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In recent years, limited state and federal resources and increases in construction costs have heightened the need for innovative approaches to take community development projects from the drawing board to completion.

Calfee has become a leader in counseling clients on the development of projects requiring the cooperative use of public and private resources. The firm’s experience in real estate, partnership law and taxation, and commercial and municipal finance, combined with broad experience in governmental matters, has enabled us to assist clients in developing programs that are models of public and private sector collaboration.

In addition to providing the traditional real estate and financing representation that these projects require, Calfee attorneys bring a unique understanding of the public sector derived from years of professional experience in public law, public finance, and government relations. This background provides the firm with significant strength in advising clients on programs requiring government involvement.

Calfee represented the State of Ohio in the State’s first public-private partnership financing of a new public highway. Our attorneys have counseled nonprofit organizations and public universities regarding student housing and parking alternatives to address funding concerns. In addition, we have represented governments and developers in partnering on complex mixed-use projects.


Chambers USA Leading Law Firm Rankings

Since 2004, Calfee has been recognized as a Leading Law Firm for Banking & Finance by Chambers USA, most recently in Band 2 in Ohio (2024).

Clients provided feedback to Chambers USA, "The Calfee team is extremely well-versed in complicated financings and has an extensive view across the market. Calfee has a strong bench of banking and finance attorneys; they are extremely responsive and meet tight deadlines. The team uses extensive resources across the firm to help in many complex areas. They really do offer a one-stop shop – they could handle the finance work as well as the day-to-day commercial issues. Their expertise is wide and far-reaching; they give us everything we need and more. The firm has surprised me in an extremely positive way, and it competes on a global scale in finance matters."

Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Calfee has been named to Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" 2024 for Public Finance Law (National Tier 3 and Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland).




  • Calfee served as counsel to the Ohio Department of Transportation with respect to ODOT’s first P3 project, the Portsmouth Bypass (now known as Veterans Memorial Highway). Our engagement included preparing Requests for Qualifications and Requests for Proposals including a detailed Public Private Partnership Agreement, as well as assisting in structuring private activity bond financing for the project.
  • Represented a developer in a public-private partnership financing of a $144 million mass timber mixed-use development, including the issuance of port authority bonds, a private loan from a financial institution, an Ohio Department of Development Chapter 166 loan, a municipal loan, and tax increment financing. At the time of the completion of construction, this project was the largest mass timber building in the United States.
  • Calfee served as counsel to a state university in a long-term lease concession agreement for a state university parking facilities with an Ohio nonprofit corporation created by the local port authority. The university received an upfront payment from the proceeds of bonds issued by the port authority. Unlike most parking concessionaire transactions, excess revenues generated from the parking facilities are given back to the university, as opposed to being kept by the private entity.
  • Represented a state university in connection with an approximately $1 billion, 50-year energy concession, under which the concessionaire is responsible for the entire operation and optimization of the university’s utility system and development of future capital improvement projects to improve the university’s energy efficiency. Calfee advised the university on operational and construction matters, amendments to the concession agreement, regulatory approvals, and third-party litigation relating to significant construction projects. 
  • Served as underwriter’s counsel in connection with a public-private partnership in the development of an approximately $300 million new major league soccer stadium and sports park.
  • Served as bond counsel to a port authority in connection with the financing of a new major league soccer stadium involving various sources of funding.
  • Served as bond counsel on a public/private transaction to provide alternative financing for multiple parking facilities.
  • Assisted a Fortune 500 corporation in obtaining commitments for supplemental government loan guarantees to further secure federally guaranteed loans.
  • Served as counsel to three Cleveland public/private investment funds involved in providing more than $100 million of debt and equity funding for area housing, retail, commercial, and public improvement projects.
  • Represented a utility company in a tax-deferred exchange involving two nuclear and five fossil-fueled electrical power plans and related assets.
  • Represented a public hospital in a synthetic lease transaction for a new parking garage.
  • Acted as Ohio local counsel for one of Ohio’s full-service casinos, assisting with land assemblage, tenant relocations, demolition and construction, historic landmarks, landowner lawsuits, receivership purchases, and venture financing in excess of $800 million.
  • Assisted the developer during the acquisition and restoration of the Old Arcade in Cleveland’s Central Business District, including the negotiation of multi-tiered public and private financing arrangements and real estate tax abatement.



Real Estate

Calfee’s practice group represents a wide range of clients including developers, investors and syndicators, institutional lenders, individuals, and corporate clients in connection with matters related to the acquisition, disposition, construction, development, leasing, and financing of real property assets. In addition to conventional purchase, sale, loan, and lease transactions, this practice encompasses the formation of investment syndications, joint ventures, and economic development incentives, the structuring of synthetic leases and tax-deferred exchanges, and the representation of clients in complex multi-site and multi-state transactions, including:

  • Master development programs
  • Joint ventures and syndications
  • Site acquisition and control
  • Building and zoning compliance
  • Environmental due diligence and compliance.

Government Relations

Calfee’s Government Relations and Legislation practice is respected for its political savvy and effectiveness, legal expertise, honesty, and relationships with all levels of local, state, and federal government and on both sides of the political aisle. Since 1988, our full-service lobbying group has appeared before the Ohio General Assembly, statewide elected officials, executive agencies, commissions, and departments of the state and federal government. We advocate for our clients in a strong, clear voice that makes an impact. Further, we assist clients with the following:

  • Analysis of public policy perspectives
  • Legislative strategy, development, and implementation
  • Creation of coalitions
  • Development of “grassroots” support programs.

Commercial Finance

We represent clients in all aspects of transactions, financings, and debt structures. The firm's commercial finance attorneys counsel financial institutions and borrowers in analyzing, structuring, documenting, and negotiating all aspects of finance in private, public, syndicated, international, and governmental settings. Our diversified backgrounds enable Calfee attorneys to understand all aspects of securing financing for a project.

Public Finance

Calfee is regarded as one of the foremost bond counsel firms in the State of Ohio. With more than 30 years of experience in this field, we regularly represent Ohio municipalities, counties, townships, the State of Ohio, special districts, and other political subdivisions as bond counsel, issuer's counsel, and special counsel, and we serve as underwriters' counsel to various local and national investment bankers. We assist clients with the following:

  • Public/private investment funds
  • New community authorities
  • Historic rehabilitation credit projects
  • Conduit financing
  • Tax increment financing
  • Tax abatement
  • Special assessments
  • Governmental loans and grants.

We were among the first firms to serve as bond counsel in connection with the issuance by a port authority of bonds payable from municipal tax increment financing revenues and "backed up" by voluntarily imposed special assessments paid to the municipality. This novel structure permitted the financing of a public parking facility adjacent to an inner-ring suburb's retail center.

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"They really do offer a one-stop shop – they handle the finance work as well as the day-to-day commercial issues. Their expertise is wide and far-reaching; they give us everything we need and more. The firm has surprised me in an extremely positive way, and it competes on a global scale in finance matters."

Client quote, Chambers USA

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