Eugene J.M. Leone

Partner, Chicago, New York



Eugene "Gene" J.M. Leone is the Global Head of White & Case's Real Estate Industry Group. Based in the Chicago and New York offices, Gene is also a Partner in the Global M&A Practice Group. 

Gene represents some of the most recognizable names in real estate and has a track record of leading, structuring and executing complicated deal transactions for a broad universe of investors, including private equity, entrepreneurs and public companies. His practice focuses on all aspects of commercial real estate, including joint ventures, acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, financings and workouts.

A highly rated lawyer and sought-after speaker, Gene is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and the Real Estate Roundtable and frequently speaks on a variety of real estate topics at conferences around the country.

Bars and Courts
New York
US District Court for the Western District of New York
George Washington University
Cornell University


Gene's representative experiences prior to joining the Firm include:

The divestment of 16 hotels in multiple states from a large institutional investor's portfolio.

Land acquisition, entitlement, development, financing and construction matters for multi-family developments in Highland Park, Evanston and Oak Park, Illinois.

An institutional investor in the acquisition of a recently-developed Class A multi-family property in Charlotte, North Carolina. The developer and seller was Crescent Communities, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs.

The US$1.05 billion acquisition of eight regional malls in a joint venture format.

The financing of 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, New York.

The acquisition of a US$425 million Class A office property in Boston, Massachusetts.

The restructuring of assets owned by Cadillac Fairview.

The acquisition of the ground lease interest underlying the Drake Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

A large institutional investor in the purchase of four Marriott-flagged hotels, having a value in excess of $250 million, from Host Properties.

The acquisition of a 1,000 acre lakeside resort in Delavan, Wisconsin. The purchase included the resort, golf course operations, vehicles, concessions, liquor licenses, an airfield and Indian burial mounds.

One of the earliest public-to-private transactions - the acquisition by merger of Chateau Properties to create the largest privately-held owner of manufactured housing.

A sixteen-year odyssey involving the acquisition, financing (mortgage, mezzanine and preferred equity), redevelopment, leasing and sale of 401 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

The ground-up development of Union Tower, a 320,000-square-foot office property, in Chicago, Illinois. The successful acquisition, development, lease-up, financing and sale led to a follow-on project, Congress Center, a 550,000-square-foot ground-up development in Chicago's west loop.

The restructuring of an investment in 110,000 acres of timberland in northern Ontario, Canada.

The acquisition and simultaneous financing of a ninety-six property portfolio of industrial assets having a gross asset value of US$2.8 billion.

The acquisition by a joint venture of a real estate investment trust in order to facilitate the purchase of the Chicago Board of Trade Building.

The assemblage of a complete city block in Chicago's west loop for mixed-use development.

The acquisition of a US$165 million retail development in the Chicago suburbs, made possible by the assumption of special service area sales tax bonds.

The subdivision and partitioning of office parks in Columbus, Ohio, Fort Wright, Kentucky and Skokie, Illinois to create stand-alone medical office properties.

The assemblage of a downtown Atlanta site for development with office, residential and hotel properties.

Speaking Engagements

Moderator at Bisnow's Distressed Real Estate Opportunities Webinar – Finding Value & Avoiding Pitfalls, June 2020

Moderator at Bisnow's Virtual Town Hall with Pebblebrook Hotel Trust CEO Jon Bortz, April 2020

Moderator at Bisnow’s Hotel Leadership, Investment & Management Summit, Washington, DC, October 2019

Moderator at Bisnow’s Chicago Capital Markets & CRE Finance Conference, Chicago, July 2019

Moderator at Bisnow's Chicago Capital Markets Event, Chicago, March 2018

Moderator at Bisnow's Chicago Event, Chicago, May 2016

Moderator at Bisnow’s New York Capital Markets Summit, Interview with Barry Sternlicht (Starwood CEO), New York City, June 2015

Awards and Recognition

Martindale-Hubbell-AV rating (highest rating), 1993 – 2019

Chambers USA, Real Estate – Illinois: Band 1 Ranking (highest ranking), 2019 – 2020

Chicago Magazine "Super Lawyers", 2003 – 2018

The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2006 – 2020

International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers 2013 – 2020