Mr. Christian is a partner in the real estate group at DLA Piper and has been in the Hong Kong office of the firm since October 2008, with a primary focus on institutional clients investing in real estate in Asia, particularly South Korea and China. He brings to his practice in Asia 30 years of experience in the acquisition, management and disposition of real estate assets in all of the major markets across the United States and overseas, representing institutional investors of all types – public and private pension funds, investment advisors, endowments, foundations, REITs and insurance companies. Mr. Christian's expertise encompasses all aspects of real estate law, and he is also highly experienced in equity and debt financings, as well as matters relating to the management of real estate portfolios, including ERISA and general fiduciary matters. He also has over 10 years of experience in representing institutional investors in the senior housing sector in the US.
Mr. Christian began his Asian practice in 2001 with the representation of a U.S. developer in the acquisition and financing of New Songdo City, a 1,500-acre master-planned, new city, in Incheon, Korea. At the outset, he negotiated a Korean joint venture agreement between his client and a Korean company for the ownership of the project, and a Land Supply Agreement between the venture and Incheon Metropolitan City. Since then, he has represented the venture in negotiating numerous other agreements and financings for the project, including further agreements with the Incheon government and agreements relating to the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course at the project and a retail mall being developed by Taubman Asia. Mr. Christian has handled other significant transactions in Korea: for a US-based developer, the development of privately owned and financed housing for US military families in Pyeongtaek, the site to which the US Forces Korea headquarters is being relocated from Seoul; for a US-based retail mall developer and operator, development and management agreements for a 500,000 sq ft retail mall in Seoul, part of a large mixed use project being developed by AIG; and for a US private school, licensing of Korea’s first international school in New Songdo City.
Mr. Christian has represented a well-known and highly respected Beijing-based property developer, in negotiating joint ventures with a US-based hedge fund and with a PRC-based private equity fund, both with respect to a large, mixed use project in Wuhan. Mr. Christian has also represented various US and other entities in their real estate activities in mainland China and Hong Kong, notably including senior housing developments in China.
Mr. Christian came to DLA Piper in May, 2008 from WilmerHale, where he had been a partner in the real estate group since 1994 and chair of WilmerHale’s real estate capital management group. Before that, he was a senior executive and counsel at Copley Real Estate Advisors (which merged into AEW Capital Management in 1996), one of the largest real estate investment advisory firms in the US.