People: Juan D. Reyes, III, Partner

Photo of Juan D. Reyes, III, Partner

Juan D. Reyes, III

Partner

New York
Direct: (212) 218-3365
0

Juan D. Reyes is a partner in the Real Estate department and Public-Private Partnerships (P3) practice of Seyfarth Shaw LLP's New York office.  He concentrates his practice in land use, development, finance, and permitting, with particular experience in zoning, planning, landmark and building code matters, and governmental funding and approvals.  Mr. Reyes possesses a unique skillset in that he is able to develop critical frameworks for public projects based upon the crucial and complex aspects of zoning, land use, government approvals and funding.

In 2017, Mr. Reyes accepted an opportunity to serve the federal government in the position of Acting Administrator and Chief Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and senior advisor and counsel to the Build America Bureau of the U.S. Department of Transportation. During his tenure as Acting Administrator, Mr. Reyes oversaw the agency’s staff of 950 and its $3 billion budget. He was the principal legal advisor to the FRA on all U.S. passenger and freight rail matters, including safety regulations, legislation, research, and development. Mr. Reyes managed a legal department of 50 attorneys and provided executive direction to its two other divisions, the general law division and the safety law division.

In his role as Chief Counsel, Mr. Reyes assisted with an array of multi-billion dollar U.S. rail upgrades, including the $24 billion Northeast corridor improvement project, the Hudson Tunnel Environmental Impact Statements, development of federally funded Amtrak Stations in major cities throughout the country, Chicago’s billion dollar Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) project, and the development of a successful strategic plan to mandate the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on 41 railroads. Additionally, Mr. Reyes reviewed, advised and developed regulations for Elon Musk’s proposed “Hyperloop” and “Electric Skate” technologies, and high speed rail projects in Texas, Florida, California and the Northeast. Mr. Reyes was active on Capitol Hill for the FRA as well, where he participated in five Congressional hearings and testified before Congress’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

As senior advisor and counsel to the Build America Bureau, Mr. Reyes advised on Private Activity Bonds (PABs), Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans, Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans, and funding for all modes of transportation. Also, as a member of the Credit and Finance Council, he was final decision maker for Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. He was also a member of the senior review team (SRT) at the U.S. Department of Transportation which awarded all of the Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) and Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD, formerly TIGER) grants.

Mr. Reyes served on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s internal committee for autonomous vehicle and emerging technology rulemaking, White House Committee on 5G technology, Northeast Corridor Commission, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) streamlining, Regulatory Reform Task Force, Board of Union Station, and was instrumental in forming the Non-Traditional Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council. Mr. Reyes rejoined the firm in January, 2019.

Mr. Reyes advised the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and has relationships with organizations in the Native American community including the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, the Sonoma County Indian Health Project, the Yochadehe Dehe Wintun Nation, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, the Department of Health and Human Services Tribal Advisory Committee, the National Indian Health Board, and the California Rural Indian Health Board.

Before joining Seyfarth and the FRA, and complementing his comprehensive public funding knowledge, Mr. Reyes had significant executive branch experience, previously serving as General Counsel to the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals, and Counsel to the New York City Loft Board, Office of the Mayor.  Mr. Reyes counsels an array of clients involving regulatory and discretionary governmental approvals.  He has obtained variances and rezonings throughout New York City and, in particular, lower Manhattan and Tribeca.  His clients include residential and commercial developers and national retailers, as well as not-for-profit institutions, corporations, educational institutions, restaurants and entertainment facilities.  Mr. Reyes works closely with legislative leaders, City agencies and administrative departments in New York City.

The knowledge, information and relationships Mr. Reyes has developed and maintained in both public and private development are of exceptional value to clients.  His years of experience have provided him with a keen understanding of the ins and outs of the operation and requirements of Federal, State and municipal government.  Mr. Reyes has successfully advocated on behalf of many corporations, institutions, investment funds, associations and service organizations.  He provides continual up-to-date monitoring of Federal, State and local government actions, and regularly reports to clients on the implications and effects of these developments.

