STEPHANIE FRIESE (ARON)
Stephanie Friese is a strategic advocate and negotiator who represents commercial real estate clients across the United States in both transactional and litigation matters. She is a founding and managing partner of Pursley Friese Torgrimson. Previously, she founded and managed Friese Legal for 13 years as one of the first woman-owned, woman-managed law firms certified by Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Stephanie is involved in all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, from acquisition of land, to leasing, foreclosure, construction, and disposition. While she makes every effort to minimize a client’s inherent risks, she also litigates her client’s real estate issues related to the development, leasing and management of real estate.
Her clients include businesses that own and develop properties, as well as lenders, owners and investors involved in financing, acquisitions and dispositions of commercial office and industrial properties across the country. She brings extensive experience in all matters related to commercial real estate law and litigation for retail, industrial, office and mixed use property.
- COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LEASING:
- COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE ACQUISITIONS AND DISPOSITIONS:
- REAL ESTATE LITIGATION:
- SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS:
- PUBLISHED WORK:
- MEDIA SPOTLIGHTS:
Scope of Experience
- In the last 12 months, we have closed approximately 71 commercial real estate leasing transactions, totaling $43,266,228 in value
- Our work spans 32 states across the U.S.
- Approximately 60% of our practice is landlord-rep and 40% is tenant-rep.
- Approximately 72% of our practice is office leasing (although we also work in retail, industrial, medical office, cell towers, and billboards).
- Prepared and negotiated office lease in Norcross, Georgia worth in excess of $6.5 million over a 10 year term, including negotiating the work letter to protect the landlord’s interests during the tenant’s build-out.
- Prepared and negotiated office leases in Marietta, Georgia for local real estate investor landlord, including negotiating with tenant with regard to delivery date in light of an uncertain completion timeframe for landlord’s initial build out of the premises.
- Prepared and negotiated billboard ground lease in Marietta, Georgia.
- Prepared and negotiated all leases for 7-suite 16,200 sq. ft. medical office building in Lithia Springs, Georgia, including leases to accommodate physicians in an office share arrangement.
- Prepared and negotiated various term extension amendments for medical office building on behalf of a court-appointed receiver in Duluth, Georgia.
- Managed lease abstracts for industrial properties in the Houston, TX area, involving approximately 35 leases and 1,090,000 square feet.
- Negotiated leases in 32 states across the U.S.
- Negotiated industrial lease for flagship distribution and office node for Fortune 100 company’s operations in San Leandro, California valued at $1.3 million over a seven year term, including negotiating the tenant’s work letter for substantial build-out.
- Negotiated office lease for local gym operator in Midtown, Atlanta, which required review and analysis of condominium documents and negotiation with the condominium association to ensure client’s legal use of the property.
- Negotiated a 15,000 sq. ft. office lease in Maitland, Florida on behalf of a publicly traded tenant.
- Negotiated a 24,000 sq. ft. expansion and 10,600 sq. ft. expansion in Duluth, Georgia on behalf of a publicly traded tenant.
- Represented a regional real estate investor in purchase of two multi-million dollar apartment complexes with more than 600 units.
- Represented a real estate investor in purchase of $8MM industrial warehouse facility in Savannah, Georgia.
- Represented a local real estate investor in the disposition of a single tenant office building.
- Represented an individual real estate investor in the purchase of a national single tenant NNN leased retail building.
- Represented Purchaser and owner-occupant in acquisition of 7,000 square foot office building in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
- Represented seller in connection with the disposition of a 47,000 square foot multi-tenant office building in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
Collections and Evictions
- Obtained a $1.3 million judgment in Fulton County State Court against a defaulting anchor tenant of a local shopping center.
- Foreclosed and evicted high-profile tenant in default from a 14-acre, multi-building campus in Lithonia, Georgia, prevailing against the tenant’s efforts to avoid eviction through filing multiple bankruptcies and appeals.
- Assisted landlord with collection of several thousand dollars of past due rent owing from defaulting tenant with no personal guaranty of lease in place
- Won a $3.4 million judgment in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, against 3 defendants on 4 separate promissory notes to a failed lending institution.
