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Focused on providing practical, value-driven advice to clients, Melissa Vandewater has substantial experience advising developers, investors, owners, tenants, and lenders in a wide variety of complex commercial real estate transactions. Clients turn to Melissa to navigate complex legal documents with a business-oriented approach, and Melissa prides herself on focusing on what matters to clients, keeping the deal on track, and pursuing the clients’ objectives.

Melissa negotiates and closes the acquisition, disposition, and financing of office buildings, warehouse and industrial buildings, multifamily projects, regional shopping centers, and mixed-use buildings throughout the United States. Melissa also advises partners in real estate joint venture agreements. 

Additionally, Melissa represents landlords and tenants in connection with industrial, office, and retail leases. She is a frequent speaker on lease-related topics and has held leadership positions on various committees of the American Bar Association’s Real Property Leasing Group.

In the area of real estate finance, Melissa serves as counsel to national and local banks in acquisition, construction, syndicated, bridge, permanent, and participated commercial loan transactions. She is also experienced in guiding financial institutions through loan modifications, workouts, and REO dispositions.


  • Acquisitions
  • Dispositions
  • Financing
  • Leasing
  • Development



  • On behalf of a large investment bank, negotiated and closed the $92,000,000 acquisition and financing of a California life sciences property occupied by a leader in that sector, including identifying and resolving issues under an existing master declaration.°
  • Represented NY-based investment bank in its $63,000,000 acquisition of ground leasehold interests in a two-building office complex in Silicon Valley.°
  • Represented pension fund as borrower in $95,500,000 loan secured by multifamily and retail property in Washington, D.C.°
  • Represented the seller of a mixed-use development in Austin, Texas, in a complicated transaction for over $200 million, which included the sale of existing office buildings, vacant land, interests in parking garages, and partnership interests in developed and undeveloped parcels for office and residential uses.°
  • Represented the purchaser of a 35-story office tower and adjacent building in Chicago as part of a property exchange, which included the acquisition of air rights and off-site parking rights.°
  • Represented investment company in its acquisition of 100% of the outstanding shares of a REIT whose subsidiary owned an office building in Austin, Texas.°
  • Served as lead counsel to purchaser in its $107,000,000 acquisition and financing of an industrial portfolio in Austin, Texas, which was one of the top-25 largest industrial transactions that year.°
  • Represented sponsor and joint venture purchaser in the $35,000,000 acquisition of a mixed-use commercial project located in Lake Forest, Illinois, including assumption of the existing CMBS loan.°
  • Represented the all-cash purchaser of a five-story, 38,000-square-foot mixed-use building located in Manhattan and known as the “King of Greene Street.”°
  • Represented Chicago-based wellness company in connection with its industrial and office leases, including for its headquarters in a historic landmark building in Chicago’s Fulton Market and its approximate 120,000 square foot industrial lease and subsequent expansion in Franklin Park, Illinois.°
  • Represented e-retailer tenant in multimillion-dollar build-to-suit industrial lease transactions and leases of existing industrial buildings.°
  • Served as lead counsel to the developer of a high-end suburban mixed-use project located in the metropolitan Phoenix area; responsible for the documentation and negotiation of major office leases with prestigious corporate users within the 220,000-square-foot Class A office tower.°
  • Represented national bank in various construction loans, including a condominium construction loan in Chicago, a $40,000,000 syndicated loan to demolish existing improvements and construct a speculative industrial building in Los Angeles, and an approximate $22,000,000 construction loan to pension fund-owned borrower for construction of a speculative industrial building outside Baltimore.°
  • Represented national bank in multiple acquisition, redevelopment, and construction loans secured by life sciences and industrial properties throughout the United States.°
  • Served as legal counsel for a large banking institution in over $250 million of syndicated loans to a real estate investment trust for the construction of shopping centers.°
  • On behalf of developer, drafted and negotiated joint venture agreement and development management agreement and negotiated loan documents for the construction of two industrial buildings comprising approximately 475,000 square feet as part of a phased development in Salt Lake City.°
  • Counseled real estate investment company in its construction financing and development agreements for new senior housing facilities in Park Ridge, Illinois, and Pittsburgh.°

°The above representations were handled by Ms. Vandewater prior to her joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Member, Programs Committee, CREW Chicago
  • Chair, Industrial Leasing Committee, American Bar Association’s Real Property Leasing Group, 2020-2021
  • Vice-Chair, Industrial Leasing Committee, ABA RPTE’s Leasing Group, 2018-2020
  • Chair, Ground Leasing Committee, ABA RPTE’s Leasing Group, 2016-2018
  • Vice-Chair, Assignment and Subletting Committee, ABA RPTE’s Leasing Group, 2015-2016


  • J.D., University of Notre Dame Law School
    • Member, Journal of Legislation
  • B.A. (Hons), Duke University
  • Illinois