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Lowndes Advises Sonata Senior Living on $52 Million Community in Lake Mary

March 04, 2021

Lowndes represented Sonata Senior Living, an Orlando-based developer and operator of independent living, assisted living and memory care communities, on the development of a $52 million resort-style community in Lake Mary, Fla. Located on seven acres within the 153-acre Lake Wellness & Technology Park mixed-use development, the 250,000-square foot-community will include 88 independent living, 92 assisted living and 13 memory care apartments.

Groundbreaking for the project was held in March 2021, with construction expected to be completed in 2022. The community will feature multiple dining venues, a fitness center and spa, bocce ball, a putting green and pool, as well as a dog park and other amenities.

The Lowndes team representing Sonata Senior Living was led by Eddie Francis (acquisition and development). He was assisted by Jim Hoctor (joint venture and management), Mark Heimendinger (banking and finance) and Michael Gibbons (construction). 


Eddie Francis is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Group, focusing on real estate transactions, development and finance, land use and zoning, commercial leasing and representing clients before local government.

Eddie has extensive experience representing developers in all aspects – acquisition, due diligence, entitlements and zoning approvals, master planning and development and finance – of office, retail, residential, hotel, senior living, and mixed-use projects. He also represents clients in the area of and multi-state/portfolio real estate transactions.

With over 28 years of legal experience, Jim Hoctor has extensive experience with the formation and reorganization of businesses,  as well as with helping clients purchase and sell businesses.

Jim also has significant experience with a wide range of federal income tax issues relating to the formation, capitalization, restructuring and sale of business entities. He has experience in representing startup and early-stage companies both with respect to their capital raising efforts and legal issues relating to their operations. He has also represented investors in startup and early-stage companies.

Jim represents and has represented companies in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, distributing, hospitalitysenior livingreal estate, home-building, contracting and professional services. Jim also has significant experience with helping clients structure, negotiate and document joint ventures for real estate investment and development as well as for operating businesses.


Getting the deal done requires flexibility, creativity, and efficiency. Clients and colleagues alike turn to Mark Heimendinger for his years of debt and equity finance experience, particularly in the commercial real estate and other asset-based arenas.

A seasoned pro who has seen the risks and iterations associated with both sides of a deal and all aspects of the capital stack, Mark understands that many contentious legal issues often mask a business concern – one that he likely has faced before. Even with the most complex and challenging negotiations, he is pragmatic, and focused on the client’s commercial goals.

Mark’s clients include issuers, borrowers, lenders, and underwriters. He has negotiated and executed a variety of transaction structures, including term and revolving credit facilities, public bond financings, public and private securitization transactions (including CMBS), mezzanine financing, equipment financing, 144A and Reg. D offerings, repo agreements, syndications, currency and interest rate cap and swap transactions, underwriting agreements, intercreditor agreements, joint ventures, and jurisdiction-specific non-recourse structures. Within the real estate space, Mark has covered multiple asset classes, including hotels and leisure facilities, office towers, senior living facilities, and multi-family residential buildings.

In addition to his Florida practice, Mark has years of both domestic and overseas “AmLaw 100” experience and has completed numerous cross-border transactions, mostly in the Asia Pacific region and in Europe.

A LEED-certified attorney, Michael Gibbons represents owners, developers, contractors, design professionals and subcontractors asserting a variety of construction claims (and defenses to such claims), including actions for breach of contract, delay, latent defects, water intrusion and mold, differing site conditions, extra work, indemnity and warranty.

Michael also counsels clients on issues related to construction claims of lien and surety bond claims and regularly represents clients in litigation and arbitration over construction claims of lien and payment and performance bond claims. 

Formerly an Assistant State Attorney, Michael tried over 65 cases through verdict ranging from battery and DUI to Armed Robbery and Felony Murder. He has tried a variety of civil cases as well, and has substantial experience litigating ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) cases in Federal Court under Title III of the ADA where accessibility to public accommodations is at issue.

In addition to litigating design and construction related claims, Michael often represents owners, developers, design professionals, general contractors, and sub-contractors in the preparation and negotiation of design and construction contracts. His experience litigating construction claims helps Michael identify problematic and unfavorable contract language. Conversely, his experience drafting and negotiating complex construction contracts makes Michael a more informed and knowledgeable litigator when a client needs a forceful advocate on a construction contract issue. A reasonable and clearly expressed allocation of commercial risks, rights and liabilities is essential to a good design or construction contract and critical for reducing the risk of later claims.

Accredited by the Green Building Certification Institute as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Associate, Michael is a frequent speaker and author on the subject of managing risks in sustainable design and construction contracts. He has significant experience drafting and negotiating design and construction contracts incorporating sustainability principles including LEED standards.

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