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2003-2004, 2006-2010, 2013-present
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers, Top 100, 2018 

Civic & Professional

Professional Activities

  • The Counselors of Real Estate, Member, 2017
  • American Bar Association, Chair, Section of State & Local Government Law, Eminent Domain Committee, 2015-present
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Eminent Domain Section, Past Board Member; Eminent Domain Section, Past Chair 
  • City of Mendota Heights, Planning Commission, Member

News & Insights

Legal Updates

Publications & Presentations

Co-Presenter, “Conservation Easement Donations: Great for the Environment, Thorny for Taxpayers,” 22nd Annual Real Estate Trends Seminar, North Star Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, August 4, 2021

Co-Presenter, “Conservation Easement Donations: Great for the Environment, Thorny for Taxpayers,” Fredrikson & Byron Webinar, March 18, 2021

Co-Presenter, "Navigating Property Taxes in a COVID-19 Market," The State Tax Webinar Series, hosted by Fredrikson & Byron and Minnesota Society of CPAs, April 23, 2020

Co-Presenter, “The Complete Checklist of Items to Consider in Condemnation Cases Before Commissioners and On Appeal to a Jury,” The 2019 Conference on Eminent Domain Practice in Minnesota, April 18, 2019

Co-Presenter, “Energy Facility Siting,” 20th Annual Conference on Litigating Takings Challenges to Land Use and Environmental Regulations, presented by the Vermont Law School, Environmental Law Center, University of Minnesota Law School, October 6, 2017

Co-Presenter, “Working with Witnesses in Eminent Domain,” and  “Permitting and Approvals for Linear Energy Transmission and Pipeline Projects,” American Law Institute CLE - Eminent Domain & Land Valuation Litigation, San Diego, California, January 26, 2017

Presenter, “Real Estate Valuation in Condemnation Appraising in Minnesota,” North Star Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, November 11, 2016

Co-Presenter, “Environmental Clean Up Costs in Condemnation Actions,” 13th Annual Condemnation Appraisal Symposium, Appraisal Institute, Marquette University Law School, May 2016

Lecturer, “Preparing & Presenting A Case To Commissioners,” 23rd Annual 2015 Right of Way Professionals Workshop, Minnesota Department of Transportation, September 23-25, 2015

Lecturer, “Five Things Every Real Estate Attorney Should Know About Condemnation Law and Practice,” The 2014 Real Estate Institute, November 13-14, 2014

Lecturer, “Constitutional Limitations on Zoning Actions,” Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law, National Business Institute, April 8, 2014

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