Maria Pracher is special counsel in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco office.
Areas of Practice
Maria’s practice focuses on land use and environmental law, representing landowners, developers and institutions in obtaining local, state and federal entitlements and permit approvals. A significant part of her practice involves counseling clients, consultants and agencies on compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Maria has represented clients in obtaining approvals for specific plans, master plans, multi-phased development plans, large residential and commercial projects, mixed-use projects, hotels, oil developments, coastal resorts, landfill projects and urban redevelopment projects.
Ms. Pracher has provided the land use entitlement and CEQA advice for the developers of the following recent major projects in the Bay Area:
Candlestick Point/Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II Project, San Francisco
Ms. Pracher represented Lennar in connection with the EIR prepared for the development of the 700-acre CandlestickPoint/Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II project. This project will create a major new neighborhood in San Francisco with 10,500 residential units, over 300 acres of parks and open space, 885,000 square feet of regional and neighborhood retail space, artist space, 2,650,000 square feet of research and development space, new infrastructure and community facilities, significant community benefits and the opportunity for a new football stadium. The EIR received the 2011 Hard-Won Victories award from both the California American Planning Association and the Northern California Section of the APA.
Hunters Point Shipyard Phase I, San Francisco
Ms. Pracher represented Lennar in connection with the environmental review and local entitlements for the first phase of the redevelopment of the Hunters Point Shipyard, which includes new infrastructure, 1600 homes, commercial space and open space.
Uptown Redevelopment Project, Oakland
Ms. Pracher represented Forest City Development in preparing the EIR and obtaining the land use approvals for one of the most significant urban redevelopment efforts in Oakland's history — the "Uptown" project, located on a 14-acre site in the heart of the City between San Pablo and Telegraph Avenues north of City Hall. The project calls for 1,000 new apartments and condominium units and substantial retail and commercial development. It also involves a combination of financing sources, including tax exempt, mortgage revenue bonds, affordable housing tax credits, tax increment financing, direct subsidies from the City and Redevelopment Agency totaling nearly $50 million and private investment by an institutional equity partner.
Oak to Ninth Street, Oakland
Ms. Pracher represented Signature Properties in connection with the EIR and land use approvals for the redevelopment of the Oak to Ninth Street site in Oakland, a 64-acre site along the Oakland Estuary. The project proposes conversion of a former industrial site to a new mixed-use community, including 3,000 residential units, 200,000 square feet of commercial uses, and 32 acres of open space uses.
MacArthur BART Transit Village, Oakland
Ms. Pracher represented MacArthur Transit Community Partners in connection with approval of the transit-oriented development known as MacArthur Transit Village. The project is a new mixed use village consisting of 675 residential units, community and commercial space, open space, a new BART parking garage, and significant circulation improvements at the existing MacArthur BART station. Ms. Pracher provided advice regarding the preparation of the EIR, land use approvals, and negotiation of a development agreement.
Broadway/West Grand Mixed Use Project, Oakland
Ms. Pracher represented Signature Properties in preparing the EIR and obtaining the land use approvals for a mixed use project in downtown Oakland at the corner of Broadway and West Grant Avenue. The project redeveloped the site with more than 400 residential units and approximately 40,000 square feet of commercial space.
St. Joseph's Hospital Adaptive Reuse Project, Oakland
Ms. Pracher provided land use entitlement and CEQA advice to Bridge Housing for the St. Joseph's Hospital Adaptive Reuse project. The project was approved to allow for the rehabilitation of the historic St. Joseph's site, including new construction for senior and affordable housing.
Oakland Zoo Master Plan, Oakland
Ms. Pracher represented the Oakland Zoo in connection with the preparation of environmental review and approval of amendments to the Oakland Zoo Master Plan that allow construction of a new state-of-the art veterinary hospital (currently underway) and new exhibit areas highlighting native California species, such as wolves, grizzly bears and mountain lions.
