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Matthew C. Carlson

Practice Group Chair, Real Estate


Matt is an experienced real estate practitioner who advises clients on a wide array of real estate and development matters. Matt is adept at handling large-scale, politically sensitive development projects, including those involving public-private partnerships. He has extensive experience with structuring complex ownership, leasing, and financing structures for a variety of single and multi-use commercial projects.

A member of the firm’s Transactional group and the Co-chair of the Real Estate sub-group, Matt handles projects throughout the state of Wisconsin, the Midwest, and nationwide. These include multi-use urban infill and resort development projects, as well as the planning and development of hotel, retail, multi-family, higher education, institutional, industrial, agri-business, and owner-occupied residential projects. In addition to structuring and negotiating deals, he assists clients with regulatory approvals and entitlements, annexations, land divisions, easement negotiations, and zoning disputes. 


Matt regularly assists commercial real estate clients with sales and acquisitions, leasing, condominium structuring, financing, and construction matters. His work also includes representing lenders in commercial real estate transactions and through his work with the firm’s Banking and Financial Services Industry team.


Representative matters include:

  • Public-Private Multi-Use Development: Represented developer in structuring, drafting and negotiating commercial condominium documents, as well as obtaining financing for, the largest to date multi-use public/private infill development including student housing, retail, parking, university office, and related uses in the city of Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Sports Arena Development: Represented project developer and governmental authority in the development, commercial condominium structuring, and financing of a 1 million square foot sports arena, hotel, office, and public parking multi-use urban infill development in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
  • Luxury Hotel Development: Represented developer in the acquisition, entitlement, financing, commercial condominium structuring, and development of a 205 room luxury full-service waterfront hotel and multi-use project in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Resort Property Expansion: Represented developer in obtaining regulatory approvals and tax incremental financing, as well as structuring transaction and preparing required condominium and development related documents, for large-scale expansion of existing resort property, including the addition of multiple condominium hotel facilities, indoor waterpark, conference and related entertainment amenities.
  • Waterpark Acquisitions and Expansion: Represented client in acquisitions and expansions of waterpark resort properties in multiple locations throughout the United States.
  • Multi-Use Infill Development: Represented community development authority in acquiring former manufacturing and brownfield properties for multi-use infill redevelopment.
  • Redevelopment of Industrial Facility: Represented industrial client in sale of former multi-block industrial facility to community development authority for planned multi-use redevelopment activities.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Named one of In Business Magazine's 40 Under 40 for 2012
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Land Use and Zoning Law, Project Finance Law and Real Estate Law, 2015-present

Professional Activities

  • Member, Wisconsin Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Dane County Bar Association



Community Involvement

  • Past Chair and current member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Downtown Madison, Inc.
  • Past Chair, Transportation and Parking Committee, Downtown Madison, Inc.
  • Member, Wisconsin Builders Association and Madison Area Builders Association
  • Member, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association
  • Past President, Friends of the Arboretum, Inc.
  • Director and President, Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area, Inc.
  • Past President and current Director and Vice-President, Friends of Glacial Heritage Area, Inc.
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