Commercial Real Estate

Growing together

In the midst of her successful career as a corporate attorney, working in finance and strategic alliances for a major software firm, Belinda Negron began to yearn for a different challenge and a more tangible outlet for her creativity.

When restoring her own condominium, that yearning crystalized into a vision. In 1998 she established Urbaness, a high-end real estate development firm that designs, restores and builds stunning homes in some of Greater Boston’s most sought-after neighborhoods.

For 25 years, and counting, John GF Ruggieri-Lam, leader of the real estate practice at Brooks & DeRensis, has worked closely with Negron and the team at Urbaness.

John is much more than an excellent real estate lawyer. He has sophisticated business acumen with a very logical approach,” Negron said. “John understands the big picture of a real estate project, even while he is steeped in the details. He’s become a trusted friend and partner, which is why I have stayed with him all these years.

Ruggieri-Lam advises Urbaness on all aspects of its projects, from early planning, acquisition, financing (both conventional bank financing and private equity), through drafting condominium documents or other sale documentation as needed. He oversees the development, editing and completion of contracts and other legal documents customized for each Urbaness project.

People who are buying at this level of the real estate market have very specific needs and wants. That’s why it’s very important for all of the legal documents to be detailed, tight, and accurate, Ruggieri-Lam said. When a buyer for one of Belinda’s properties orders $300,000 worth of upgrades, from imported Italian tile, to high-end fixtures, home security and automation systems, and more, there is nothing routine about the transaction. These are not standard form contracts where you fill in a name and address.

Because Brooks & DeRensis is a multi-disciplinary integrated law firm, real estate clients have seamless access to expert advice on related matters such as land use, environmental regulations, state or local permitting, business formation or continuity planning, and dispute resolution or litigation.

There is a transactional aspect to any real estate practice, and for many law firms, that is the sole focus. For us, transactions are only part of the portfolio of services we provide for our clients, Ruggieri-Lam said. Working with Belinda and Urbaness is extremely rewarding, both professionally and personally. It’s a great relationship, one that we model for all of our commercial real estate clients.