Mr. Champion is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Department.
Mr. Champion represents real estate developers, energy companies, institutional lenders, and other clients in the entertainment and education sectors in a broad range of matters, including the negotiation and processing of land use approvals; the purchase, sale and leasing of commercial, mixed-use and multi-family assets; the development of solar and wind energy projects; the origination and restructuring of mortgage debt; and the negotiation of title insurance. As part of the team serving as outside general counsel to the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, Mr. Champion also has significant expertise in the negotiation and administration of conservation easements and related issues of range-land conservation.
Significant Representations and Transactions:
- Represented multiple ownership and investor entities in the master planning and redevelopment of the Hollywood Park racetrack, including the recent addition of an 80,000 seat NFL stadium and 6,000 seat performance venue using a unique voter-sponsored ballot initiative. The proposed project consists of the redevelopment of a 298-acre site and the construction of approximately 2,500 to 2,995 dwelling units, 890,000 square feet of retail, 780,000 square feet of office/commercial space, and a 300-room hotel with approximately 25 acres of publicly accessible parks and open space.
- Representing Oak View Group in the redevelopment of the historic KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, the former home of the NBA Seattle SuperSonics and the current home venue for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. Following the City of Seattle’s RFP for the private redevelopment of the arena into a world-class, multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility, Gibson Dunn drafted the response that led to Oak View Group’s selection as the winning bid. Gibson Dunn has served as lead counsel in connection with multiple transaction documents with the City including a development agreement and long-term ground lease; placement of KeyArena on the National Register; and an agreement regarding operation of the arena within the larger Seattle Center “campus” that houses the Space Needle and nonprofit organizations including the Seattle Opera, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Gibson Dunn also represented Oak View Group in the redevelopment financing and in its successful bid for an NHL expansion team in Seattle.
- Representing Madison Square Garden Company in its proposal to develop an approximately 17,500-seat live entertainment venue just off the Las Vegas Strip in partnership with Las Vegas Sands Corp.
- Represented Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company in real estate and land use matters related to the acquisition and financing of the 550 MW Topaz Solar Farm project. According to Project Finance, this was the largest renewables bond financing ever, and was named the 2012 North American Solar Deal of the Year. Also represented Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company in real estate and land use matters related to the acquisition and financing of the 579 MW Solar Star power projects, and an investment in the 298 MW Kingfisher wind power generation project located in Kingfisher and Canadian Counties, Oklahoma, one of the two largest single-phase wind projects in that state.
- Represented Madison Square Garden Company in its acquisition and renovation of the Forum in Inglewood, California, including the successful conclusion of negotiations for an $18 million subsidy from the City of Inglewood, permitting in connection with a multi-million dollar renovation as a premier concert venue, and negotiation of long-term lease rights for overflow parking.
- Represented La Plaza de Cultura y Artes Foundation in negotiations with the County of Los Angeles and Trammell Crow and hearings before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for the development of LA Plaza Cultura Village, a transformative mixed-use project in downtown Los Angeles connecting El Pueblo, Union Station, and Chinatown which will provide an iconic historic paseo for Los Angeles’ Mexican-American community.
- Represented Lloyd Properties before the California Coastal Commission in the residential entitlement of 11-acres of prime coastal property in Ventura, California, known as the “Promenade Parcels.” Future development on the Promenade Parcels represents the final piece in achieving the vision set forth in the City of Ventura’s Downtown Specific Plan.
- Represents the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) as general outside counsel, responsible for ongoing negotiations with CRA/LA-DLA, as successor to the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, regarding issues related to FIDM’s current downtown campus and proposed expansion campus; the preparation and negotiation of lease and license agreements and amendments at all of FIDM’s California campuses; advising on landlord/tenant disputes and issues arising under reciprocal easement agreements; and negotiating with contractors, third-party vendors and municipal agencies.
- Represented Tejon Ranch Conservancy in its negotiations with the California Wildlife Conservation Board for state funding of the purchase of perpetual conservation easements across 62,000 acres of significant wildlife habitat on the Tejon Ranch, creating one of the largest conservation easements in California.
- Represented various subsidiaries of Lehman Brothers as land use counsel in its bankruptcy restructuring of multiple housing developments throughout Southern California.
- Represented UBS Real Estate Investments in the workout of a $400 million loan portfolio, including negotiation of deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, restructuring of existing debt, and disposition and strategic management of 51 multi-family residential and hotel properties.
- Represented an equity partner in joint venture acquiring a multi-asset portfolio in Arizona, including review of land use approvals and related water rights.
- Represented Clinica Oscar A. Romero, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and New Heights Charter School in the negotiation of major lease amendments.
Mr. Champion was elected as a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) in 2019, and was named as one of the Best Lawyers in America in Real Estate Law in 2018, 2019 and 2020. In 2019 Mr. Champion was recognized as a “Next Generation Lawyer” by Legal 500 in the area of land use and zoning, and he was selected as a Southern California Rising Star in 2009 and 2013-2019, inclusive, by Law and Politics magazine, and was named a “Super Lawyer” for Southern California for 2020. He was the recipient of the firm’s 2011 Frank Wheat Award for Pro Bono Deal Team of the Year. In July 2013, Mr. Champion was named one of the 40 Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association. Mr. Champion serves on the firm’s Hiring Committee and is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee. He also served as co-coordinator of the Los Angeles Summer Associate Program in the summer of 2011.
Mr. Champion earned his law degree in 2006 from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, summa cum laude, in 2001 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Champion was a management consultant with the Dallas office of McKinsey & Company, focusing on the retail and consumer packaged goods sectors.