Craig Coan, a highly respected and practical legal counselor, former accountant, and trader, applies entrepreneurial insight to create value in real estate deals for his varied, nationwide clients—developers, institutions, hedge funds, private equity portfolio companies, restauranteurs, and REITs.
“My experience as an options floor trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, trading my own money and running my own business, has provided me with a tremendous amount of insight into my clients’ businesses,” says Craig. “I had to make hundreds of decisions daily, with each one having a direct monetary consequence. Accordingly, I am not afraid to give my opinion to a client.”
The entrepreneurial empathy he developed running his own derivatives trading company—“sleepless nights worrying about where the market’s going, personal experiences that a lot of lawyers don’t have,” says Craig—motivates him to dig deep to solve his clients’ problems and get deals done. “I know how to think like an entrepreneur. In most cases I’m able to see the risk/reward the client sees, and identify what might be overlooked.”
No shortcuts. No one-size-fits-none. Craig is passionate about uncovering his client’s goals and needs, and works quickly to become a team asset.
“I do whatever I can to get clients what they want. To get them the results they need, but at the same recognizing the other party’s interests and goals and finding creative ways to reach agreement,” says Craig, which recently includes assisting clients in the acquisition and leasing of industrial properties throughout the country, negotiating leases and asset purchase agreements for restauranteurs, disposing of REO properties, representing borrowers in a multitude of financing transactions, and representing a long-term skilled-nursing and senior-housing REIT in the acquisition, lease-back, and development of facilities throughout the country.
Accounting and tax skills in real estate transactions
A former CPA with a Big Eight accounting firm, Craig approaches each matter as if his own money is at stake, often applying his accounting and tax skills in the process. For example, when the real estate market took a dive a decade ago, a client lost a large office building to foreclosure and was hit with a huge tax liability that he could not pay.
“I was able to come up with a creative solution, combining my background in tax along with my real estate expertise, that gave him the tax protection he needed,” says Craig. “Even though I’m not a tax practitioner, I look at everything from a holistic approach.”
That holistic approach applies across a broad spectrum of real estate transactions in which Craig boasts significant experience: acquiring and disposing of distressed assets; office, retail, and industrial leasing on behalf of landlords and tenants; handling development matters; representing borrowers in financing transactions; and overseeing tax-free exchanges.
Greenberg Glusker homecoming
A Miami native, Craig’s legal career has been circuitous, literally, starting at Greenberg Glusker in 1986 after his graduating cum laude from the Northwestern University School of Law. However, three years later he returned to Chicago and, after handling real estate matters for a law firm there, became an options trader on Chicago Board Options Exchange. Some 15 years later, Craig returned to legal practice in Chicago before his Greenberg Glusker homecoming in 2015.
“I always regretted leaving Greenberg Glusker and when I had the opportunity to come back here as a partner, I was very happy,” says Craig. “There are still a lot of people here today that were here when I left in 1989. When people ask, ‘What is it like today?’ I say, ‘The lawyers are much smarter and better than I remembered.’”