Benjamin F. Needell
Benjamin F. Needell focuses his practice on real estate development, purchase and sale transactions, financings, securitized real estate loans, real estate investment trusts, syndications, major headquarters leases, hotel operation, development and financing, and matters relating to pension fund investments in real estate.


Mr. Needell has represented such clients as Boston Properties; Calvin Klein; The Clarett Group; ING Real Estate; the estate of Ahmet Ertegun; The Georgetown Group; Howard Parnes; the Helmsley Charitable Trust; Orient-Express Hotels; Ian Schrager; André Balazs; Larry Silverstein; Wenner Media, Inc.; The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the Empire State Development Corporation; Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation; Madison Square Garden; The Howard Hughes Corporation; Xin Zhang; The Shed; and the estate of Leona M. Helmsley.

He has advised many major real estate developers in the acquisition, construction and development of properties. For example, Mr. Needell has handled developments by The Clarett Group, Larry Silverstein, Ian Schrager, André Balazs and The Howard Hughes Corporation. Mr. Needell also represented ING in its investment in The New York Times headquarters development at 41st Street and 8th Avenue.

Representing buyers or sellers of real estate has always been an important part of Mr. Needell’s practice. Mr. Needell represented The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the privatization of the World Trade Center. Mr. Needell also handled the sale of the Carlyle Hotel, the sale of 450 Park Avenue, the purchase of 399 Park Avenue and the purchase of Governors Island. He also represented Sony Corporation of America in the $1.1 billion sale of its U.S. headquarters building at 550 Madison Avenue in Manhattan to a consortium led by The Chetrit Group, LLC.

Mr. Needell has led teams in completing some of the largest headquarters transactions in the history of New York City, including negotiated economic development benefits granted by the city and state of New York to Reuters, Credit Suisse First Boston, Ernst & Young, NASD (now FINRA), New York Board of Trade, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (now Credit Suisse), Prudential Securities, Citigroup, Newsweek, Brown Brothers Harriman, Viacom and Bank of America. Other major headquarters transactions include deals for KPMG Peat Marwick, Pershing, Nomura, Price Waterhouse, SONY and GroupM.

Skadden’s Real Estate department also has been very active in real estate investment trusts (REITs), with transactions completed for more than 20 initial public offerings for Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney Shearson, Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse First Boston and Prudential Securities. In addition, the Real Estate department has represented AIMCO, Westfield and Boston Properties, three of the nation’s largest REITs. Mr. Needell also represented the estate of Leona M. Helmsley and the related charitable trust in the organization of the Empire State Realty Trust Inc., a new publicly traded REIT.

In addition to real estate matters, Mr. Needell has represented Wenner Media, Inc., and the New York Restoration Project, a not-for-profit organized by Bette Midler to purchase community gardens for the benefit of its land trust and renovate neglected New York City parks.

Mr. Needell has been included in the PLC Cross-border Corporate Real Estate Handbook, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Who’s Who Legal, The Legal 500 United States and The Best Lawyers in America for real estate law. He also was named Best Lawyers’ "2013 New York City Real Estate Lawyer of the Year."



  • LL.B., St. John's University, 1966 (Editorial Board, St. John Law Review)
  • B.A., Rutgers University, 1963


  • New York


  • Member, Board of Directors, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986-Present)
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (1990-Present)
  • Wenner Media, Inc. (1978-Present)
  • Stratton Mountain School (1980-2012), Chairman (1988-1993)
  • New York Restoration Project (2002-Present), Chairman (2002-Present)
  • Westchester Land Trust (2001-Present)

Benjamin F. Needell