Vallejo Station and Waterfront Project, Vallejo
Ms. Pracher represented Callahan/DeSilva in preparing the EIR and obtaining the land use approvals for the Vallejo Station, a multimodal transportation facility and mixed-use transit village, and several residential communities with new parks and open space along the Vallejo Waterfront. The project includes over 1,200 residential units, over 560,000 square feet of commercial development, a major transit hub, public parks and plazas, and a new ferry parking facility.
Watson Ranch, American Canyon
Ms. Pracher represents the developers of a new residential community and town center located on 300 acres in American Canyon. The project involves, among other approvals, preparation of a Specific Plan, negotiation of a development agreement, and preparation of an EIR. The project will create a new community with 1,250 homes, open space and trails, a new school, and a mixed-use town center with civic, retail, entertainment, commercial, visitor-serving and residential uses.
Napa Logistics Park, American Canyon
Ms. Pracher represents the developers of a 2 million square foot distribution, warehousing, e-commerce and manufacturing center in American Canyon. Ms. Pracher is advising on the project EIR and the project approvals.
AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles
Ms. Pracher is providing CEQA and land use advice in connection with preparation of an EIR for an urban marine research center on a 28-acre site at the Port of Los Angeles. The project includes adaptive reuse of several transit shed, wharf retrofits, construction of new facilities, and development of a waterfront promenade. The project will accommodate a marine research laboratory, a marine science business park, and a new interpretive center.
Best Lawyer in America (Land Use & Zoning Law), Best Lawyers, 2010-2020
Northern California Super Lawyer, San Francisco Magazine, (multiple years)
AV® Rating, Martindale Hubbell
Lambda Alpha International
- "CEQA “Common Sense” Exemption Upheld; Environmental Baseline for Project Following Improvements Pursuant to an Emergency Exemption Clarified," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, March 10, 2015
- "Sacramento Kings Win Again; Second CEQA Challenge Rejected," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, March 10, 2015
- "California Supreme Court Announces New Test for CEQA “Unusual Circumstances” Exception," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, March 6, 2015
- "Reliance on Statutory Requirements to Mitigate Environmental Impacts Proper Under CEQA," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, June 29, 2011
- "The Vineyard EIR Water Services Principles Applied," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, November 26, 2007
- "Global Warming Update: Legislature Amends CEQA Regarding Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Attorney General Settles Global Warming Suit," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, August 21, 2007
- "Newly Incorporated City May Disapprove Final Subdivision Map Even Though County Had Approved Vesting Tentative Map," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, December 21, 2006
- "Court Overturns Award Of Record Preparation Costs As Excessive And Lacking Adequate Documentation," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, December 14, 2006
- "Lead Agency Can Decide New Information Does Not Require Recirculation Of A Final EIR Without First Adding The Information To The Final EIR," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, November 16, 2006
- "Land Use and California Environmental Quality Act Update," July 27, 2004
- "Case Summary - Maintain Our Desert Environment v. Town of Apple Valley," Sheppard Mullin Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Law Blog, July 7, 2004
- "Important Developments in Natural Resources and Land Use Law During 2001 - Part 1," March 13, 2002
- "Important Developments in Natural Resources and Land Use Law During 2001 - Part 2," March 13, 2002
- "Drafting Effective Mitigation Measures," The Bay Area Echo
- "Local Initiatives, Trick or Treat," The Recorder
- "Certainty and Uncertainty: The Consequences of Costa Mesa," Northern California Real Estate Journal
- Ms. Pracher has lectured at the California Continuing Education of the Bar Real Property Institute, the CLE International California Wetlands Conference, the CLE International Land Use Conference, and the Lorman CEQA Seminar.
- ACC-SFBA & Sheppard Mullin Real Estate Series, 06.26.2013
- Streamlining the CEQA Process, 05.02.2013
- Sheppard Mullin San Francisco Office, 11.15.2012
Member, State Bar of California
Member, Bar Association of San Francisco
Member, ULI (Urban Land Institute)
Member, CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women)