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William R. Sylvester

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Bill's prompt service and attention to detail have been the standards of his more than 35 years of work in the federal tax and real property areas of the practice.

Featured Video

Current Issues Concerning Charitable Gifts of Real Estate September 28, 2017

Featured Experience

Represented a client and worked with its in-house attorney and CPAs to structure a qualified conservation easement in connection which the Tax Court sustained deductions in excess of $28.6 million. 

Represented a client group involved in a variety of retail and office projects, as well as a mountaintop traditional neighborhood, planned around a golf course community.

Represented a company in aspects of its business operations, with a primary focus on the ownership and management of golf courses and associated residential communities.

Professional Biography

Overview

Bill is a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and is active in local, state and national bar associations. Bill has extensive experience in a wide variety of real estate-related transactions.

Some of the diverse matters he has recently handled:

  • Sale, development, financing and disposition of multifamily properties;
  • Planned unit developments and other residential, recreational, commercial, and mixed use property structures;
  • Purchase and sale of unimproved real estate and interests therein;
  • Choice of entity considerations in the acquisition of real estate;
  • Negotiation and drafting of deal specific provisions of partnership, limited liability company and joint venture agreements;
  • Representation of appraisers, donors, land trusts, and other participants in charitable conservation gifts of real property.
Representative Matters
  • Represented a client and worked with its in-house attorney and CPAs to structure a qualified conservation easement in connection which the Tax Court sustained deductions in excess of $28.6 million. 

  • Represented a client group involved in a variety of retail and office projects, as well as a mountaintop traditional neighborhood, planned around a golf course community.

  • Represented a company in aspects of its business operations, with a primary focus on the ownership and management of golf courses and associated residential communities.

  • Represented several sponsors of development/conservation easement combined projects intended to avoid treatment as "listed transactions" under IRS Notice 2007-10.

  • Personally involved in recent conservation easements in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Professional Honors & Activities
  • Member – American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers in Real Estate since 2016
  • Listed in Alabama Super Lawyers in Real Estate since 2008
  • Listed in Best Lawyers In America® since 1995 in the areas of Real Estate and Tax Law; since 2016 in Business Organizations
  • Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers since 2010
  • Member – American Bar Association
    • Real Property, Trust and Estate Law and Taxation Sections
    • Forum on the Construction Industry
  • Member – Birmingham Bar Association
  • Member – International Council of Shopping Centers 
  • Member – Land Trust Alliance
  • Member – Partnership for Conservation Defense Roundtable
Publications
Speaking Engagements
  • Presenter – "Current Challenges in the Conservation Easement Practice," Charleston, South Carolina Tax Council (November 2018)
  • Presenter – "Conservation Easements and Pass-Through Entities," ABA Real Property, Probate, and Trust Section, Orlando, Florida (May 2018)
  • Moderator – "Guns and Other Premises Liability Issues," American College of Real Estate Lawyers Spring Meeting, Orlando, Florida (March 2018)
  • Presenter – "Conservation Easements from A to Z," Birmingham Bar Center, Birmingham, Alabama (August 2017)
  • Panelist – "Thoughts on Enhancing Conservation Options: An Argument for Statutory Recognition of Options to Purchase Conservation Easements," Vanderbilt University Law School (March 2017)
  • Interviewee – "Money For Lunch," radio show (July 2013)
  • Co-presenter – "Tax Aspects of Qualified Conservation Contributions," Lorman Education Services (August 2012)
Press Releases

Industries

Education

  • University of Virginia School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1978
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Master of Sciences in Operations Research, 1976
  • University of Alabama, B.S., 1975, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

  • Alabama, 1978

William Sylvester has particular expertise in advising clients on conservation easements and the acquisition of commercial and mixed-use developments. He maintains an excellent reputation in the market, with one source remarking: 'He is one of the smartest lawyers I have ever worked with.'

William Sylvester is 'very detail-oriented and does a great job for his clients,' notes one source, adding that they have 'only positive things to say about him.' He has more than 30 years' experience in the negotiation, development and financing of property matters, as well as providing expertise on federal tax law.

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