Sarah O. Jelencic

Partner

Overview

Sarah O. Jelencic is a real estate partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Sarah has experience in multi-family, office, mixed use and retail development and financings, including workouts, private placements, joint venture agreements (investor, developer and sponsor), new market tax credits, tax incremental financings, multi-tiered financings, condominium and homeowners association documentation, declarations of covenants and restrictions (residential and commercial), acquisition and sales of real estate (developed and undeveloped), leasing (landlord and tenant), management and leasing agreements, and tax-free exchanges.

Affiliations

Sarah is a former member of the board of directors for Wisconsin Commercial Real Estate Women (WCREW) and the Association of Women Lawyers. She currently serves on the board of directors of Journey House, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing adult education, job placement and after school programs, and is a member of the multi-family green council of the Urban Land Institute.  

Education

Sarah is from Macon County, Ill. and graduated, cum laude, from the University of Illinois, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. A magna cum laude graduate from the University of Michigan Law School, Sarah served on its Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Recognition

Sarah has been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system and is listed in the 2006-2019 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the practice area of real estate. She was recently recognized by The Legal 500 for her work in the area of real estate (2015). She was also selected for inclusion in the 2006-2016 lists of Wisconsin Super Lawyers®. Sarah has been selected by her peers for inclusion in the current edition of The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of real estate law and was named the 2017 Milwaukee Real Estate Law “Lawyer of the Year.” In addition, she was selected in 2010 as one of Wisconsin Law Journal’s "Women in the Law" recognizing her achievement of excellence in real estate law and her positive influence on other women pursuing legal careers, encouraging women to seek advanced opportunities within the profession. Sarah is also a 2009 recipient of Foley’s Carl Hitchner Mentor of the Year Award, presented annually to recognize outstanding mentoring to our young attorneys.

Representative Matters

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Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI), an advanced manufacturing and Fortune 100 company, was interested in stimulating its energy efficiency retrofit business in Wisconsin. JCI first approached Foley to assist in obtaining a Wisconsin statutory change allowing for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. This statute permits local governments to facilitate loans, secured by a special charge on the property tax rolls, to help commercial property owners implement energy efficiency improvements. Once the state approved the statute to enable building owners to pay over time rather than up front for projects that cut energy use and utility bills, JCI then retained Foley attorneys and public affairs professionals to help implement a PACE program in the City of Milwaukee. The Foley team led the lobbying effort and handled negotiations with city attorneys to address the complexities of this program for attracting private capital for funding city projects. As part of the effort, we built support within City Hall, overcame objections by various department heads, and secured backing from the mayor and key members of the Milwaukee City Council. After conducting an in-depth analysis of current statutes and ordinances to identify necessary changes, Foley contacted city officials to determine other structural barriers and to begin breaking down any bureaucratic opposition. By leveraging relationships of Foley partners with key committee members, we were able to introduce the idea to the city. Understanding the chiller and control technology that JCI and its partners manufacture was important and the Foley team was well versed in explaining to City Council members how the technology would provide long-term payback upgrades. After months of working with city attorneys and our client to hammer out the details of multiple drafts of the ordinance, it was ultimately passed. JCI secured the opportunity to offer expanded services for reducing energy waste to its Milwaukee customers, and a new market was opened up for the company’s products. The city also enjoys the chance to attract real-world capital and create jobs by becoming a hub for clean technology and economic growth. JCI has handled eight projects already in Milwaukee through the program, and has at least 10 projects in the pipeline that could turn into orders thanks to the PACE financing. One of the more noticeable upgrades involves converting LED, or light-emitting diode, technology that saves 40 percent on energy used by the lights that adorn Wisconsin's tallest building. Another project at one building will save 17 million gallons of water per year. In the first few months of the program, JCI has executed contracts worth about $6 million, providing more than 60 jobs in the community. At a Glance: Next-Generation Manufacturing Business Issues: • Sustainability• Facilities Siting, Reconfiguration, and Management• Government and Public Affairs
Represented a national energy service company in proposing new PACE Program legislation for the City of Milwaukee. Negotiated with national PACE Investors and national and local banks regarding the details of the plan and lobbied the City Council, Mayor, Treasurer and other officials regarding the mechanics of the proposed program. Negotiated with the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation regarding finance terms of the program. Drafted the PACE Financing Loan Agreement for the Program.
Represented Johnson Controls in the analysis of and restructuring of the Milwaukee Commercial PACE program involving consultation with specialized PACE lenders and capital market PACE lenders and the City of Milwaukee executive and legislative branches.