Michele L. Maresca



  • Overview


    Michele Maresca handles the full range of commercial real estate transactions, including representation of borrowers and lenders in financings, dispositions, acquisitions, and development agreements. She routinely represents developers, lenders, businesses, non-profit organizations, municipalities, and housing authorities in development and redevelopment projects. Her practice also reflects a keen interest in the creation of affordable housing, working collaboratively with both lenders and developers to achieve that goal. 

    Michele has more than a decade of experience helping clients with their real estate transactions, negotiating, documenting, and closing complex real estate deals, including acquisitions, dispositions, and financings. Michele’s practice and professional outlook are broadly-based rather than compartmentalized, reflecting her interest and skill in bringing together multiple parties and working to find the best ways to synthesize their mutual objectives of revitalizing communities. Throughout her varied and multi-layered practice, Michele has leveraged her training and experience as a land use planner to assist clients in structuring agreements to address their unique development, title, and land use issues. In addition to her law degree, she has a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Planning, which allows her to engage with development projects with that valuable perspective. Michele is a member of the firm’s Real Estate + Development Group.

    Development and Redevelopment Projects

    Michele advises clients on development and construction projects, including affordable housing projects that leverage Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bond financing, state and local funding, and equity investment. She structures and negotiates complex development agreements and ground leases, including those involving public-private partnerships, joint venture agreements and financing documents. She is keenly interested in working with developers on projects that focus on the “creation of place” – a holistic approach to community development that emphasizes experiential opportunity and possibility. With more than ten years of experience, Michele has handled numerous high-profile projects, including representing the Town of West Hartford in negotiating and drafting the ground lease and development agreement for the construction and disposition of a hotel in Blue Back Square. Her most recent work includes a project that involved a public-private partnership, multiple funders and ground leasing, bringing together several of her areas of interest and skillful experience. She also recently completed the public/private development of a new Town Hall, successfully navigating the often complex side of municipal development. 

    Michele has handled long-term ground leases for new development and obtained permits for developers of large-scale projects. She recently represented a national retailer in a complex negotiation of a reciprocal agreement among multiple landowners for shared rights and responsibilities of access, utilities and drainage.

    Real Estate – Financing and Transactions

    Michele routinely counsels clients in the structuring, negotiation, and documentation of mortgage loans; conducts due diligence; and handles all matters related to title.  She has extensive experience in many types of affordable housing finance transactions, including construction and permanent financing transactions, tax-exempt bond transactions and tax credit transactions.

    Her recent transactions include representing a large real estate development firm in the refinancing of its construction and permanent loans for a high-profile downtown Hartford commercial development project. She recently assisted a real estate investment management company in its purchase of a hotel and office building through auction and also handled the sale of a former industrial site for a chemical company, including assisting the client with all related due diligence.

    Michele has an extensive background in the land use field. Prior to law school, she worked for more than four years as a land use planner with a regional agency in northwest Vermont, where she was responsible for delivering technically sophisticated planning projects, including a regional build-out analysis and a regional landscape suitability analysis. While in law school, she served as a research assistant for the Vermont Law School Land Use Institute, providing support to a statewide land use planning initiative.

    Michele was selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list for 2018 and 2019 and named a Rising Star in the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2013 to 2017. She is the Co-Chair of the International Council of Shopping Centers Connecticut P3 Committee. Michele also is active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors of The Bridge Family Center, Inc., which helps children grow and thrive in the face of family challenges, and on the Board of Directors of Aurora Foundation for Women and Girls, which works to improve the lives of women and girls in the Greater Hartford area.


  • Experience
    • Experience


        Real Estate + Development

      • While representing national retailer, obtained local zoning approvals to expand an existing retail facility and to construct a gas station as part of the expansion. In connection with the facility expansion and new gas station, the developer also made circulation and ingress and egress improvements requiring the widening of the fronting state roadway. This representation involved clearing title issues related to a paper street that were implicated by this ancillary roadway expansion.

      • Represented client in negotiating the option and sale of a 1,000±-acre development site to non-profit organizations, the Town of Old Saybrook and the State of Connecticut for perpetual conservation purposes. The conveyance involved negotiating documents with multiple parties and navigating the various State and local processes associated with the acquisition of conservation lands for public use and the use of State money.

      • Analyzed title and site development issues for a wireless telecommunications company.

