Maura O’Connor

moconnor-headshot-smMaura (moconnor@oconnorcochran.com) built and chaired the California real estate departments for two major national law firms before launching O’Connor Cochran LLP.  She was the first woman chair of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors and continues to serve on its Executive Committee. Maura was named one of the top 10 real estate lawyers in Southern California by Real Estate Southern California.

Maura’s specialties include all kinds of commercial real estate financings, commercial leasing, large-scale distressed real estate asset management, workout and disposition programs, and direct foreign investment in West Coast businesses. She has extensive experience in real estate financing, loan enforcement, acquisitions, development and leasing, most often representing special servicers, lenders and retail chains. She has designed and implemented large-scale systematized and scalable programs to deliver cost-effective legal services in real estate matters, frequently on a fixed fee basis. She created and implemented several of the largest site acquisitions programs for retailers on the West Coast, including a recent multinational retailer that resulted in the successful acquisition of more than 150 sites totaling in value over $1.2 Billion over 18 months. Most recently Ms. O’Connor has developed and implemented predictable-pricing legal service systems for enforcing portfolios commercial real estate loans.

Ms. O’Connor has extensive experience in complex real estate financing transactions, workouts and foreclosures, dating back to the late 1980s. She has also handled many purchases and sales of environmentally contaminated properties. She has served as lead counsel for myriad senior and mezzanine loans, lease financings, securitized transactions, ground leases and equity investments for a wide variety of investors, banks, insurance companies and others. Ms. O’Connor also successfully handled the acquisition, entitlement, and development of major industrial, manufacturing, infrastructure, warehouse and distribution facilities, including an industrial land transfer and boundary change between the two principal shipping port authorities in Los Angeles County.

Ms. O’Connor has significant experience in handling foreign direct investment transactions by new entrants into the US and California markets and serving as outside general counsel for such companies. Her clients have included lenders, retailers, servicers, insurance companies, banks, manufacturers, pharmacies, grocery chains, borrowers, hotel chains, shopping center owners, pharmaceutical companies, medical office complexes and ports.

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Representative Transactions

Acquisition, Development, Construction and Leasing Transactions

  • Assisted industry leader in motor coach business in acquisition and permitting of its West Coast Headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, including negotiation of a negative declaration under CEQA and certain other exemptions.
  • Handled leases and negotiated ultimate sale of industrial building in Woodland Hills, California for local developer.
  • Supervising counsel: created and implemented systematized retail rollout strategy for acquisitions of shop sites for major international retailer’s expansion into West Coast, successfully closing more than 150 transactions in 18 months, involving properties worth approximately $1.2 Billion.
  • Obtained approval in 6 months for the development of a food processing and distribution center at the Meridian Business Park located in the former March Air Force Base pursuant to a mitigated negative declaration.
  • Supervising counsel in several industrial land acquisitions and developments for distribution centers and regional manufacturing and food processing facilities, including major national candy company, international copier company and major international food companies.
  • Supervising counsel managing acquisitions and redevelopment of urban infill properties, many with significant environmental contamination, for major national retailer’s expansion into California.
  • Successfully opposed proposed overscale 24-hour private hospital in Beverly Hills, California, coordinating legal and public relations strategy of opponents and neighborhood group, to defeat project even though it had passed its first vote.
  • Lead real estate counsel for a Southern California port authority’s $400 million purchase of environmentally contaminated industrial property for expansion of port terminals.
  • Structured, negotiated, and documented many purchases and sales of real properties, including, for example, Anaheim shopping center property, Indio fast food restaurant, Northern California apartment complex, Beverly Hills office building and Orange County residential tract.
  • Served as outside general counsel for all retail and office leasing and property management issues for various investor-owned properties including premier shopping centers and medical office buildings.
  • Obtained favorable settlement concerning limitations on parking for owner of local medical office building complex in land use dispute with prominent neighboring research hospital.

