John R. McDowall (206) 607-4190 Assistant: Caroline Mundy (206) 607-4177
Commercial Real Estate  General Corporate  |  Construction Law

John McDowall joined the firm in 1995. Mr. McDowall has been a member of the firm’s board of directors since 2008 and is co-chair of the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group. He focuses his practice on commercial real estate, business transactions and construction matters. He has served on several charity boards and is very active in many industry trade organizations listed below.

Real Estate

Mr. McDowall represents owners, developers, investors and lenders on all types of real estate transactions, including acquisitions and sales of real property, financing and loans, joint venture structuring, entity formation, and development, leasing, ground lease, property management, and land use issues. In particular, he frequently advises both landlords and tenants on commercial, office, industrial, medical and retail leases.

Business Transactions

Mr. McDowall acts as general counsel to several closely-held companies in many industries, advising them regarding company formation, financing, acquisitions, sales, mergers, private placements, contract negotiations and employee non-compete issues. He has also represented private equity groups and institutional investors on the acquisition, financing and reorganization of privately-held companies and related matters.


Mr. McDowall has represented public and private owners, hospitals, port districts, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in all phases of construction projects, including procurement, contract drafting and negotiation, and the prosecution and defense of delay claims, claims for extra work and defective construction claims.

Honors and Recognitions

  • Washington Super Lawyers magazine and Super Lawyers Business Edition as one of the top attorneys in Washington State 2013-2017.

Community Involvement

  • Board of Regents, Seattle University.


  • JD, University of Virginia School of Law, 1995
  • BA, Political Science, BA Humanities, Seattle University, 1992

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State of Washington, 1995
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2005

Representative Cases

Representative Real Estate Projects

  • Represented one of the principals in a local residential construction company in the $72 million sale of the company to one of the nation’s largest home builders.
  • Handled negotiations for the construction and long-term lease of a 165,000 square foot office building in Bellevue for a large Canadian-based developer/owner. He has also handled several other office lease negotiations, construction and contract issues for this developer and its parent company at their one million square foot campus and other buildings owned by the developer in Seattle and Bellevue including, the sale of a 90,000 square-foot office building
  • Handled the negotiations for an anchor tenant in one of Seattle’s premier office towers for a 10-year, 145,000 square-foot lease renewal
  • Negotiated 100-year ground lease and several related contracts for a Seattle developer building, a boutique hotel in downtown Seattle
  • Has negotiated over 250 leases in the last ten years including, office, industrial, retail, restaurant and medical leases for both landlords and tenants
  • Has handled and closed several loans for multi-family and commercial properties in several states for mezzanine and bridge lenders, totaling over $100 million in loan value
  • Purchase and sale transactions, including the sale of a Bellevue office building valued at $29 million, the sale of a Seattle multi-family/retail mixed-use property valued at $23.5 million, sale of Seattle apartment building valued at $20 million, the purchase of a Seattle warehouse property valued at $6 million, the sale of office-industrial properties in Sea-Tac and Tukwila valued at $6.4 million and $125 million, the sale of four retail malls near Seattle valued at over $14 million, and the “distressed purchase” of a large shopping mall in southwest Washington valued at $5 million

Representative Business Transactions and Projects

  • Handled $16 million merger of an internet search company into local database aggregator
  • Handled $3 million management group buyout for a local manufacturer’s representative specializing in school construction/supply
  • Handled debt financing for a local novelty goods company
  • Handled asset purchase by a local food brokerage company
  • Handled corporate reorganizations for a local machine manufacturing company and a local construction management business
  • Handled $15 million stock redemption to Company ESOP for a co-founder of a local business consulting firm
  • Assisted a Seattle-based architecture firm and its private equity partners with corporate reorganization and merger issues to facilitate international acquisitions
  • Handled $3 million private placement financing and acquisition of Texas-based hydro-excavation business for a private equity company

Representative Construction Projects

  • Represented a local medical clinic in contract negotiations for a new 40,000 square-foot facility
  • Represented a large local hospital system in preparation of Requests for Proposal and the negotiation of contracts for several facilities at the hospital, totaling over $100 million in contract value
  • Obtained a $1.65 million settlement for a local control systems contractor for claims stemming from extra work performed on the Pierce County Jail
  • Secured a million-dollar settlement for a Seattle condominium owners association for claims of defective construction

Speaking Engagements

  • “All Costs, All the Time:  Strategies for Construction Management in Labor Constrained Market,” Panel Moderator, Marcus & Millichap, Seattle Multi-Family Forum, September 2017
  • “Spec Leasing and New Construction,” Commercial Real Estate Leases Seminar, LSI, December 2015
  • Construction Services in the Pacific Northwest,” AGC Seattle, Panel Moderator, November 2015
  • “The Next Big Thing: Emerging Neighborhoods,” Panel Moderator, Marcus & Millichap, Seattle Multi-Family Real Estate Forum, December 2014
  • “The Next Big Thing: Emerging Neighborhoods,” Marcus & Millichap, Seattle Multi-family Real Estate Forumte Forum, December 2013
  • “Commercial Leases,” Commercial Leases—What to Watch For, Colliers International, January 2013
  • “Work Letters and Lease Exhibits,” Basic Commercial Leases, NBI, February 2013
  • “Overview of Easements,” Law of Easements, NBI, January 2012
  • “Effective Risk Management in Green Building,” Seattle Construction Solutions Conference, 2009
  • “Insurance Issues in Common Leases,” Nightmare on Pike Street, Parker Smith & Feek, 2009

Professional Associations

  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Seattle-King County Bar Association
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI)
  • Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP)
  • Association of Corporate Growth (ACG)
  • Association for General Contractors (AGC)