Jump to Navigation

We advise real estate and developer clients on all matters involving eminent domain.  From initial planning and acquisition procedures to Special Commissioners' hearings and jury trials, our lawyers represent clients with eminent domain authority, including municipalities, counties, school districts and transportation agencies.  We also advise businesses, corporations and individuals whose property rights are challenged by governmental action. 

We consult with clients to evaluate their potential condemnation power and the procedures that they use.  When working with landowners, we carefully evaluate the proposed condemnation and develop a strategy aimed at obtaining the best result for the client, including options such as restoration of the property or the pursuit of business damages or severance damages claims.

We have represented clients in matters involving residential, commercial and industrial property parcels ranging in value from several thousand dollars to several million dollars.  We provide representation in eminent domain administrative hearings before panels of Special Commissioners comprised of disinterested landowners who hear testimony and determine the initial fair market value of a piece of property.  We regularly work with recognized appraisal firms to effectively represent our clients' positions.  When Special Commissioners decide against landowners in eminent domain cases, Bracewell represents clients before judges and juries, including state appeals and supreme courts.

We work closely with local government officials to ensure appropriate zoning and to secure required permits and approvals for real estate and development projects.  Our lawyers analyze local land development codes, zoning ordinances, development regulations and other restrictions and requirements for potential conflicts with our client’s proposed projects.  We represent clients before governmental entities and in requests for annexation or deferred annexation of land; rezoning to allow for planned uses; subdividing and platting the land; and approval of special use permits, site plans and building permits. 

Once the project is under way, we also obtain governmental approvals for water, wastewater, electric, natural gas and other utility services required by the project.  We also negotiate and prepare development agreements, restrictive covenants, easements, licenses and other agreements that may be required for the development of the land.

Among recent major projects, our attorneys handled the master leasing and redevelopment plans for a mixed-use office, retail and theater complex in San Antonio, Texas.  Among Texas firms, Bracewell has handled the largest volume of groundwater sales in the state.  As part of our work on the Edwards Aquifer located in the five-county San Antonio region, the firm developed groundwater management standards and practices that have become the norm statewide.  We also help private industrial clients, power plants, land developers and municipal entities to purchase or market the water resources needed for land development.