Recent Financing and Workout Transactions

  • Successfully completed many different foreclosures, workouts and other loan and guaranty enforcement actions for various lender banks, special servicers and investment funds, many pursuant to systematized and efficient business processes.
  • Structured winning argument for guarantor’s challenge to post-trustee’s sale enforcement of multimillion dollar guaranty in violation of anti-deficiency rule.
  • Negotiated, documented and closed all major construction loans originated by major national bank’s California homebuilders unit over 3 years; loans were structured to be acceptable in CMBS pools.
  • Represented master and special servicer in many CMBS loan assumptions, modifications and enforcement of California commercial real estate loans.
  • Supervised regional counsel team that negotiated and closed all permanent loans made in California by major national life insurance company (some portfolio loans, some securitized), ranging in size from $4.5 million to $30 million
  • Obtained favorable settlement in judicial foreclosure of defaulted multimillion dollar HUD loan.
  • Created California versions of loan documents for West Coast life insurance company and handled all of its complex predevelopment and development loans, secured by properties including raw land, leaseholds, Indian land, residential developments and hotels
  • Negotiated, documented and handled purchase and financing of $46 million apartment property in Nevada owned by publicly traded REIT for California real estate investment company
  • Negotiated, documented and closed $42 million loan by Japanese lender to developer secured by land being developed into residential real estate development in North San Diego County; later handled workout for loan
  • Structured California mezzanine loan documents for international hotel chain’s financing for its franchisees’ hotel purchases
  • Negotiated, handled diligence for and closed $38-million conduit loan for Japanese borrower from Wall Street investment bank secured by Lake Tahoe hotel property
  • Structured and negotiated a complex $100 million workout financing by regional investment bank and insurance company for development of museum and shopping complex on brownfields near downtown Los Angeles, on behalf of borrower developer and related special purpose entities
  • Negotiated, documented and closed the purchase, development and sale-leaseback financing for a multinational corporation’s major West Coast facility
  • Negotiated and closed multiple transactions and workouts involving letters of credit, among other things, that secured tenant leases and bond financing
  • Local counsel for purchase and synthetic lease financing of major American food manufacturing corporation’s purchase of high-tech warehouse and distribution center for its West Coast operations

Publications and Presentations

Recent Speeches

  • Speaker, “Structuring and Enforcing Commercial Real Estate Loans in California: Maximizing Strategies for Maximizing Lender Leverage,” client presentations, October 2016.
  • Speaker, “Making Money Through Leasing,” client presentations, October 2014.
  • Speaker, “How to Maximize your Loan Recovery (Without Being Trapped by the One-Action and Other California Rules), client presentations, March 2012.
  • Panelist, “Selling Distressed Commercial Real Estate Through Receiverships”, ALI-ABA Webinar, December 2010
  • Panelist, “Current Trends in Distressed Real Estate Workouts, Foreclosures and Note Sales”, AREAA/NAHREP Real Estate and Marketing Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 2010
  • Panelist, “Distressed Real Estate Note Enforcement and Sales”, Mission National Bank Annual Investors Meeting, August 2010
  • Panelist, “The Lender Liquidation Process”, Orange County’s ULI Capital Markets Forum, July 2010
  • Moderator, “The Upside of the Downturn: Overcoming Challenges and Seizing Opportunities within the Mess of the Distressed Loan Market”, Real Estate and Construction Division of the Jewish Federation, June 2010
  • Speaker, “Legal Aspects of Doing Business in Los Angeles County”, private gathering sponsored by regional government of Catalonia, Spain for trade group delegation
  • Panelist, “The Coming Commercial Real Estate Tsunami, and How to Survive It”, CCIM/ULI joint meeting, San Francisco, May 2010
  • Speaker, “Distressed REO and Distressed Note Purchases: What’s Happening Now”, CCIM – Greater Southern California Chapter, Orange County, April 2010
  • Speaker, “How to Do Business in LA County”, Netherlands America Business Club, April 2010
  • Co-Moderator, “Loan Workouts and Restructuring” roundtable, LA ULI’s Urban Marketplace Forum, March 2010
  • Speaker, “Judicial Response to SPE Structures” and “When Will Commercial Real Estate Come Back, and What Will It Look Like?”, PLI Commercial Real Estate Financing 2010, San Francisco March, 2010
  • Speaker, “Distressed Loan Enforcement in California: The One-Action Rule and Beyond”, private event, Business Partners LLC, March 2010
  • Moderator, “A Practical, Legal and Tax Perspective on Buying and Selling Distressed Real Estate and Debt in California”, Green Pearl Distressed Real Estate Summit: California, Los Angeles, February 2010
  • Panelist, “Real Estate Issues in Los Angeles County That Affect International Business”, invitation only event for the Los Angeles County Consular Corps, January 2010
  • Panelist, “Lender Landmines”, Trigild Lender Conference, San Diego, November 2009
  • Speaker, “Commercial Real Estate Loan Workouts and Foreclosures”, client presentations, 2009 and 2010
  • Speaker, “Pre-default Commercial Real Estate Loan Modifications”, client presentation, 2009
  • Various presentations for the LAEDC and its subsidiary, the World Trade Center Association (Los Angeles – Long Beach), as their Chairman and Vice-Chairman, including at their World Trade Outlook conference, Midyear Economic Outlook breakfast, and other meetings

