Charlene Schafer is a partner in our Real Property & Planning Group in Toronto. She is also a key member of our Retail and Consumer Markets Group. Charlene maintains a general transactional real property practice with a focus on sophisticated commercial transactions, particularly in the private equity space.
Charlene advises domestic and cross-border clients in all real estate sectors, including pension funds, owners, managers, private equity funds, developers, local and international investors, major lenders and borrowers, landlords and tenants.
Charlene regularly acts on transactions involving acquisitions and dispositions (single property and portfolio deals), sale/leaseback arrangements, real estate components of mergers and acquisitions transactions, single lender and syndicated construction, acquisition and take-out financing, the creation of real estate investment funds, limited partnerships, joint ventures and co-ownerships, development-related matters (acquisitions, easements, cost-sharing arrangements), industrial and office leasing negotiations, and construction-related matters. She also has specific expertise in the retail space and acts for a number of significant retail clients.
Charlene has been recognized for three years in a row as one of a small handful of ‘Rising Stars’ throughout Canada in Euromoney’s LMG Rising Stars 2015, 2016 & 2017 guides for her expertise in commercial real estate law, which recognizes partners or senior associates for their work in important transactions in the areas of business law and related transactions and identifies energetic, professional and skillful upcoming talent who have already demonstrated their status in recent notable transactions and who are on the right track for future partnership and leadership in the field in which they operate.
Her recent experience includes:
ACQUISITIONS & DISPOSITIONS
- acting for Bluesky Hotels & Resorts on its acquisition of InnVest REIT for $2.1B;
- acting on a number of shopping centre transactions, including the purchase of Bayview Village (Toronto), the purchase of Bridlewood Mall (Toronto), the sale of Agincourt Mall (Toronto), the purchase of Park Place Centre (Barrie), amongst others;
- acting on the purchase and sale of numerous office buildings and industrial properties throughout the GTA, Ontario and nationally;
- providing advice relating to the structuring of real estate development projects and investment properties through limited partnership, joint venture and co-ownership arrangements;
- acting on an on-going basis for various developers in connection with site acquisitions, marketing, pre-sale matters and complex development work for commercial, residential, retail, office, industrial or mixed-use developments;
PRIVATE EQUITY & INVESTMENT - REAL ESTATE
- acting as counsel to private equity funds in the formation of their funds and the ongoing acquisition, financing, re-financing and dispositions of properties in connection therewith;
- acting as counsel to Concert Real Estate Corporation in the launch of the CREC Commercial Fund;
LENDING & FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
- acting as counsel to financial institutions, including BMO, Royal Bank and CIBC on construction financing deals, e.g. representing BMO Capital Markets, as lead arranger, in respect of a senior syndicated construction financing of One York Street, Toronto - a joint venture between Menkes and HOOPP;
- acting as counsel to and representing GE Canada Real Estate Equity in its $1 billion sale of a 79-property portfolio and corresponding vendor take-back financing, which was awarded “Investment Deal of the Year” at the 2014 NAIOP Rex Awards;
- acting as borrower’s counsel in respect of the financing and re-financing of the Distillery District lands;
- acting as Canadian counsel on the financing of major cross-border portfolio acquisitions, including the acquisition of Blackberry’s real estate portfolio by Spear Street;
- acting for commercial landlords and tenants in the preparation and negotiation of office, industrial and retail leases, renewals, extensions and amendments;
GOVERNMENT & EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
- acting for government and educational institutions in respect of leasing and regulatory matters, such as York University, Ryerson University and Wilfrid Laurier University.
Charlene is co-editor of McCarthy Tétrault’s widely-read real property blog, “The Lay of the Land”, which offers the latest news about Canada’s real estate sector. She is an active member of the firm and the community and is involved in both internal and external initiatives focusing on mentorship, corporate social responsibility and student recruitment.
Charlene is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, NAIOP (Government Relations Committee Member and former Developing Leader Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Mentorship Program), Toronto CREW (Women’s Leadership Development Program Committee Member and formerly Mentorship Committee Member & Sponsorship Committee Member), the Urban Land Institute, ICSC and BILD. She is also a frequent speaker and moderator at prominent industry conferences, such as the Land and Development Conference and the Canadian Apartment Investment Conference.
Before joining the firm in 2013, Charlene practiced general corporate/commercial law at the Toronto office of another national law firm in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital, corporate governance and capital markets matters. During this time, she was also a co-instructor for Osgoode Hall Law School's Professional LLM in International Business Law.
Charlene was formerly employed with the Ontario Public Service in the area of emergency management and policy development in the fields of safety, security and policing. She also volunteered with the Toronto Police Service for a number of years as an Auxiliary Police Officer.