Bruce May is Chair of the firm's Real Estate Department. He has devoted his entire career to all aspects of the law and practice of real estate and commercial transactions throughout Arizona.
Mr. May is named as preeminent in his field in both The Best Lawyers in America® and Southwest Super Lawyers, each since its inception. In 1991 he was elected to membership in The American College of Real Estate Lawyers in honor of his statewide and national accomplishments. Mr. May is also a member of the Georgetown Advanced Commercial Leasing Institute in recognition of his expertise in commercial leasing and keeps current with his corporate clients as a member of the International Association of Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate.
Looking to Mr. May's expertise and experience, he has been interviewed, and his opinions sought, by prominent nationally distributed newpapers, and has been quoted by a prominent syndicated radio host regarding current events of national significance.
Mr. May has counseled sophisticated international to local owners, developers, lenders and investors in all phases of:
- Large scale mixed-use projects
- Condominium development and condominium owner associations
- Master-planned residential communities
- National, regional and neighborhood shopping centers and stand-alone retail uses
- Office buildings
- Industrial properties
- Single family homebuilding businesses
- Public/private partnerships and public incentives
Mr. May has, in the course of such representation, developed specific expertise in, among others:
- Complex leasing for retail, office, industrial and other uses
- Title insurance, coverages, endorsements and claims
- Broker licensing and regulated activities
- State and local tax issues arising from real estate transactions
- State constitutional “gift clause” prohibitions
- Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET)
- Federal, State and local subdivision laws
- Effect of historical archeological burial sites and the presence of wetlands, U.S. Waters and protected species, habitat and native plants.
- Lease enforcement and commercial lock-outs
- Enforcement of security instruments through receiverships and trustee sales
- Native American tribal law, practice and procedure
- Community Facilities Districts (CFD)
- Construction law, contractor licensing and mechanic’s liens
- Condominium and Master-Planned Community Acts
Public/Private Development of Multi-Use Projects
He is counsel on all real estate related issues arising from a $320M public/private venture located in Tempe, Arizona that includes development of a hotel, convention center, residential and retail uses and headquarters and athletic facilities for state and nationwide sports authorities, on multiple phased ground leases with a national university. The project requires complex incentives and entitlements from the City and university.
He served as counsel for a non-profit foundation in the acquisition of a site for a $300M research park located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The site was formerly a regional shopping center and presented unique issues involving substantial presence of environmental contaminants, title restrictions and hostile neighboring owners. Simultaneously, he was negotiating with the City the terms of a long-term, profit-sharing ground lease.
He is counsel for the owner of property located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona to be developed into an 800,000-1,000,000 square foot office/retail project fueled by incentives under an unsubordinated GPLET Lease and Development, Disposition and Redevelopment Agreement with the City.
Each of the transactions required designing a structure to avoid Arizona's constitutional “gift clause” prohibitions and evaluating the risks of any challenge.
Shopping Center - Retail
He is counsel for a national owner, developer and operator of a regional, department store anchored, shopping center of 500,000 square feet located in Tucson, Arizona and prepares and reviews the leases and engages in extensive negotiations with regional and national retailers.
He served as local counsel for a national REIT entering the Phoenix and Tucson markets as owner and operator of shopping centers and a regional developer entering the market to acquire and develop sites for national stand-alone retailers.
He serves as counsel for the owner of a 1500 acre master-planned multi-use community in Show Low, Arizona. He documented a complex loan arrangement with the original developer and conducted a foreclosure of the entire project. He has organized and implemented a transition of ownership and control of the project to the client and advises the client on a wide variety of development issues, renegotiating, in particular, a project-wide Development Agreement with the City and funding agreement with a Community Facilities District.
He serves as counsel for a partner in a dispute over ownership, control, and development of an 850 acre golf-theme, high-end residential master-planned community in Peoria, Arizona. At issue are unique issues involving condition of title, access over BLM Lands, protected species and habitats, and application of the Arizona Subdivision Act.
He has served as counsel for many of the region’s largest developers of large-scale master-planned communities that incorporated residential, retail, office uses, championship golf courses, lakes and other amenities. He was daily negotiating with homebuilders, golf course designers and assessing and resolving complex regulatory issues raised by wetlands, U.S. Waterways, protected habitats, species and native plants and significant archeological sites and resulting local, state and Corp of Engineers permitting requirements.
