Denise D. Pursley

Denise Pursley leads Nixon Peabody’s national Real Estate practice, managing and setting strategy for the group and its industry teams. Denise advises on all aspects of commercial real estate, real estate finance, development, land-use and environmental law. She works with national company owners and operators, institutional investors, pension fund advisors, real estate developers, institutional lenders and investment banks.

What do you focus on?

I focus on real estate acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, development, management and debt and equity financing for all asset classes. The industries with which I work vary from commercial real estate developers to health care facilities to institutional investors to energy providers and telecommunication companies. Typically, the projects on which I work are complex or of strategic importance to our client and may be located anywhere in the country.


I have substantial experience in all facets of acquisition, disposition, leasing and mergers and acquisitions. A hallmark of my practice is to assemble and lead carefully selected teams to undertake sophisticated due diligence projects. For example, I have coordinated the real estate due diligence for the purchase of a national supermarket chain that has over 230 properties under ownership, lease or sublease.

Environmental Projects

Some of my favorite projects have been working to bring new life to environmentally contaminated properties and brownfields. Adaptive re-use of property can revitalize an entire neighborhood. A typical project would be the sale of a facility that is a federal or state superfund site, inactive hazardous waste site or former industrial facility. Recently, I worked closely with a client’s internal and external team of business, real estate and environmental professionals to negotiate the sale of a former industrial facility for commercial re-use in a downtown area on terms and conditions that satisfied state regulators and allowed the purchaser to achieve its development goals. My combination of real estate and environmental experience makes me the ideal lawyer for these complex projects.

Energy Projects

I also provide critical advice on real estate and environmental issues associated with electric, gas and renewable energy projects. I’ve represented project developers and equity investors in wind, solar and geothermal energy facilities coast-to-coast. These complex deals involve real estate, environmental, zoning, land use entitlement and governmental permitting and require me to work collaboratively with our multi-disciplinary client teams.

What do you see on the horizon?

Health care related real estate work is very active right now and will continue to be as the health care industry reacts to the implementation of governmental programs. I have developed a deep understanding of the industry from years working with hospitals, physician groups and others in the health care industry that enables me to provide practical advice to my clients. I am also very interested in big data, both as an asset class and as an intelligence tool. The demand for big data facilities continues to grow. These facilities have unique requirements relating to energy and infrastructure and may be developed on brownfield sites, all areas in which I have extensive experience.

Representative Experience

  • Represent institutional owner of 350,000 sq. ft. midtown Manhattan office building for all leasing, financing and property management.
  • Represent institutional owner for leasing of over 2 million sq. ft. of industrial/warehouse property in New Jersey.
  • Represent international bakery company in the restructuring of owned and leased manufacturing, warehouse and distribution facilities in the New York and New Jersey.
  • Represent a U.S. top 50 insurance provider in multi-state leasing and subleasing transactions totaling over 300,000 sq. ft. to date, including over 133,000 sq. ft. in historic New York City building for company’s headquarters.
  • Represented purchaser of a $63.5 million midtown Manhattan office building and associated $62 million mortgage loan.
  • Represented private owner in connection with the sale of a prominent Long Island hotel and convention center.
  • Represented major investment bank in tax equity investment of multi-state wind facilities throughout the West and Midwest.
  • Represented major investment bank in tax equity investment in a geothermal power facility in Arizona.
  • Represented pension fund in $62 million acquisition of an office/hotel complex in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
  • Represented private utility company in the negotiation of an option agreement for 132 acres in the state of New York for the development of a 1,000 megawatt natural gas-fired electric generation plant.
  • Represented Westchester County hospital in the acquisition of a bankrupt hospital consisting of 12 separate parcels located in New York City and Westchester, including all environmental, title and land use due diligence, negotiation of PSA and option to sell back a portion of the property, purchase money financing and closing of title.
  • Represented special servicer in connection with distressed and non-performing assets, including loan modifications, sale of loans and foreclosures.
  • Represented utility in negotiation of an underwater high voltage, direct current line and fiber optic cable in Long Island Sound.  
  • Represented institutional owner in the sale of a shopping center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
  • Represented utility company in the sale of a former liquefied natural gas plant on Staten Island for development as a NASCAR race track and shopping center.
  • Represented pension fund in the sale of class A office building in Stamford, Connecticut.
  • Represented natural gas company in real estate and condemnation work in connection with gas pipeline expansion project in New York State.
  • Represented energy joint venture in connection with local land use and real estate work for a proposed underwater interstate natural gas pipeline intended to serve Long Island, New York City and Connecticut.
  • Represented defense contractor in sale of former defense manufacturing facility in New York State.
  • Represented hospital in the lease/build-out of approximately 225,000 sq. ft. of medical office and ambulatory surgery space in a former corporate headquarters/manufacturing building.
  • Represent private company in the sale of hotel in Islip, New York.

Over A Dozen Firms Guided Largest Q1 Real Estate Deals

Law360 | May 04, 2016

The $390M purchase of a premier site within New York’s South Street Seaport Subdistrict by Oceanwide Center NY LLC, a subsidiary of Oceanwide Holdings Co., is among the 10 largest Q1 real estate deals. Nixon Peabody advised Oceanwide on the transaction. The coverage notes the deal team was led by partners Denise Pursley, Colette Dafoe and David Cheng.


Denise D. Pursley

Practice Group Leader, Real Estate

Long Island

Phone: 516-832-7542

New York

Phone: 212-224-7618

Fax: 866-947-2028

New York Law School, J.D., magna cum laude (Editor, New York Law School Law Review)

University of Florida, B.S., (recipient of Dean's Cup for Service)

New York

New Jersey


U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey

Denise Pursley recognized in the 2014 edition of The Legal 500: USA as a Leading Lawyer in the Real Estate category.

Denise Pursley has been recognized three times by the Long Island Business News as one of Long Island’s Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business and is in the program’s Hall of Fame. Denise Pursley has been recognized as a rising star by Long Island Business News as a recipient of their “40 Under 40” honor in 2000.

Denise Pursley has been recognized for her exceptional standing in the legal community in the area of Real Estate in the 2007, 2010 and 2011 editions of New York Super Lawyers Magazine (Metro Edition).

Denise Pursley is the general counsel of the Long Island Housing Partnership, Inc. (“LIHP”), a nationally recognized nonprofit corporation facilitating the development of affordable and workforce housing on Long Island. She is an active member of several national and local organizations including CoreNet Global, the International Council of Shopping Centers (“ICSC”), the Women Economic Developers of Long Island (“WEDLI”) and the Association for a Better Long Island (“ABLI”). As a leader in her field, Denise Pursley has served as the chairperson of the Environmental Law Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association and is a member of the New York and Florida State bar associations. She is a frequent presenter and author on timely topics related to real estate, environmental and sustainable development.

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