- Won a $4.5 million judgment in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, against maker of a promissory note to a failed lending institution.
- Obtained a $2.3 million judgment in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, against maker of a promissory note to a failed lending institution.
- Won a $550,000 summary judgment in U.S. District Court, North District of Georgia, against maker of a promissory note to a failed lending institution.
Foreclosure, Quiet Title and Other Real Estate Related Litigation
- Represented a group of heirs in action to quiet title for 36 acres in Superior Court of Jones County.
- Prevailed at contested foreclosure sale confirmation action in Henry County Superior Court, which involved proving fair market value of foreclosed property using the discounted cash flow method of valuation; obtained subsequent deficiency judgment against guarantors of the loan.
- Assisted in successful defense of lender which took title to property by foreclosure against a quiet title action and challenge to foreclosure sale filed by borrower
- Obtained a prompt dismissal of a suit filed against our client in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, within 90 days of the suit being filed. The complaint was a complaint for damages and equitable relief relating to a foreclosure of real property.
- Foreclosed on real property and subsequently executed the dispossessory of a litigious holdover tenant, defeating the efforts of the tenant to prevent our lender client from taking possession of the property. The matter involved 3 civil actions filed in 3 courts over a 2-year period (the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the Superior Court of Forsyth County, and the State Court of Forsyth County).
- Obtained, within 30 days of service, voluntary dismissals of all claims against a landlord client in personal injury lawsuits involving the leased premises.
- Moderator at Real Estate Bisnow’s Second Annual Atlanta Construction and Development Summit in Atlanta – February 19, 2014
- Presented at the “Summer School Lunch & Learn” hosted by Stream Realty Partners, ASD, and Crocker Partners on June 19, 2013 with managing partner Christian Torgrimson and attorney Christine Norstadt. The presentation addressed 1) Gross Up Provisions; 2) Landlord-Friendly LOI and Lease Proposal Suggested Language; 3) Special Notes to Both Landlords and Tenants; 4) Top Ten List of Things to do When: A Property Owner or Manager Receives a Notice of Taking on the Property; and 5) Top Ten List of Things to do When: A Tenant Receives Notice of Taking on the Property
- “From Lender to Landlord (and Tenants, Too!) – How Foreclosure Affects a Commercial Lease,” presented at the Annual ICLE Landlord Tenant Seminar, February 14, 2013
- “Contract Terminations” presented to the Atlanta Chapter of the Institute of Facility Managers, February 20, 2008
- “Avoiding Pitfalls in Common Area Maintenance Charges” presented at the Landlord Tenant Law Seminar sponsored by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, May 2006
- “Office and Industrial Leasing” presented at the 28th Annual Real Property Law Institute, sponsored by the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia, May 2006
- “Hot Topics in Office and Industrial Leasing” presented at the 28th Annual Real Property Law Institute, sponsored by the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia, May 5, 2006
- Presented on commercial leases at the American Bar Association Community Outreach program to teach young lawyers how to practice commercial real estate law, March 2006
- “Current Issues in Common Area Maintenance and Gross-Ups” presented at the Landlord Tenant Law Seminar sponsored by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, November 17, 2005
- “Abandoned Cabling and The Americans With Disabilities Act: A Discussion on Current Topics in Office and Industrial Leasing” presented at the 27th Annual Real Property Law Institute, sponsored by the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia, May 13, 2005
- “How to Run a Meeting People Love to Attend” presented at the Annual Symposium “Women Leading Business” sponsored by the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, October 24-25, 2005
