CHINADebate Blog Contributor

Joseph J. Christian.png

A practicing lawyer for over thirty years. The primary focus of his practice has been real estate, representing institutional investors and developers in large commercial transactions across the U.S. and in Asia. From mid-2008 until the end of 2011, he was a partner in DLA Piper, a global law firm. He was located in the firm’s Hong Kong office, where he co-headed DLA’s Asia real estate group.

He came to DLA Piper from WilmerHale, where he had been a partner in the real estate group since 1994 and chair of its real estate capital management group. Before that, he was a senior executive and counsel at Copley Real Estate Advisors (which merged into AEW Capital Management in 1996), one of the country’s largest real estate investment advisory firms.

Joe began his Asia practice in 2001 with the representation of a U.S. developer in a joint venture with a Korean company in the acquisition and financing of New Songdo City, a 1,500-acre master-planned new city, in Incheon, Korea. While in Hong Kong, Joe handled other significant transactions in Korea: for US-based Pinnacle AMS Development, the development of privately owned and financed housing for US military families in Pyeongtaek, the site to which the US Forces Korea headquarters is being relocated from Seoul; for Taubman, development and management agreements for a 500,000 sq. ft. retail mall in Seoul, part of a large mixed use project being developed by AIG; and for Chadwick International, licensing of Korea’s first international school in New Songdo City.

In China, Joe represented Yihai Property, a well-known and highly respected Beijing-based property developer, in negotiating joint ventures with a US-based hedge fund and with a PRC-based private equity fund, both with respect to a large, mixed use project in Wuhan; the Harvard Business School in its lease of premises in Shanghai, Pudong District, for an executive education facility; Morningstar in its lease for premises in Shenzhen; and Piper Jaffray in its real estate activities in Hong Kong.

A primary focus of his practice in China has been senior housing. Joe has many years of experience in senior housing in the U.S., having represented institutional investors in the sector since 2000. While based in Hong Kong, beginning in 2009, he represented several U.S.-based operators and investors, as well as Chinese developers and insurance companies, in their exploration of the nascent senior housing market in China. He has written several articles on the topic, and is regarded as one of the leading experts on senior housing in China.

In January of this year, he began a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Asia Center, where he is researching and writing on the senior housing industry in China, an industry in which he is recognized as a leading expert. A speaker and writer on U.S. and Asian real estate issues, Mr. Christian is an instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Executive Education program.

Joe is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate. While in Hong Kong, he was a member of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association; the Asian Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles; the Urban Land Institute – Asia Pacific, where he served on the Executive Committee; the American Chamber of Commerce, where he served on the Real Estate Committee; and the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce.

He has been listed in every edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business since 2005 and in The Best Lawyers in America in 2008 and 2009. He is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating, and is a New England Super Lawyer.

Joe earned his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, and his B.A., cum laude, from Catholic University of America.

Asia Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government'Senior Housing on the U.S. Side of the World'--And Its Relevance For China