Juan D. Reyes is a partner in the Real Estate department and Public-Private Partnerships (P3) practice of Seyfarth Shaw LLP's New York office.  He concentrates his practice in land use, development, finance, and permitting, with particular experience in zoning, planning, landmark and building code matters, and governmental funding and approvals.  Mr. Reyes possesses a unique skillset in that he is able to develop critical frameworks for public projects based upon the crucial and complex aspects of zoning, land use, government approvals and funding.

In 2017, Mr. Reyes accepted an opportunity to serve the federal government in the position of Acting Administrator and Chief Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and senior advisor and counsel to the Build America Bureau of the U.S. Department of Transportation. During his tenure as Acting Administrator, Mr. Reyes oversaw the agency’s staff of 950 and its $3 billion budget. He was the principal legal advisor to the FRA on all U.S. passenger and freight rail matters, including safety regulations, legislation, research, and development. Mr. Reyes managed a legal department of 50 attorneys and provided executive direction to its two other divisions, the general law division and the safety law division.

In his role as Chief Counsel, Mr. Reyes assisted with an array of multi-billion dollar U.S. rail upgrades, including the $24 billion Northeast corridor improvement project, the Hudson Tunnel Environmental Impact Statements, development of federally funded Amtrak Stations in major cities throughout the country, Chicago’s billion dollar Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) project, and the development of a successful strategic plan to mandate the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on 41 railroads. Additionally, Mr. Reyes reviewed, advised and developed regulations for Elon Musk’s proposed “Hyperloop” and “Electric Skate” technologies, and high speed rail projects in Texas, Florida, California and the Northeast. Mr. Reyes was active on Capitol Hill for the FRA as well, where he participated in five Congressional hearings and testified before Congress’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

As senior advisor and counsel to the Build America Bureau, Mr. Reyes advised on Private Activity Bonds (PABs), Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans, Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans, and funding for all modes of transportation. Also, as a member of the Credit and Finance Council, he was final decision maker for Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. He was also a member of the senior review team (SRT) at the U.S. Department of Transportation which awarded all of the Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (INFRA) and Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD, formerly TIGER) grants.

Mr. Reyes served on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s internal committee for autonomous vehicle and emerging technology rulemaking, White House Committee on 5G technology, Northeast Corridor Commission, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) streamlining, Regulatory Reform Task Force, Board of Union Station, and was instrumental in forming the Non-Traditional Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council. Mr. Reyes rejoined the firm in January, 2019.

Mr. Reyes advised the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and has relationships with organizations in the Native American community including the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, the Sonoma County Indian Health Project, the Yochadehe Dehe Wintun Nation, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, the Department of Health and Human Services Tribal Advisory Committee, the National Indian Health Board, and the California Rural Indian Health Board.

Before joining Seyfarth and the FRA, and complementing his comprehensive public funding knowledge, Mr. Reyes had significant executive branch experience, previously serving as General Counsel to the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals, and Counsel to the New York City Loft Board, Office of the Mayor.  Mr. Reyes counsels an array of clients involving regulatory and discretionary governmental approvals.  He has obtained variances and rezonings throughout New York City and, in particular, lower Manhattan and Tribeca.  His clients include residential and commercial developers and national retailers, as well as not-for-profit institutions, corporations, educational institutions, restaurants and entertainment facilities.  Mr. Reyes works closely with legislative leaders, City agencies and administrative departments in New York City.

The knowledge, information and relationships Mr. Reyes has developed and maintained in both public and private development are of exceptional value to clients.  His years of experience have provided him with a keen understanding of the ins and outs of the operation and requirements of Federal, State and municipal government.  Mr. Reyes has successfully advocated on behalf of many corporations, institutions, investment funds, associations and service organizations.  He provides continual up-to-date monitoring of Federal, State and local government actions, and regularly reports to clients on the implications and effects of these developments.

