Danielle Meltzer Cassel is a practicing attorney with more than twenty years of experience dedicated to transactional real estate, land use law, public incentives, and business licensing.
Since 1996, her work has covered a broad spectrum of property types in both urban and suburban contexts, including mixed-use developments, retail and office developments, hotels, hospitals, schools and universities, religious institutions, industrial parks, manufacturing facilities, billboard signage, and single-family and multifamily residential developments.
Ms. Cassel has represented purchasers and sellers, lessors and lessees, providers of debt and equity, developers, project operators and end users in transactions ranging from the beginning phases of due diligence, formation of joint ventures, design and construction, to the ongoing operations, leasing, licensing, disposition, redevelopment and refinancing of existing properties.
Ms. Cassel has obtained governmental approvals for several hundred land use, development and licensing projects, including numerous planned developments; vertical and horizontal subdivisions; annexations; disconnections; map and text amendments; special uses; variations; building permits; liquor, restaurant, hotel and other business licenses; landmark designations and historic preservation; legal nonconformities; public/private land transfers, including purchases, dedications, vacations, easements and privileges; rail access; and approvals for billboard, high-rise and street-front signage.
Ms. Cassel has negotiated and closed economic incentive components for several hundred projects nationwide, particularly for headquarters relocations; expansions and relocations of manufacturing facilities and distribution centers; large-scale retail and mixed-use developments; and affordable housing developments. Ms. Cassel’s incentive work has included tax increment financing; governmental grants and loans; sales and property tax rebates and abatements; bond financing; various state and federal tax credits, including the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and New Markets Tax Credit; impact fee and utility cost reductions; recapture agreements; and Opportunity Zones.
The elite Legal 500 United States inducted Ms. Cassel into their inaugural Hall of Fame (2017) for her six consecutive years of being recognized, nationwide, as a Legal 500 Leading Lawyer (Real Estate and Construction-Land Use/Zoning). Ms. Cassel also has been honored by Best Lawyers in America, Leading Lawyers Network and Chambers USA, which noted her “phenomenal brain and terrific client skills.” Ms. Cassel was a member of Leadership Greater Chicago’s Class of 2006 and has received a “Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” award from Public Allies Chicago and a Special Recognition Award from the Partnership to End Homelessness.
Ms. Cassel co-taught land use law seminars at Northwestern University Law School and University of Chicago Law School (1999–2008) and has been an invited speaker for the International Council of Shopping Centers, South Side Builders Association, Urban Land Institute, American Bar Association, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, John Marshall Law School, and Roosevelt University, among others.
Prior to joining Vedder Price, Ms. Cassel spent 13 years as an Associate and Partner with DLA and legacy firms. Prior to her legal career, she worked, studied and volunteered extensively in several fields related to urban economic development and service delivery by public and non-profit agents. Her most significant research efforts included multi year studies of the 1990 National Affordable Housing Act; Community Reinvestment Act collaborations among mortgage lenders and community-based institutions; and bridge loans for non-syndicated LIHTC projects.