Valley Building Boom Keeps Land Use Lawyers Busy

The Recorder
Nathalie Pierrepont
Silicon Valley tech companies - always more focused on the virtual realm than the physical one - used to settle for remodeling hand-me-down offices or constructing relatively modest headquarters.
Now, Facebook, Apple and Google have enlisted some of the world’s most renowned architects to design campuses that match their status as corporate giants and cultural innovators.

“A lot of land use lawyers are much more than lawyers,” said McKenna Long & Aldridge partner Timothy Tosta, who is advising Facebook on its new headquarters. “Basically, you have to be sophisticated in dealings with human relationships when you’re proposing a change that may be perceived as threatening. You have to be politically astute.”

Tosta and partner Jennifer Renk helped Facebook obtain the land use entitlements and CEQA clearance for its expansion plan in Menlo Park. Apple engaged a team of lawyers from Morrison & Foerster led by partner David Gold to serve as land use, CEQA and natural resource permitting counsel for its new campus in Cupertino. Google is said to have tapped Sonia Ransom, a land use partner in Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis’ San Francisco office. Ransom said she could not comment on her relationship with Google.

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