Education

  • J.D., Quinnipiac University School of Law (1995)

  • B.A., Emory University (1990)

Admissions

  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • England and Wales

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court

Affiliations

  • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)
  • International Council of Shopping Centers (“ICSC”) Government Relations Committee
  • The Browning School Alumni Council
  • St. David’s School Alumni Council
  • Member, Young Lawyers Committees, Interfaith and Civil Rights Committees for the Anti-Defamation League

Representative Engagements

Public Private Partnership

  • LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal Development Project

Representative Land Use Approvals

New York City

  • 84 White Street - New York, New York - Completed an application to amend the zoning for two city blocks bounded by Broadway, Walker, Lafayette and White Streets in the Borough of Manhattan from manufacturing to residential and commercial. The rezoning was changed from the current M1-5 zone to a C6-2A zone, a medium-density, contextual commercial zone allowing for a range of commercial, residential, retail and community facility uses.
  • 415 Washington Street - New York, New York - Obtained a variance for a 5.0 FAR residential building which was not permitted in a M1-5 zoning district (manufacturing zone). The project was within the Tribeca Mixed Use District. The site had formerly been a parking lot and a gas station.
  • 2614 Halperin Avenue, Bronx, New York - Obtained a special permit from the Board of Standards and Appeals to reduce the required parking for the headquarters of a community facility by fifty percent. This allowed the community facility to combine two sites into one efficient site in the Bronx.
  • 108 South Street - New York, New York - Obtained approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to significantly expand a historic building in a historic district which was proposed to be converted to a residential use and had formerly housed a fish vender in the South Street Seaport Market.
  • 414 Washington Street - New York, New York - Participated in a rezoning of several blocks south of the Holland Tunnel from manufacturing to mixed commercial and residential use through the Department of City Planning . I was able to maximize the client's zoning interests in the site and obtain approval for a 5.5 FAR building with a 85 foot street wall even though there was intense community opposition to down zone the site to 5.0 with a 65 foot street wall. The site had previously been a parking lot.
  • 408 Greenwich Street - New York, New York - Variance for a 7.99 FAR residential building which was not permitted in a M1-5 zoning district (manufacturing zone) . The underlying zoning only allowed a 5.0 FAR building. The project was within the Tribeca Mixed Use District. The site had formerly been an automobile glass manufacturing business. 
  • 225-227 West 60th Street - New York, New York - Variance for a 10.0 FAR residential building with a college located on the first two floors which was not permitted in a M1-5 zoning district (manufacturing zone). The underlying zoning only allowed a 5.0 FAR building. The approved project contained a two story women's college with a full basement and 81 residential apartments above. The site had formerly been a parking lot and a taxi repair operation. 
  • 13 Crosby Street - New York, New York -   Variance for a ground floor retail use not allowed under the current zoning in SoHo.
  • 135 East 36th Street New York, New York Permanent Mission of the Republic of Namibia to the United Nations - Successfully obtained approval from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for a completely new building for the Mission’s New York City Headquarters.  The project was fully approved despite issues that necessitated taking the entire original building down instead of only a portion of the building as had been originally approved.

Outside of New York City

  • Wal Mart Store - Ellenville, New York - Approval of a 140,000 square foot Supercenter. Site plan was approved for the construction of a new store and a negative declaration was approved so that there were no requirement for further environmental review of the project.
  • Wal Mart Store - East Patchogue New York - Currently working on an application for 130,000 square foot store to be approved.

Presentations

  • “A Land Use and Zoning Case Study: Hudson Yards,” Seminar, Cardozo Real Estate Law Association (November 21, 2013)
  • “Sustainability, Superstorm Sandy and the System: Navigating Zoning Issues” Seyfarth Shaw Breakfast Briefing, New York City (June 19, 2013)

Publications

  • Co-Author, "The ReaList - Volume 1, Edition 2," Newsletter, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (May 12, 2017)