Mentioning the words “ground lease” can cause the reader to envision a convoluted transaction whose terms are difficult to translate into a document that is agreeable to all parties. Without diminishing the obstacles that typically face parties to a ground lease transaction, this is an overstatement. Like any other real estate transaction, a ground lease is fundamentally a business deal. One of the main advantages of a ground lease is that it offers the parties predictability over a long period of time. Consequently, the drafting process can and should flow directly out of the business terms the parties have negotiated. In other words, the lawyer’s job is to apply the economic terms of the deal to structure a document that reflects the parties’ bargain. By adhering to this understanding, the lawyer can simplify even the most complex ground lease transaction into the task of assembling numerous parts into a coherent whole.
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