He was selected as Arizona counsel for the U.S. Department of Energy for the Department’s funding of over $1B for the development of two of the largest solar power generating projects in the world. The representation required mastering a complex funding arrangement, advising an international law firm and dealing with many of the largest law firms in the country, preparing all necessary security documents for Arizona, determining and evaluating necessary local and state permits, resolving unique title issues and securing complex title insurance for real and personal property with specifically crafted endorsements, co-insurance, UCC-9 aggregate insurance and mechanic’s lien coverage for “broken” priority.
Industry Development/Data Centers
He is serving as local counsel for a national wholesale data center developer and operator. His representation includes extensive and unique due diligence, evaluation and resolution of often adverse title and zoning issues, resolution of incompatible neighboring uses and evaluation of various federal, state and city tax inducements and other incentive programs.
He served as local counsel for a national brokerage and investment firm in negotiations with a national bank for the sale/joint use leaseback of a $75M data center, raising complex and technical issues involving reconfiguration of the facilities and preservation of proprietary and confidential matters.
He represents one of the world’s largest salt production companies in connection with the operation of a facility in the Phoenix metropolitan area and other projects and assists with natural gas subleases of salt domes, complex water, geotechnical and environmental permitting issues and resolving disputes with adjoining owners.
Condominium and Apartment Projects
He represents the owners of several large scale condominium projects, and assists with the operation of the condominium associations they control.
He represents several owners of large scale apartment projects and coordinated the conversion of a complex into a condominium. His representation includes preparation and review of all condominium, marketing and sales documentation, condominium plats, insuring compliance with local, state, FHA, HUD, FNMA and FHLMC requirements, and assistance in the process of securing all necessary local permits, approvals and licenses.
He assisted a national investor in seizing and subsequently operating a 750,000 square foot high-rise hotel and office building project with one of the largest private health clubs in Phoenix. Previous ownership left behind problems involving liquor licensing, criminal activities and an unruly membership in the health club. Mr. May found himself working with the police department and charged with ousting prominent but disruptive members.
As a former late-in-life boxer, he represented various professional boxers and managers before the Arizona Boxing Commission in disputes with boxing promoters and venues. His boxing career and representation was featured in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW) and the subject of inquiries by “Sports Illustrated.”
Blog, “Understanding Percentage Rent in Commercial Leases,” Real Estate Law Times Blog (2015)
Blog, “Understanding Radius Restrictions in Commercial Leases,” Real Estate Law Times Blog (2015)
Blog, "A Checklist for Reviewing and Drafting Deeds of Trust,” Real Estate Law Times Blog (2015)
Blog, “Things to Consider When Doing Business in Arizona: Unique Aspects of Arizona Law – From Cumulative Voting to Blue Pencils, Blind Trusts and Guns at Work,” Real Estate Law Times Blog (2015)
Blog, “Commercial Tenants and Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreements,” Real Estate Law Times Blog (2014)
Blog, “Commercial Landlord’s Liability For VOCs,” Real Estate Law Times Blog (2014)
Blog, “ILSA Exemption for Condominiums” Real Estate Law Times Blog (2014)
Honors, Appointments and Awards
Recognized by fellow attorneys as AV® PreeminentTM Peer Review Rated
* AV® PreeminentTM and BV® DistinguishedTM are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.
Listed, The Best Lawyers in America (1983-2017) in the category of Real Estate Law
Listed, International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers (2013-2015)
Listed, Southwest Super Lawyers (2007-2016) in the category of Real Estate: Business
Listed, International Who's Who of Business Lawyers (2013)
The American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)
Leasing Committee, Member
International Council of Shopping Centers
Contemporary Art Forum, Phoenix Art Museum (2005-present)
Phoenix Community Alliance (2004-present)
Valley Partnership (2004-present)
American Bar Association
Broker and Brokerage Committee, Former Chairman
Regulation of Land Sales Committee, Former Chairman
Former Chair/Vice Chair of Real Property Division Committees devoted to the Division's organization
Admitted to Practice
- U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 1978
J.D., University of Oregon School of Law, 1978
Order of the Coif
Associate Editor, University of Oregon Law Review
A.B., Princeton University, 1971