Publications

  • Co-Author, “Securitized Mortgage Loans,” in CEB California Real Estate Finance Practice, Chapter 10 (2006, updated annually through 2017)
  • Co-author, “Enforcing Defaulted CMBS Loans through Receivership Sales: Risks and Rewards of the Modification, Sale and Assumption Transaction under California’s ‘One Action’ Rule,” CRE Finance World (January 2011)
  • Author, “Overview of Commercial Loan Workouts” in The Commercial Real Estate Tsunami: A Survival Guide for Lenders, Owners, Buyers, and Brokers by Tony Wood (Wiley Finance; May 2010)
  • Co-author, “Take It to the Bank”, 32 Los Angeles Lawyer at 31 (October 2009)
  • Co-author, “Turning Paper into Cash: Frequently asked Questions about Making and Enforcing California Real Estate Loans”, a publication of Seyfarth Shaw LLP (2009)
  • Editor and contributing author, “How to Do Business in LA County”, a joint publication of the LAEDC, the Los Angeles-Long Beach World Trade Center Association and Seyfarth Shaw LLP (2009)
  • “Streamline Your Lease Process,” Real Estate Southern California (May 2008)
  • “Making Permanent Financing Work,” Real Estate Southern California (January 2004)
  • Co-Author, “Caveat Lender,” cover story for 18th Annual Real Estate Law issue, 25 Los Angeles Lawyer at 26 (January 2003); reprinted with permission in Vol. 16, No. 4, Minnesota Real Estate Law Journal at 56 (July/August 2003)
  • Author, “Due Diligence in Real Estate Transactions,” 18 Real Estate Finance Journal at 44 (West Group, 2002)
  • Co-author, “Securitizable vs. Traditional Mortgage Loans,” 17 The Review of Banking and Financial Services at 269A, Standard & Poor’s (December 2001)
  • Author, “Ten Commandments for Lenders Reviewing Leases,” in The Commercial Property Lease, Vol. III, Ch. 5 , Prof. P. Randolph, ed. (ABA, 2000)

Boards and Affiliations

  • L.A. Economic Development Corporation (Chairman, 2010-2011;  Vice Chairman, 2009-2010;  Executive and Governance Committees, 2009-present;  Director, 1999-present;  former Chair, Strategic Land Use Committee)
  • City of Hope Los Angeles Real Estate/Construction Council (former Director)
    American Counsel Association (former Director)
  • L.A. Mortgage Association (Affiliate Member)
  • CRE Finance Council
  • Southern California Association of Governments Global Land Use Council (2009 – present)
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • City Garage Theatre, Santa Monica (former Director)
  • University of Minnesota Law School (former member of Board of Visitors)
  • Southern California Development Forum (former Director)
  • American Bar Association