Philadelphia Zoning & Land Use Attorney
A partner in Obermayer’s Business & Finance Department, Darwin focuses his practice on zoning and land use as well as local government affairs. Darwin represents real estate owners, developers, and investors in a wide variety of development and construction projects including residential, commercial, corporate, and alternative energy.
Darwin is certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED® AP). This designation gives him an industry-leading understanding of green building practices and principles. In his practice, Darwin works closely with elected officials and municipal agencies for the benefit of his clients.
In his free time, Darwin enjoys reading and watching anything science fiction.
Darwin has extensive experience in a broad range of land use matters, such as obtaining permits and other land use approvals for residential, commercial, and industrial developments; zoning hearing board applications; variances; special exceptions; subdivision approvals; building permits, and historic preservation.
Some of Darwin’s most notable accomplishments include:
- Obtained approvals for phase I of a multibillion-dollar development deal redefining several acres within Philadelphia for a mixed-use development project. Successfully negotiated the developer’s multimillion-dollar community benefits agreement.
- Obtained entitlements for a nationwide REIT through legislative amendments to the local Zoning Code.
- Represented a leading cancer research center in obtaining legislative approval to expand with restrictive city-owned parkland.
- Represented developers who build affordable housing using low-income tax credits.
- Represented commercial and retail banks expanding in the City of Philadelphia.
- Assisted a national real estate investment trust in receiving entitlements for a multi-story high-rise in Center City Philadelphia.
- Represented a local development company in the acquisition, development, and financing of 20 parcels for a low-income tax credit project using funds awarded by the state’s PA Housing Finance Agency.
- Assisted a local development company in the redevelopment of a historic property into a hotel and entertainment venue in North Philadelphia. The project was financed partially with a multi-million-dollar grant through Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program.
- Represented a large provider of behavioral health services in Philadelphia in connection with back taxes owed to the Commonwealth. As a result, a quarter of the debt was forgiven; the balance is to be paid over five years; and the organization can continue to serve over 6,000 clients annually with services ranging from drug and alcohol counseling to adult and children’s mental health services, regardless of income.
- Represented a local community development corporation in the leasing and management of a shopping center in North Philadelphia.
Darwin was appointed by Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker to serve on her Transition Team as a member of the Housing, Planning, and Development Committee.
Throughout his career, Darwin has been recognized by his peers and the legal community for his exceptional work. His acknowledgments include:
- Named to City & State’s 2022 “Pennsylvania Power 100”
- Selected to The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Real Estate Law; Land Use and Zoning Law, 2022-2024
- Listed in City & State PA Fifty Over 50; “Lifetime Achievement Award”, 2021
- Listed in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, 2016–2020
- Philadelphia Business Journal “Best of the Bar”, 2017
- Philadelphia Business Journal “Minority Business Leader Award”, 2014
- Received National Diversity Council’s Multicultural Leadership Award, 2012
Darwin is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association Real Property Section, the Urban Land Institute, and the Philadelphia Real Estate Alliance. He is a founding board member of the African American Real Estate Professionals in Philadelphia and serves on the board of Visit Philadelphia, as well as on the Government Affairs Committee of NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association).