Yao is devoted to helping her clients in the United States and China bring their real estate, financing, investment and construction projects to fruition.
Yao’s practice concentrates on transactional real estate, financing and construction, often on behalf of clients engaged in cross-border activities. Her career spanning nearly three decades comprises a unique blend of experience practicing law on both sides of the Pacific Ocean as well as working in the public and private sectors. She serves as a strategic advisor to her clients by thoroughly understanding the challenges they face in real estate transactions, financing and construction projects.
Real Estate. Yao focuses on commercial and residential real estate acquisitions and dispositions, commercial leasing and establishing home owner associations in Washington representing developers. She also represents landlords and tenants in connection with commercial leasing transactions. In addition, Yao has experience in working with cooperative and condominium boards in New York City.
Construction. Yao negotiates and drafts the wide range of contracts integral to the success of her clients’ construction projects, including construction access license agreements, design agreements, owner-contractor agreements, subcontract agreements and construction management agreements. Her clients have included building owners, developers, design professionals, interior design firms, architecture firms, international hotel chains, food manufacturers, retailers, entertainment venues and non-profit organizations. Additionally, she often advises design professionals on state licensing requirements.
Financing. Yao has represented commercial banks and other lenders as well as borrowers in the negotiation of loans and various types of financing for real estate acquisitions and construction and development projects. Yao has also participated in reviewing investment funds governing documents such as operating agreements and limited partnership agreements.
China Practice. Born and raised in Northeast China’s Jilin Province, Yao is a native speaker of Mandarin. She attended law school at Peking University and later was a practicing lawyer in Beijing before moving to the United States. Her experience has included advising Chinese clients in their real estate acquisition and disposition, leasing, development and construction projects in the United States. Yao has assisted several U.S.-based clients with establishing operations in China, negotiating architectural design contracts with Chinese owners and registering trademarks in China. While living in Beijing, she also served as General Counsel to the China Commercial Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation.
New York City Bar Association, Member
New York County Lawyers Association, Member
New York State Bar Association, Member
Benaroya Hall, Board of Directors
Washington State China Relations Council, Board of Directors
Represented a South American bank executive in the $17 million purchase of a New York City condominium apartment.
Represented a high-net-worth South American client in the $9 million purchase of a cooperative apartment in a New York City building under a complicated ground lease.
Represented the estate of a business owner in the $11 million sale of commercial property in New York City, consisting of four separate lots owned by three entities.
Represented a family-run entity in the $16.5 million sale of a New York City office building with purchase-money financing.
Represented a mid-sized architecture firm in negotiating a New York City office lease, while terminating the existing lease in a different building to ensure a smooth transition.
Represented a regional bank in a $12 million construction loan for the development of an affordable housing project in New York state.
Represented a non-profit organization in drafting loan documents and reviewing commercial leases and other real estate due diligence documents.
Represented an interior design firm in negotiating numerous interior design contracts with several hotel owners and operators.
Represented the owner of a Holiday Inn Express franchise in Oregon in negotiating and preparing an AIA design-build agreement with an architect/contractor for a multi-phase project that included the replacement of siding and windows. Extensive negotiations included provisions for liquidated damages for late delivery of work and coordination of work to minimize interference with hotel operations.
Represented various architecture firms in drafting and negotiating design agreements.
Represented U.S. architecture firms in connection with negotiating design service contracts with Chinese developers for projects in various Chinese cities.
- Construction and development of non-profit organization’s headquarters and community center in Texas
Represented a non-profit organization in the construction and development of its headquarters and a community center in Houston, Texas.
Represented a non-profit corporation in New York City in connection with an access license agreement related to the neighboring building’s renovation.
Represented a Taiwanese bank and a Chinese investment company in negotiating an office lease in New York City.
Represented a NASDAQ-listed Chinese e-commerce company in negotiating a warehouse lease in New Jersey.
Represented high-net-worth Chinese clients in purchasing multimillion-dollar single-family houses in Long Island, New York, as well as new development condominium apartments in New York City.
Represented a state-owned Chinese company to negotiate a construction license agreement with the neighboring owner of a large hotel project in New York City.
Represented Chinese investors in connection with joint venture real estate development projects.
Represented a food manufacturer in reviewing a $50 million construction contract.
Reviewed construction contract for a retail store renovation project.
Represented an entertainment establishment in negotiating the construction contract for a major renovation and expansion project.
News & Insights
- “Protecting Your Design,” Leadership, Mentoring, Networking, Opportunity for A&D Professionals (LMNOP)Panel DiscussionApril 2018
- Washington, 2018
- New York, 1999
LL.M., University of Washington School of Law, Asian and Comparative Law, 1998
LL.B., Peking University School of Law, 1987