John Petersen’s idea of a perfect horizon is one dotted with construction cranes on client properties. This type of visual progress is an indication that he has done his job by helping clients successfully navigate the challenging waters of real estate development and finance. As Chairman of the firm’s Real Estate Division, John has national insight into industry trends that enhances his counsel and advice at the federal, state, and local levels.

With 25 years of real estate experience, John is known for his client advocacy, as well as his unique perspective of the governmental process. Initially trained as a litigator, John has held significant leadership positions within state and federal government, including his service as Deputy Chief Counsel to a United States Senator and Chief Counsel to a Governor. The hallmark of John’s practice is his understanding of how to prepare and advance a case for approval. He is tenacious in his pursuit of a client’s business objectives and has an equal appreciation for the governmental context under which development decisions are made.

John focuses his practice on development finance matters.  As projects increasingly require financial assistance beyond traditional sources, John has significant experience structuring incentive packages involving public-private partnerships, special obligation bonds, tax abatements, and tax credits.
  • Represented developer client in obtaining approval of $90 million in Special Obligation Bond financing to help fund $600 million mixed-use project that will feature the first “franchise” location of the American Museum of Natural History in the country.
  • Represented buyer with respect to the acquisition of a 9,000-acre former Army Ammunition Plant located in Johnson County, Kan. Project involved simultaneous negotiations with more than a dozen political subdivisions and departments (at all three levels of government), requiring a commitment to address explosive and environmental contamination (the first time that the Army privatized a site-wide explosives removal).
  • Represented owner/developer with respect to the development of a 450,000-square-foot Nebraska Furniture Mart retail development and warehouse facility in Kansas City, Kan., to anchor a 400-acre retail and entertainment project at the Kansas Speedway together with public-private incentives, including STAR Bonds.
  • Represented Sprint Corporation as owner/developer with respect to the development of its $1 billion world headquarters office campus located in Overland Park, Kan.
  • Represented owner and developer with respect to the development of NASCAR’s 80,000-seat Kansas International Speedway located in Kansas City, Kan.
  • Represented prominent Kansas City real estate developer with respect to the acquisition of 19.97-acre parcel in Johnson County, Kan., and construction of 150,910-square-foot build-to-suit building leased to commercial company.
  • Represented the University of Kansas Hospital Authority in negotiation of lease and construction agreement for construction and development of 202,000-square-foot medical office building addition to the hospital campus in Kansas City, Kan. Represented hospital in connection with negotiation of construction agreement and long-term lease of approximately 90 percent of the building to provide medical offices for the University of Kansas Medical Center campus for use by the physician group serving the university, Kansas University Physicians, Inc.