      • Analyzing special acts and title history of beach properties to determine beach access rights and littoral rights.
      • Represented national retailer in support of development of new retail store as part of a master planned development with multiple landowners. Drafted and negotiated a complex reciprocal easement agreement for access, drainage, and utilities in connection with an internal drive that crosses multiple properties with multiple owners. Drafted and negotiated construction agreement and related temporary easements and development restrictions in connection with internal driveway and separate commercial developments within the master plan area.

      • Represented the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut in connection with the sale and financing of property in Watertown, Connecticut, to The Taft School.

      • Represented the developer of a 1.5 million square foot distribution facility in Windsor, Connecticut, for the world's largest online retailer in all aspects of permitting, the closing of the land conveyance, and negotiation of easements and service agreements with electric, water, and sewer utilities.

      • As part of a complex multimillion-dollar factory transformation project, drafted innovative agreement to memorialize both the operational savings achieved through energy efficiency improvements at an industrial facility, and the related purchase price increase.

      • Commercial Real Estate Lending

      • Representation of borrower in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loan secured by commercial office building.

      • Handled the real estate due diligence and mortgage documentation for administrative agent and syndicate of national lenders in connection with a multimillion-dollar term loan and line of credit secured by more than twenty properties.

      • Negotiated and documented the refinance of a construction to permanent financing for the commercial and retail phase of the redevelopment of a downtown district in Hartford, Connecticut.

      • Public-Private Partnerships

      • Represented national retailer in support of development of new retail store as part of a public-private agreement to acquire and develop a portion of a publicly owned golf course. Drafted and negotiated with the Connecticut Department of Transportation various easements in support of retail store roadway improvements and drafted and negotiated various easements between the city and retailer for drainage, slope creation, and maintenance and construction work related to the retail store and the relocation of certain golf holes on the city-owned golf course.

      • Representation of developer in public-private development agreement for the redevelopment of a city-owned property in the central business district. Drafted and negotiated a complex development agreement between the city and our client for the multiphased redevelopment of downtown property, as well as the related infrastructure improvements.

      • Represented the Town of West Hartford in a public-private agreement for the development of a luxury boutique hotel in Blue Back Square. Drafted and negotiated ground lease and development agreement. 

      • Represented the master developer in the negotiation and drafting of a development and disposition agreement for the redevelopment of the former New Haven coliseum site. 

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association

      Connecticut Bar Association

      International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
      Private Sector Chair of P3 Committee in Connecticut
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Selected to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list for 2018 and 2019.

      Selected as a Rising Star to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2013 to 2017.

      UConn School of Business Center for Real Estate, Organizational Partner Special Service Award 2011/2012


      Selected by the New England Real Estate Journal to be featured in the publication’s 2022 “Women in Commercial Real Estate” spotlight

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Town of West Hartford
      Member, Past Vice Chair of Planning and Zoning Commission
      Member, Past Vice Chair of Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency

      Aurora Foundation
      Board of Directors (2018 - 2023)

      The Bridge Family Center
      Board of Directors (2020 - 2023)
    • Publications


      "What Congress Is Offering Distressed CRE Firms During the Pandemic," published on GlobeSt.com (9/30/2020)
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      "Does Reed Require New Restrictions on Retail Signs?" co-authored with Brian W. Blaesser, published in Shopping Center Law & Strategy, a quarterly newsletter of the International Council of Shopping Centers (Spring 2018)

      Library of Connecticut Civil Complaints for Business Litigation, Volume I, co-authored with Brian R. Smith and Timothy D. Bates and Joel Norwood, a Connecticut Law Tribune publication (2010)
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      "Greening Connecticut's Buildings," published in Construction Law Group Newsletter, co-authored with Thomas P. Cody (November 2009)

    • Presentations


      "Connecticut: The Land of Opportunity (Zones)," co-presented with Michael J. Kearney Jr., at the "From Soil to Solar: Land Law Development Forum" (3/11/2020)
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      "Opportunity Zones: The Many Perspectives on the Land of OZ," moderated by Michele Maresca at the 2019 New England Conference and Deal Making in Boston, MA. (7/15/2019)
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      "Real Estate Law for Planners," co-presented with Brian R. Smith and Evan J. Seeman, during the Southern New England American Planning Association (SNEAPA) 2018 Conference at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut (10/19/2018)
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      "Future of Retail," moderator, as part of the New England Conference & Deal Making Idea Exchange in Boston, Massachusetts (7/17/2018)
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      "Dollars and $ense: Practical Insights to Solving Recurring & Emerging Shopping Center Issues and Improving Your Bottom Line," at the New England Conference & Deal Making event, sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) (7/19/2017)
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      "Real Estate and Land Use Issues in the Representation of Medical Marijuana Facilities," co-presented with Brian R. Smith, American Bar Association's Annual Meeting (2015)

