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Thomas O. Gartner

Of Counsel

Overview

Thom brings deep knowledge and significant experience to his real estate and finance practice. His focus includes:

  • Real estate
  • Development
  • Urban redevelopment
  • Municipal finance
  • Land use and zoning
  • Tax incremental financing
  • General municipal law

Prior to joining Michael Best, Thom represented the City of Milwaukee as an Assistant City Attorney in the Office of the City Attorney. In this role, he also represented various boards and commissions, such as the Redevelopment Authority, Housing Authority, the Public Debt Commission the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board of Harbor Commissioners, and the Milwaukee Board of School Directors. 

Experience

Thom’s representative project experience includes:

  • Representing the City of Milwaukee and the Redevelopment Authority in connection with the creation and implementation of more than 50 tax incremental districts.
  • Serving as counsel to the Public Debt Commission of the City of Milwaukee and participating in the issuance of City General Obligation Bonds, Notes and Revenue Bonds.
  • Serving as issuer’s counsel in more than 175 revenue bond financings, with a combined principal value in excess of $2 billion. These financings included the first revenue bonds issued by a Housing or Redevelopment Authority in the State of Wisconsin.
  • Representing the City of Milwaukee and the Redevelopment Authority in the structuring and negotiation of a Cooperation, Contribution and Development Agreement in connection with the financing and construction of a $300 million downtown corporate headquarters. This representation included more than $50 million in tax incremental financing.
  • Representing the City of Milwaukee and the Redevelopment Authority in the acquisition, redevelopment and financing of a $60 million mixed-use commercial, educational and residential project for use by a public university.
  • Representing the City of Milwaukee and the Board of Harbor Commissioners in the long-term leasing and capital financing of a lakefront festival grounds to the operator of a major national music festival that included the issuance of more than $30 million in bonds.
  • Representing the Redevelopment Authority as lender for the acquisition, development and financing of a $55 million high-rise condominium and apartment development in downtown Milwaukee.
  • Assisting in a comprehensive recodification of Milwaukee’s Zoning code; representing the Board of Zoning Appeals, including defense of the Board’s decisions in multiple appeals; and successfully arguing Oliviera v. City of Milwaukee in the Wisconsin Supreme court. This case upheld the rezoning of a parcel of land to permit construction of a major commercial project.
  • Participating in the structuring of numerous mixed-finance transactions requiring the integration of local public financial assistance with New Markets Tax Credits, Low income House Tax Credits and various forms of state and federal grant and loan funding.

Honors & Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Project Finance Law and Real Estate Law, 2018
  • Public Official of the Year-City of Milwaukee, The Daily Reporter, 2012
  • Rated AV® PreeminentTM

Professional Activities

  • Member, State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Member, American Bar Association

Education

Admissions

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