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Creating positive impact in our communities through increasing equity, access, and opportunity.
Bruce Baker co-leads the firm’s Campus Infrastructure & Community Development team. He focuses on the construction aspects of real estate development and financing projects.
I represent owners, developers and lenders in connection with the structuring and negotiation of EPC, design/build, design and construction contracts for complex projects in all asset classes, ranging from commercial and institutional buildings to sports stadiums, toll roads and airport terminals as well as power plants and process manufacturing facilities. Most of the clients I represent are in the higher education, power generation and food/beverage manufacturing industries. In addition to structuring and negotiating design and construction agreements, I represent clients in negotiating development and joint venture agreements, contract interpretation and claims consulting and performance security matters.
How can colleges and universities partner with their surrounding communities to build facilities that support the economic health of the area? What ways can academic institutions leverage private financing—or public programs—to build these facilities? I am intrigued by the interaction between academic institutions and their surrounding communities and how this factors into campus development projects, especially in urban locations where space is precious.
Over the past ten years, I have been actively involved in some of the largest and most visible P3 projects in the U.S., generally from the perspective of meshing the concessionaire’s design and construction obligations with the analogous provisions of the EPC/design-build contract and key subcontracts. I recently was a lead member of the team that represented Cook County in negotiating a ground lease and redevelopment agreement for a parcel near Stroger Hospital that will provide for the redevelopment of the century-old Cook County Hospital into a mixed-use facility.
Over a period of several years, we represented Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (a subsidiary of Avangrid) in all aspects of the remediation and demolition of two legacy coal-fired power plants in the Rochester, NY, area, as well as the auctioning of two smaller peaking units located elsewhere in Western New York. Our Energy/Environmental and Real Estate groups handled all aspects of the demolition process, including environmental, land use, site access, and the bidding and negotiation of a series of contracts, including contracts for construction management, engineering services, and demolition. Demolition was successfully completed in 2017, and we have been involved in follow-on advice dealing with change orders, claims, permitting questions, and contract administration matters. I was the co-lead partner (along with an environmental partner) addressing the real estate and construction aspects of this project.
I think we are at an inflection point, similar to the decade of the 1950s, for broad classes of infrastructure in the U.S. Thousands of our bridges, roadways and tunnels are functionally obsolete. Hundreds of coal-fired power plants are being decommissioned and will soon have to be demolished. Many of our colleges and universities are beginning to realize that not all of them will survive into the next generation, unless they transform themselves into resource centers for whole communities. Animating both new construction and “deconstruction” is a push by users, designers, municipalities and lenders for sustainable design and efficient recycling/reclamation.
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
Harvard Law School, J.D.
University of Pennsylvania, B.A.
Bruce Baker currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Additionally, Bruce Baker is a member of the Monroe County, New York State, and American bar associations, including the Construction Industry Forum. He is a past chairman of the Business Law Section of the Monroe County Bar Association, a past chairman of the Business Law Section of the New York State Bar Association and a past chairman of that Section’s Banking Law Committee. He speaks and writes regularly on banking and construction law issues and has guest-lectured at programs sponsored by the Independent Bankers Association of New York, the New York Bankers Association, the Institute for Professional Development, Infocast, and the New York State and Monroe County Bar Associations. His articles have appeared in The New York Law Journal, the Rochester Business Journal, and other publications.
Bruce was selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023 in the field of Construction Law; Project Finance Law; and Real Estate Law. Bruce has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2018.
Bruce has been recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2022 for Real Estate (New York (Upstate)). He has been recognized by Chambers since 2017. Bruce has also been regularly named to the Upstate New York Super Lawyers list, most recently in 2016 and 2017. His primary area of practice is real estate and construction law. He was recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2019 edition for Real estate - Construction (including construction litigation).
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