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Thomas D. Kearns

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  • Tom has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Real Estate Law, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  • Tom has been consistently named to the New York Super Lawyers list, a Thomson Reuters lawyer rating service, since 2006.
  • Tom was elected a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), Class of 2015.


J.D., Fordham University School of Law, 1984

M.B.A., Fordham University, 1979

B.A., Fordham University, 1976

Bar & Court Admissions

  • New York
  • New Jersey

Thomas D. Kearns has significant experience in both real estate and corporate law.

Tom represents owners, operators and developers in the acquisition, development, leasing and financing of office, residential and retail properties. He has extensive experience with joint venture, LLC, tenant-in-common and other agreements between co-venturers, and has negotiated and drafted sophisticated commercial condominium documents and ground leases. Tom has been one of the most active practitioners in the purchase, turnaround and sale of Manhattan office buildings.

Tom is highly knowledgeable regarding the impact of federal and state securities laws on real estate and has lectured and written on the regulatory changes in process due to the recently passed federal JOBS Act including the relaxation of the general solicitation limits under Reg D and the pending crowdfunding rules. 

He also regularly represents professional athletes and sports executives and other high-net-worth individuals in their residential transactions in New York.

Professional & Community Affiliations

American Bar Association

New York State Bar Association

Various leadership roles with the Real Property Section of the American Bar Association, most recently as Book Editor

  • Represented the owner of a downtown Manhattan office building in its conversion to residential condominiums including the termination of all office leases, a tax freeze for the property, the condominium offering plan and unit sales.
  • Represented a ground lessor of a proposed Brooklyn office tower in a revision of the ground lease to permit a condominium regime.
  • Represented a joint venture between Kaufman Organization and Principal Life that executed 99-year ground leases on four New York City office buildings from Extell Development in a deal valued at approximately $135 million. The properties are located at 119-125 West 24th Street;  13-15 West 27th Street; 19-21 West 24th Street; and 45-47 West 27th Street. The buildings were part of the portfolio owned until recently by Michael and Frank Ring. The Wall Street JournalNew York Law Journal, and The Real Deal reported on the deal.
  • Represented Metropolitan College of New York, a college founded in 1964 by educational pioneer Audrey Cohen, in the purchase of a commercial condominium to house its growing college programs within a $40 million development known as the Triangle Plaza Hub in the South Bronx . The construction and purchase of the condominium is being financed using New Markets Tax Credits. The Real Deal reported on the purchase.
  • Represented a joint venture of the Kaufman Organization and affiliates of Lubert Adler Management, in the purchase of an 11-story, 115,000-square-foot office building at 27 West 24th Street, located between Broadway and Avenue of the Americas, in an all-cash transaction valued at $55,500,000. The closing occurred within 30 days of the contract signing and included a first mortgage with Signature Bank.  See Crain’s New York Business,, Real Estate Weekly and New York Law Journal for press reports.
  • Represented Madison Equities in the complex workout and $82 million sale to RLJ Lodging Acquisitions LLC  through a bankruptcy proceeding of its New York hotel, known as the Upper East Side Courtyard by Marriott hotel. See The Deal Pipeline and New York Real Estate Journal for press reports.
  • Represented a joint venture between Invesco and the Kaufman Organization in the 2010 acquisition of the 277,000 sq ft. office condominium unit of 100-104 Fifth Avenue, New York from the bankruptcy estate of Rock US Holdings for $93.5 million including the acquisition loan and a construction loan for improvements; the resolution of various operating issues after acquisition; and the 2013 sale of the property to Clarion for $230 million.  See The Wall Street Journal, The New York Law Journal, Bloomberg and for press reports.
  • Lead counsel for a joint venture of Boston Properties and Madison Equities for the office building assemblage on Manhattan's 8th Avenue consisting of nine lots, two air rights parcels and three different sellers for more than $200 million. Read the New York Law Journal story.
  • Represented Kaufman Astoria Studios in its financings with New York City Economic Development Corp. and New York State and in the construction of additional office and stage leasing facilities, including a new back lot on 36th Street.
  • Lead drafting attorney on a complex tenants-in-common agreement for a major Midtown West office building after the publication of IRS Rev Proc 2002-22.
  • Organized the condominium structure for the TriBeca Film Center.
  • Lead drafting attorney representing for landlord of the Surrey Hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side on modification to update the ground lease to comply with modern financing techniques.
  • Handled private placement of LLC interests to shareholders of a Manhattan cooperative to acquire valuable retail space in the cooperative.
  • Handled purchase of several retail condominium and cooperative interests in Manhattan apartment buildings including Madison Avenue and 75th Street and the New Museum condominium in SOHO and the related lease-out or sale of the properties.
  • Handled sale of rental apartment building on Central Park South for more than $100 million.
  • Represented the Korein family in the sale of the Delmonico Hotel (502 Park Avenue in Manhattan) to the Trump Organization for $115 million.
  • Represented the developer of the W Hotel in Times Square.
  • Acquisition of development parcels and construction loans for the Empire Condominium, Vesta 17 (201 West 17th Street) and Vesta 24 (231 Tenth Avenue) condominiums.
  • Represented the New York City Partnership Foundation Inc., an affiliate of the Partnership for New York City, pro bono on a bridge loan for the development of a Senior Center on Staten Island by The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a non-profit social services organization, which is calling the center the first affordable housing complex of its kind in the city. See Crain's for press report.

Media Mentions/News


  • Speaker, Commercial Real Estate After the Great Recession, Fordham's Business Law Practitioners Series, Spring 2012
  • Presenter, Real Estate for Corporate Counsel, New York State Bar Association's Corporate Counsel Institute, October 11-12, 2007

  • Lecturer, Pre-Contract Due Diligence on Commercial Real Estate Transactions, American Land Institute for Continuing Education, 2007
  • Lecturer, Real Estate Investment Trusts, Stephen Newman Real Estate Institute of Baruch College, 2000
  • Lecturer, Continuing Legal Education courses in Limited Liability Companies and Residential Real Estate, Fordham Law School, 1995-1999


Press Releases

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