- “Commercial Real Estate Investment for Beginners” presented at the Emory Women’s Clinic, August 13, 2005
- “Ethical Considerations” and “Curing Title Problems: Using Quiet Title Actions, Party Walls, and Escrow Agreements” presented to National Business Institute—Georgia Real Estate Title Law Seminar, December 2004
- “Landlord and Tenant Issues,” Regular Guest on Court Radio with Natalee Nabors, News & Talk 1380 WAOK, Appearances on 3rd Monday each Month, 2004
- “Client Development” presented to Georgia Association for Women Lawyers—First Annual Leadership Institute, April 2004
- “Complex Issues in Commercial Real Estate Transactions” presented to National Paralegal Institute, February 2004
- “Whose Fixture Is It, Anyway? Fixture Ownership in Defaulting Tenant Situations” presented to The Annual Institute of Continuing Education Landlord/Tenant Seminar, 2002
- Article, “The Fine Print,” CIRE Magazine, November / December Issue 2018
- Article, “Dealing with Tenant Abandonment,” CREW Atlanta Blog, co-authored with Attorney Christine Norstadt, March 2016
- Article, “Common Ethical Pitfalls for Lawyers Using Various Types of Social Media,” in The Atlanta Lawyer, co-authored with Michelle LeGault, November 2010
- Article, “Attorney or Shoesalesman? Seeing Opportunity in a Changing Environment,” The Atlanta Lawyer, January 2010
- Article, “In Trying Times, Networking Makes a Difference,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, January 2-8, 2009
- “Get in on the Ground Floor of Going Green” The Atlanta Lawyer, the Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association, co-authored with Van Clements, March 2008
- Article, “Making Rain: How to Bring in the Business.” The Fulton Daily Report, March 15, 2005
- Article, “Money Matters,” The Fulton County Daily Report, November 8, 2004
- Article, “Cost-Effective Practices for Employee Retention,” ABA: The Young Lawyer, July/August 2004
- Article, “The Fine Print,” CIRE Magazine, November / December Issue 2018
- Featured in “5 Questions With Atlanta’s CRE Power Women, Part 2” in Bisnow Atlanta, on November 28, 2018
- Featured in “For Small Firms, Big Benefits Are Weapons in Talent War,” in Law360, on October 29, 2018
- Featured in “Rainmakers-in-Training Need Time to Train, Experts Say” in The Daily Report, on May 15, 2018
- Winner of CREW Deal of the Year Award, June 9, 2017
- Appeared on WSB-TV, May 30, 2017
- Top 40 Women in Real Estate 2014, Real Estate Bisnow Atlanta
- Interviewed by Atlanta Business Radio on August 13, 2014
- Featured in “Pursley Friese Torgrimson Talks About Eminent Domain with Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio, Real Estate Bisnow; Earns Recognition from CREW Atlanta,” on CREReport, September 9, 2013
- Featured in “Past Picks– On The Rise: Rising Lawyers Under 40” in The Daily Report, on August 26, 2013
- Featured in “Stephanie Friese Aron: Pursley Friese Torgrimson–Fueled to “Do Good” and Inspire Women” as part of The Story Exchange’s 1000 Stories Campaign on July 23, 2013
- Article, “In Trying Times, Networks Make a Difference,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, January 5, 2009
- Spotlighted in “Atlanta Intown” Magazine, a publication of the Fulton County Daily Report, January 2007
- Mentioned in “Law Firms Host More Women-Only Events,” Fulton County Daily Report, February 1, 2006
- “Rise to the Top,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, January 27 – February 2, 2006
- “Laws of Nature: Atlanta’s 25 Power Movers and Shakers,” Kate Yandoh, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2006
- “CREW Launches Outreach Program for Girls,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, April 1-7, 2005
- “Making Rain: How to Bring in the Business,” The Fulton County Daily Report, March 15, 2005
- “Money Matters,” The Fulton County Daily Report, November 8, 2004
- “Up and Comers: Under 40 and Rising–50 of Atlanta’s Most Promising Young Stars,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, October 8-14, 2004
- “Certified Woman-Owned,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, July 9, 2004
- “Keeping Good Employees with Incentives Other than Money,” CREW’s News, March 2004
- “GAWL Member in the Spotlight,” The Fulton County Daily Report, March 2004
- “CREW honors Ross, Friese for their leadership ability,” Atlanta Business Chronicle, July 5, 2002