Jennifer Bales Drake


Chair, Real Estate; Vice Chair, Public Private Partnerships
Professional Experience

Ms. Drake is the chair of the Real Estate Practice Group for the Firm. She has over 20 years of experience in commercial transactions with a focus on planned project development, real estate contract negotiations, mortgage- and asset-based financing, public-private partnership transactions/projects, ground leases, commercial leases, preparation and filing with Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of Interstate Land Sales Act filings, condominium conversions, public-private transactions, real estate workouts and liquidation of real estate owned (REO) properties for financial institutions. Her clients include real estate investors; municipalities and counties in P3 transactions; higher education institutions in P3 transactions; real estate investment trusts; institutional and private owners; private purchasers; developers of condominiums, condominium hotels, townhomes and single family projects; national, regional and statewide financial institutions; and national automotive financial institutions. Ms. Drake is AV-rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Directory, which is the highest professional rating based upon years of experience and endorsement by Florida lawyers in the areas of professional ability, ethics and conduct.

Ms. Drake’s practice emphasizes handling all aspects of planned project development (including the acquisition stage, which may entail negotiation of purchase contract, DRI, zoning issues, and environmental due diligence); the planning stage of the project, the drafting of the project documents, filing of Interstate Land Sales Act filings, as necessary, State registrations as necessary, supervising the closings on the sale of the end units, the representation of the developer-controlled boards and representation of developer through turnover of control of the association. Ms. Drake’s real estate experience also includes purchase and sale of fractured condominiums, termination of condominiums, public-private transactions such as the negotiation of land leases with municipalities for the development of private commercial sites, the representation of major development companies in complex, multi-party transactions with issues related to financing, negotiation of commercial leases, land-use, and zoning before State, County and local governmental entities. Ms. Drake represents national, regional and state financial institutions in the areas of loan workouts and documentation for both real estate and asset based financing, loan modifications and in the restructuring/refinancing of multi-million dollar loan transactions, as well as disposition of REO properties. Ms. Drake’s experience also includes representation of national automotive companies in their mortgage- and asset-based lending.

Activities & Memberships

Ms. Drake is a regular speaker at International Management Network (IMN) conferences and national and regional P3 conferences, the American Bar Association, the Florida Bar, Tennessee Bar and The Real Property, Probate and Trust Sections of both the Florida Bar and the American Bar Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers (“ICSC”). Ms. Drake has also been named to the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers in Legal Ability and Ethical Standards as well as being AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Ms. Drake is past President of Leadership Broward Foundation and currently sits on the Board of Directors, is a member of Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Leadership Council and currently sits on their Board of Directors, is a member of Broward Women’s Alliance, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Kids Crusaders for Abused Children, One Room Schoolhouse and Cancer Research Network.

Ms. Drake was recognized by the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Alliance for outstanding community leadership and featured in the 2018 “Real Estate Opportunities” chapter of its annual Economic Sourcebook and Market Profile.

Representative Transactions

    • Acted as co-lead counsel for the Louisiana State University Property Foundation’s public/private partnership development called the Nicholson Gateway Project, the largest development project in the history of LSU, featuring a multi-phased bundled package of facilities with a total estimated development budget of $400 million. 
    • Represented Premier Water Parks, Inc. in a P3 transaction with the City of Ft Lauderdale in the redevelopment of the Lockhart Stadium and surrounding property to include, but not be limited to, a refurbished stadium and water park.
    • Represented Carrie Meek Foundation in formation of a joint venture with Foundry to develop property subject to a ground lease from Miami-Dade County located at the Opa-Locka Airport, on which an Amazon Distribution Center is being constructed.
    • Represented Bethune-Cookman in P3 type transaction involving the sale/leaseback of land for the construction of a new student housing project on campus.
    • Represented the bond holder in the modification of lease and financing documentation on a UCF living facility
    • Represented the City of South Miami in P3 matters.
    • Represented KB Holdings Inc., in the negotiation of a ground lease with the City of Hollywood for beach front property to be developed as a hotel.
    • Represented high end fashion designer in lease negotiations in Miami Design District.
    • Represented developer in Miami-Dade County, Rogers International, Inc., in drafting of condominium documents for two mixed-used developments in Coral Gables, Florida.
    • Represented private developer in the development of a large mixed-use project in central Florida consisting of retail space, hotel space, condominiums, rental apartments and parking facilities developed in multiple phases.
    • Represented TD Bank in construction loans, real estate based loans, asset based loans, loan modifications, and loan workouts to various borrowers.
    • Represented purchaser of a beachfront home for $17 million.
    • Represented purchaser/borrower in $6.3 million purchase of hotel property in Broward County, obtaining franchise agreement and loan transaction.
    • Represented purchaser/developer in purchase of hotel condominium in Orange County, Florida.
    • Drafted Condominium Documents and Interstate Land Sales Act (ILSA) filing for Turnberry Ocean Club.
    • Represented developer as hotel unit owner at Fontainebleau.
    • Represented regional banks Florida Community Bank and Banco Do Brazil in real estate and asset-based loan transactions.
    • Represented Willton Properties LLC in the negotiation of a joint venture agreement with Cambridge for the development of a rental housing apartment complex in Tampa, FL.
    • Represented developer in bulk purchase, loan modification and termination of large condominium development.
    • Represented owner in purchase of Universal Music building in Miami Beach.
    • Represented developer in development of mixed-use project and condominium development in Collegetown in Tallahassee, Florida.
    • Represented Epic West Condo LLC in the sales and closings for units at the Epic in Miami, Florida.
    • Represented Lynx Zuckerman Holding Company, LLC in acquisitions of properties, sales of properties, drafting bulk contracts, homeowner documents and other general developer-related representation.
    • Represented developer in termination of a 186-unit condominium on the West Coast of Florida.
    • Purchased ground lease sites for client Simoes Properties, with CVS, McDonalds and Wawa.