Practice Areas
  • University of Illinois Law School, J.D., 1980
  • North Central College, B.A., cum laude, 1977
Bar & Court Admissions
  • State of Illinois

Suzanne Bessette-Smith

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T. 312.984.3122
F. 312.984.3150

As co-chair of the Firm's Real Estate Group, Suzanne concentrates her practice on commercial real estate and related corporate, securities and business planning matters. Her practice includes a particular emphasis on publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).  She also has significant experience in both (a) the formation of joint ventures that combine developers and other real estate professionals with institutional financial partners and (b) commercial development, including build-to-suit projects and related financing activities. Additionally, Suzanne’s practice includes experience with Shari’ah-compliant financings, multi-jurisdictional portfolio financings, tax-deferred exchanges, leasing, acquisitions and dispositions. Suzanne also is a member of the boards of several not-for-profit organizations and works with those organizations on a pro bono basis.

In 2012, clients raved to Chambers USA that they have "the highest regard" for Suzanne. She also was selected for inclusion in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Representative Clients

  • Alliance Partners HSP, LLC
  • Duke Realty Corp. (NYSE: DRE)
  • First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: FR)

Representative Matters

  • Alliance Partners HSP, LLC

    Acquisition and financing of central business district office buildings in Chicago, Charlotte, Nashville and Columbus (Ohio), including, in one instance, the assumption of an ongoing construction project and TIF financing.

    Financing of multiple “credit tenant” leases with loans made by institutional investors that fund the loans through the purchase of rated certificates.

    Acquisition, financing and redevelopment of distressed commercial properties, include a portfolio of REO industrial/office/distribution properties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

    Negotiation of $100,000,000 revolving credit facility.

    Restructuring of TIC ownership of Midwestern medical office building and refinancing of that property.

  • First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc.

    Negotiation of company’s primary revolving credit facility.

    Coordination and acquisition of an assemblage of 12 contiguous parcels in California for redevelopment for industrial purposes.

    Negotiation of numerous single tenant sale and leaseback transactions.

    Negotiation of single tenant, 15 year, triple net lease for 692,000 square foot project.

    Negotiation of numerous joint venture relationships, together with the acquisition and financing of properties by those joint ventures, some of which acquisitions involved Shari’ah-compliant financing.

  • Duke Realty Corp.

    Development of lease for utilization in solar leasing project.

    Acquisition and development of Northeastern site.

Professional Activities and Honors

  • Selected, Real Estate Law, Best Lawyers in America® (2008-2017)
  • Selected, Illinois Super Lawyers (2007-2017)
  • Ranked, Illinois Real Estate, Chambers USA (2008-2016)
  • Selected, Leading Lawyers Network (2004-2016)
    • Top Ten Women: Real Estate (2015-2016)
    • Real Estate Law: Commercial
    • Real Estate Law: Finance
    • Top 100 Women Business Lawyers, Women's Edition (2012)
  • Member, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)
  • Instructor, Advanced Real Estate Transactions, Northwestern University School of Law (2001-2008)