Amy R. Forbes has spent her entire legal career at and is Co-Partner in Charge of the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Ms. Forbes’ practice is concentrated on land use planning issues, including zoning, planning, the California Environmental Quality Act, and municipal law. The primary focus of her land use practice is at the administrative level, including the negotiation of agreements with local governments and redevelopment agencies, the supervision of the preparation of environmental documentation, the processing of entitlements through public hearings and community meetings and other administrative proceedings, as well as legal issues associated with project development and construction. In addition to her extensive land use experience, Ms. Forbes has a solid grounding in eminent domain and CEQA litigation.
During a one-year leave of absence from the firm in 1988-89, she had the honor and opportunity to work on land use planning issues at the Crown Property Bureau, the agency of the Thai government which manages the King of Thailand's property, under a Luce Foundation Fellowship.
Ms. Forbes graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from Princeton University in 1980 (earning a certification in the transportation program) and from the University of Southern California School of Law in 1984, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif. The Daily Journal named her as one of “California’s Top 50 Development Lawyers” as well as one of the “Top Women Lawyers” in 2014 and she was featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Angelenos to Know in Real Estate Law” in July, 2013. Best Lawyers named Ms. Forbes Los Angeles Land Use & Zoning Law Lawyer of the Year 2012. She has been listed in the Legal 500 and editions of The Best Lawyers in America® since 2010. Ms. Forbes has been ranked in Chambers USA since 2006, and is currently a Tier 1 lawyer, the highest rank. Since 2005, she has been named a Southern California SuperLawyer. From 1990 to 1996, she was on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Conservancy, the largest local preservation organization in the country, serving as President of the organization from 1993-1996. She has also served on the Board of the USC School of Architecture Guild and the Los Angeles Free Clinic. She is a member of the Center Theatre Group Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and has provided more than 20 years of pro bono real estate advice and other service to the organization (which operates the theatres in the Los Angeles Music Center downtown and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, which is a rehabilitated movie theatre, and a project Ms. Forbes worked on pro bono for almost 10 years). She is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.
- Representing Fifteen Group, LLC in its redevelopment of Wyvernwood Garden Apartments in Los Angeles, one of the largest privately owned housing complexes west of Chicago. The existing housing complex consists of 1,187 multi-family units, on 68 acres. As part of a community-based planning process, the entire site is being replanned and zoned. Future development plans are anticipated to involve a $2 billion redevelopment of the site, with 4,400 units of housing and 300,000 square feet of mixed commercial/retail uses, and more than 10 acres of improved public open space and parks. The approval process is ongoing, and hearings on project approvals are expected to begin in third quarter 2013.
- Represent Freeport-McMoRan Oil and Gas (FMOG)in their ongoing land use matters at the Inglewood oilfield. Currently working through issues raised by proposed Culver City ordinance to ban Hydraulic Fracturing at the field.
- Lead real estate and land use counsel, MidAmerican Energy Holdings (a holding company controlled by Berkshire Hathaway), in the acquisition and subsequent financing of the $2 billion Topaz Solar Farm project from First Solar. The Topaz transaction involved an excess of 20,000 acres and was one of the largest energy deals in 2011. Subsequently, represented MidAmerican as sponsor, and Topaz Solar Farms, as issuer, in the $1.195 billion financing by Topaz Solar Farms that was recognized as the 2012 North American Solar Deal of the Year and the largest renewables bond financing ever. Currently serving as counsel for the implementation and development of the solar installation, as well as counsel on assorted wind and other renewable energy transactions.
- Representing CIM in numerous land use projects throughout West Hollywood and Los Angeles, including successful modification in 2013 of project entitlements for Millennium Project at Sunset/La Cienega in West Hollywood to permit design changes and development of additional retail square footage.
- Land use counsel to El Toro/Heritage Fields, the venture undertaking the redevelopment of the El Toro air base in Irvine, California. The centerpiece of the development is the so-called “Great Park,” a more than 1,000-acre municipal park, to be funded in part by development of approximately 5,000 residential units planned for private development.
- Currently representing Madison Square Garden in their acquisition and renovation of the Forum in Inglewood, including the successful conclusion of negotiations for an $18 million subsidy from the City of Inglewood, and permitting in connection with its more than $50 million renovation as a premier concert venue. Also negotiated long-term lease rights for overflow parking on underutilized City property adjacent to the Forum.
- Pro bono counsel to Grand Hope Park, which ground leases and operates a 2.5-acre park in Downtown Los Angeles, and assisting the non-profit’s efforts to assert claims arising from the elimination of redevelopment agencies in California.
- Lead counsel representing Hollywood Park Land Company in successful process to secure unanimous approval of redevelopment of the 238-acre Hollywood Park Racetrack with a new mixed-used community. The multibillion-dollar project, located in the City of Inglewood, is composed of approximately 3,000 housing units, 620,000 square feet of retail, a hotel, a card room, a 4-acre school or civic site, and 25 acres of public parks and open space, all centered around a lake and waterfall. The redevelopment implements cutting-edge sustainable design strategies that emphasize conservation, efficiency and the use of quality, durable products. Project approvals were obtained in July 2009. Currently working on completion of infrastructure utilizing innovation EB-5 financing, for commencement of construction in 2014.
- Lead counsel representing Bay Meadows Land Company in the ongoing development of Bay Meadows, a major mixed-use, transit-oriented development in the Bay Area. The large master planned community has major sustainability features, including bioswales and parks that double as storm water retention and filtering. Bay Meadows has a unique “transit-oriented development” trip budget that imposes strict limits on the amount of traffic that the project can generate, and mandates design and operational measures to reach ambitious goals for non-automobile transportation in and out of the site.