Hospitality & Leisure

Gunster’s Hospitality & Leisure attorneys aim to meet the complex legal needs of their hospitality and leisure industry clients regionally, nationally and globally. With decades of industry experience, our team strives to deliver an integrated, cross-disciplinary approach to the multifaceted issues faced within this highly specialized area of law. With our statewide presence, multilingual lawyers and international reach, Gunster attorneys assist clients in the vast array of matters impacting this dynamic industry sector.

The firm offers a wide range of legal services to hospitality and leisure clients,

  • Due diligence
  • Acquisitions and dispositions
  • Entitlements
  • Construction contracts
  • Construction financing, refinancing, lending and loan workouts
  • Food and beverage advice
  • Leasing
  • Project and mixed-use project structuring
  • Regulatory regime issues (condominium and homeowner association and
    offering documentation)
  • Venture and tax structuring
  • Hotel condominium advice
  • Management, franchise and hotel operating agreements
  • Club documentation: private and for-profit golf and country club formation, operation, acquisition and disposition
  • Securities law compliance
  • Immigration and labor and employment law
  • Intellectual property matters

Many of Gunster’s bilingual attorneys are experienced in handling transactions entirely in Spanish or Portuguese.

Our Hospitality & Leisure practice includes:

  • Attorneys with decades of experience in club and membership programs, who have represented hundreds of private member clubs on five continents, in large, complex transactions and governance matters.
  • Nationally recognized attorneys who have represented hospitality industry clients in acquisitions and dispositions; large construction contracts; financing transactions; ultra-luxury, mixed-use hotel and hotel condominium projects (with residential, retail, office and resort components); country clubs and large-scale developments; as well as in negotiating numerous franchise, hotel operating and management agreements.
  • Bilingual attorneys with experience in private equity, commercial transactions, deal structuring, acquisitions and dispositions, mergers, acquisitions and corporate governance throughout Latin America and Caribbean.
  • A former U.S. ambassador to Panama.
  • A former in-house counsel to one of the largest global entertainment corporations.
  • The current co-chair of the Immigration Committee of the International Law Section of The Florida Bar, who has advised a wide array of hospitality clients on immigration issues.

Mixed-use and large-scale projects require an intimate understanding of complex legal and business issues, as well as an awareness of the interests of stakeholders and uses within the mixed-use project. Among the challenges frequently encountered in these projects are budgeting and sharing of costs; use restrictions; access, parking and related entitlement issues for various project stakeholders; compliance with land use regulations; enforcement powers and proceedings; taxation; repair and maintenance obligations; assessment and lien structuring; document structuring (including creation or avoidance of condominiums and vertical subdivision regimes in buildings and projects); and control issues related to governance, aesthetics, budgeting, assessments, lien enforcement and reserves, to name only a few. Financing of these projects presents unique challenges for borrowers and lenders.

view of pool and ocean from hotel room

Our Hospitality & Leisure team is experienced in planning, structuring and documenting significant large-scale hotel, resort and community projects. Our attorneys assist developers, investors, management companies, owners and lenders of luxury, mixed-use hotel and large-scale, mixed-use projects throughout North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. Our attorneys also advise clients from or with projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our capabilities span a variety of hospitality related work such as financing; project structuring; negotiation of franchise, management and operating agreements; immigration; and tax counsel. Our team works with local counsel and professionals throughout Latin America and the Caribbean on such mixed-use projects.

The hospitality and leisure industry has increasingly turned to club offerings and other similar regimes. Such clubs and regimes can help to enhance revenues and sales of residential units and include golf course memberships, spa and health club memberships, beach clubs and dining clubs. These clubs are a natural extension of the hospitality industry. Our Hospitality & Leisure team has represented stand-alone clubs of all types and including holders of hotels and resort facilities, developers of mixed-use projects and resort facilities, as well as public companies, among others.

Our team represents clients in connection with the acquisition and disposition of major hospitality and leisure assets. The firm also advises lenders and borrowers in connection with the financing and construction financing of hospitality and leisure industry assets. Subtle nuances in franchise, licensing, management and operating agreements can dramatically affect revenues and rights. Our lawyers have negotiated such transactions for a wide variety of clients. In addition, the firm’s Government and Land Use attorneys focus on providing critical services for developers of hospitality and leisure projects throughout Florida and beyond.

Marina transactions often deal with the complicated interplay of environmental, land use, condominium and real estate related considerations. Due diligence and permitting of these projects can frequently involve local, state and federal governmental entities. Gunster’s Hospitality & Leisure team has experience with stand-alone marina projects, as well as with marinas that are part of sophisticated mixed-use hospitality and large-scale projects.

Our attorneys advise on human resource practices, policies and procedures, with particular experience in wage and hour law and business immigration matters. Our national immigration attorneys represent Fortune 100 companies in the full range of visa needs for international hires. Our lawyers focus on developing strategies that further the workforce related initiatives of clients requiring the services of foreign nationals.


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