Lafe Metz is the chair of Buchanan’s Real Estate Practice Group. He focuses his practice on commercial real estate transactions, development, finance and leasing, with emphasis on transactional planning to minimize tax consequences. He has extensive experience representing wind farms and other alternative energy clients. Lafe also devotes significant time to representing taxpayers in state and local tax litigation.
In his real estate work, Lafe has recently:
- Represented the buyer of a $200 million casino.
- Represented the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County in the development of CONSOL Energy Center, the new Pittsburgh Penguins Arena, as well as the Cambria Suites Hotel at CONSOL Energy Center.
- Represented the buyers of $80 million, $40 million and $25 million office buildings in Pittsburgh, downtown and on the North Shore.
- Represented a nationally recognized bank in the $40 million sale-leaseback of 50 bank branches.
- Represented the developer of a 52.5 MW wind farm in Somerset County, Pa. with respect to leasing, development and land-use issues.
- Represented the developer of a 30 MW wind farm in Cambria County, Pa. regarding leasing and title issues, negotiating mutual use agreements with gas and coal companies, and the sale of the project.
- Represented the developer of significant wind farms in Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
- Negotiated leases on behalf of a fine arts storage company with Harvard University and The Smithsonian Institute.
- Represented the August Wilson Center in connection with the development of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in downtown Pittsburgh.
- Handled land use issues for the expansion of toll roads in Northeast Pennsylvania.
- Overcame a zoning challenge to reopen a juvenile detention facility in rural Pennsylvania.
- Handled land use and tax issues in connection with the conversion of a hotel to university dormitories in Western Pennsylvania.
- Represented the seller of $15 million of Utica gas leases in Ohio.
Among Lafe's recent tax work, he has:
- Obtained a real estate tax exemption for a $150 million continuing care retirement community in Western Pennsylvania, notwithstanding its entrance fees between $200,000 and $600,000.
- Represented property owners in property tax appeals for a $200 million casino, $125 million and $95 million office buildings, $35 million apartment complex, $25 million shopping center and $20 million industrial facility, in addition to representing universities, hospitals, airlines, golf courses, social clubs, warehouses and self-storage facilities in tax appeal and tax exemption matters.
- Obtained a sales and use tax exemption for a large teaching hospital in Philadelphia, which will save several million dollars per year in taxes.
- Restored a tax exemption for the 100-acre campus of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Western Pennsylvania following its revocation by the county, savings the Sisters $500,000 per year.
- Won a case of first impression in Pennsylvania in which the trial court upheld Clean & Green preferential real estate tax assessment for tracts of timberland owned by a country club.
- Represented dozens of Fortune 500 companies in Pennsylvania state and local tax controversies before Pennsylvania courts and administrative boards.
- Negotiated a PILOT agreement on behalf of a newly renovated, university-owned sports facility and faculty club in Pittsburgh.
- Negotiated a PILOT agreement on behalf of a university-owned sports complex in Western Pennsylvania that includes multiple hockey rinks, a golf dome, track and field, and fitness center.
- Supervised a 12-member team that secured $3 million in tax refunds for a major rail company.
- Obtained more than $1 million in tax penalty abatement in an embezzlement case.
Prior to joining Buchanan, Lafe was a tax associate in a Philadelphia-based law firm, where he conducted hearings before state and local courts and boards; drafted partnership and LLC agreements, tax settlement agreements, tax opinions, proposed legislation, ruling requests and voluntary disclosures; and negotiated tax settlements with the IRS and state and local revenue departments.
In 2004-2005, Lafe studied Spanish in Guatemala, becoming proficient in the language.
Lafe is a past president of Pittsburgh Squash and a past board member of the Allegheny County Library Association.