      "Creating/Modifying Historic Preservation Ordinances," at International Municipal Lawyers Association webinar series, co-presented with Thomas P. Cody (June 2014)

      "Legal and Ethical Issues in the Representation of Medical Marijuana Facilities," co-presented with Diane W. Whitney, at Connecticut Bar Association's Real Property Section Meeting (2014)

      "Current Real Estate Issues and Trends," co-presented with Lauren M. Sigg and George W. Watson III, co-moderator of monthly webinar series sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the Counselors of Real Estate and the University of Connecticut Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies (2010-2012)

      "Primer: Zoning and the Fair Housing Act Amendments and Americans with Disabilities Act," at Connecticut Bar Association's Planning and Zoning Section Advanced Program "A Potpourri of Hot Topics: A Spicy Mix of Land Use Issues" in New Britain, Connecticut (10/22/2010)

      "Robinson & Cole Annual Review of Land Use Case Law," co-presented with John P. Casey, at Connecticut Bar Association's June Meeting of the Planning and Zoning Section (6/21/2010)

      "Accommodating Zoning: Uses and Limits of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act," at American Bar Association's State and Local Government Section Spring Meeting (4/30/2010)

      "Clean Water Act Update: Storm Water Permitting, Enforcement, and TMDLs," co-presented with Lauren M. Sigg and George W. Watson III, Environmental and Utilities Practice Group Roundtable (2009)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • July 12, 2023

        Robinson+Cole Represents WinnDevelopment in $85 Million Dollar Affordable Housing Project

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      • October 14, 2022

        Michele Maresca Featured in New England Real Estate Journal’s 2022 Women in Commercial Real Estate Spotlight

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      • October 30, 2020

        Michele Maresca Appointed to The Bridge Family Center Board of Directors

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      • October 1, 2020

        Michele Maresca Authors Article on Government Programs Available to Aid Distressed CRE Firms Published on GlobeSt.com

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      • June 22, 2020

        Michele Maresca Quoted on Retailers Claiming Force Majeure in Article Published in Chain Store Age Magazine

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      • July 17, 2019

        Michele Maresca Moderates Program on Opportunity Zones at ICSC Deal Making Conference in Boston

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      • October 31, 2018

        Michele Maresca, Evan Seeman, and Brian Smith Present During SNEAPA 2018 Conference

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      • October 18, 2018

        51 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • July 20, 2018

        Michele Maresca Moderates Panel Discussion on the Future of Retail

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      • March 19, 2018

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Support Annual Bryant University Women’s Summit®

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      • August 23, 2017

        Michele Maresca Appointed to ICSC Leadership Position

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      • August 9, 2017

        Michele Maresca Presents at New England Conference & Deal Making Event

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      • January 17, 2013

        Michele Maresca Appointed Alternate to West Hartford’s Town Plan and Zoning Commission and Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency

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      • December 2, 2010

        National Association of Realtors Honors LandLaw Partner and Firm

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      • November 3, 2010

        Attorneys Cochair Connecticut Bar Association Planning and Zoning Section Event

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      • July 9, 2010

        John Casey and Michele Maresca Present a Review of Land Use Case Law to the Connecticut Bar Association

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      • May 11, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Speaks at Land Use Hot Topics Program in Miami

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      R+C News Releases

      • December 8, 2021

        Robinson+Cole Elects New Partners and Counsel

      • October 19, 2019

        52 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • March 6, 2018

        Michele Maresca Appointed to Aurora Foundation Board of Directors

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      • October 17, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • May 18, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Team Involved in “Office Deal of the Year”

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      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • December 28, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Elects New Partners and Counsel

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      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

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    • Legal Updates/Newsletters

      Legal Updates/Newsletters

      "New CT Zoning Laws Look to Increase Housing Diversity and Affordability" co-authored with Evan J. Seeman (6/11/2021)

      "Executive Order to Address Zoning Barriers to Reopening Restaurants and Retail" co-authored with Evan J. Seeman

      "COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts on Land Use and Zoning" co-authored with Evan J. Seeman