Keith R. Barnett

Keith Barnett advises local, national and international clients in all aspects of commercial real estate, including real estate finance, development, acquisitions, sales and leasing. For almost 30 years he has represented a variety of clients, including some of the world's largest publicly traded and private retailers, investors, developers, pension fund advisors, life insurance companies and commercial banks in various real estate transactions. Recently, Mr. Barnett has led numerous high-profile hotel transactions and developments.

As a leading commercial real estate attorney, Mr. Barnett counsels clients on a wide range of legal and business real estate matters for clients across industries. Mr. Barnett represents United States-based retailers in all their real estate needs, including acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, permitting and development. He also advises clients in connection with numerous major real estate developments, such as hotel projects, retail developments, office buildings, biotechnology and high technology facilities, residential developments, warehouse and industrial facilities and academic buildings. In addition, Mr. Barnett has an active practice representing owners and tenants in connection with various leasing transactions as well as buyers and sellers in connection with both the acquisition and disposition of real estate in all asset classes.

In the area of real estate finance, Mr. Barnett has significant experience with traditional mortgage loans, mezzanine loans, preferred equity investments and so-called "bond leases," "synthetic leases" and other accounting and tax sensitive transactions. He is a leader in the firm's Distressed Real Estate Solutions Group, and advises clients in various positions with respect to options and opportunities, including loan workouts, foreclosure advice, and debt and equity restructurings. 

Professional Activities

Mr. Barnett regularly teaches and speaks on issues related to real estate law. For more than a decade, he has conducted graduate-level seminars for business, architecture and real estate students at MIT, New York University and Columbia University. Mr. Barnett also frequently teaches Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education courses on the basics of commercial real estate law and has presented to many in-house business and legal groups.

Mr. Barnett is also active in many professional organizations. He is a fellow of The American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and a member of the Government Affairs Committee of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the International Council of Shopping Centers and NAIOP and The Commercial Real Estate Development Association. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association and Boston Bar Association.

Community Involvement

Mr. Barnett is a member of the Board of Trustees and the Medical Credentials Committee of The New England Baptist Hospital and chairs the hospital’s Real Estate Committee. He has also been actively involved in various political campaigns at local, statewide and national levels.


    • Representation of developer of a 700 foot (approximately 60 story) tower in Boston's Back Bay which will include a Four Seasons Hotel and Four Seasons branded condominiums
    • Representation of international NYSE retail company in acquisition, permitting and development of several new stores and expansions throughout New England
    • Representation of developer in the acquisition, development and operation of the first and only five-star hotel in Iceland that will have 250 rooms and be located just steps from the harbor on Reykjavik's waterfront
    • Representation of developer of a luxury 300 room hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, financed in part by state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, a pension fund venture partner and a construction to mini-perm mortgage loan
    • Representation of a national retailer in the strategic re-use of various locations, including the sale of air rights and the development of mixed use projects
    • Representation of owner of a mixed-use commercial property in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a $160 million financing
    • Representation of institutional mortgage lender in approximately $200 million construction financing of high profile Boston development anchored by a major national big box retailer with separate residential and office towers above
    • Representation of owner/developer in the restructuring and recapitalization of the debt and equity positions in a luxury hotel
    • Representation of white knight who provided bridge financing and then purchased a majority of the assets in the mixed use development of a championship golf course and luxury residential community in north suburban Boston
    • Represented a regional real estate owner/operator in its formation of a joint venture with a pension fund-backed real estate capital partner for the acquisition of a 14-building, approximately 800,000 s.f. portfolio of commercial properties in the greater Boston area. Eight of the properties were acquired in a first-in-Massachusetts federal receivership sale of failed commercial mortgage backed securities collateral. Acquisition financing was provided through the joint venture's equity and acquisition and construction loans from regional banks.
    • Representation of developer of a 33 story, $500 million redevelopment in New Orleans, Louisiana; the project will consist of a Four Seasons Hotel, Four Seasons-branded condominiums and a museum/cultural component
    • Representation of two international life sciences companies in connection with the development and operation of their campuses and facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts 
    • Representation of pension fund advisors in the acquisition of multiple assisted living facilities, residential, retail and office projects
    • Representation of clients in the acquisition, financing and disposition of approximately $250 million of property in sale/leaseback transactions
    • Continued pro bono representation of The Walden Woods Project in connection with the preservation of almost 200 acres of environmentally sensitive land in Concord and Lincoln, Massachusetts


Mr. Barnett is consistently recognized for his "exemplary service" by some of the largest ranking publications in the industry and was recently described to Best Law Firms as having "the highest level of expertise and consistently provid[ing] wise counsel." Mr. Barnett and the firm were also described as "dedicated to serving the interests of its clients with unparalleled professionalism and commitment." His individual awards include:

  • Recognized for his "great depth of knowledge in real estate transactions" and as a "zealous advocate for his clients" in the commercial real estate space in the 20162019 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Selected by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of real estate law (2007–2020) and is described as a "great lawyer" providing "excellent service" with "the unique ability to 'think 360' and anticipate and overcome issues in all aspects of real estate"
  • Recommended in the 2016, 2017 and 2019 editions of the The Legal 500 United States for his real estate practice
  • Named a "New England Super Lawyer" in the area of real estate law in Boston Magazine (20042005, 20082015, 2017–2019)

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  • Education

    • JD, University of Michigan Law School, 1991

      magna cum laude Michigan Law Review, Order of the Coif
    • AB, Harvard University, 1988

      magna cum laude
  • Admissions

    • Massachusetts