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Joseph E. Coomes, Jr.

Of Counsel

500 Capitol Mall
Suite 1700
(916) 551-2830

Joseph E. Coomes, Jr. is of counsel in the Municipal Law practice group of Best Best & Krieger LLP. Prior to joining the firm in 2010, he was of counsel with McDonough Holland & Allen in Sacramento.

Mr. Coomes’ practice concentrates on redevelopment, land use and planning law, including military base closure and reuse. He represents a number of public agencies and major developers in complex land use matters and negotiation of development agreements. Mr. Coomes has successfully negotiated some of the largest and most difficult urban mixed-use redevelopment projects in California, including San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens and downtown San Jose’s Silicon Valley Financial Center.

In l997, Mr. Coomes represented the owners of Arco Arena and the Sacramento Kings NBA team in a successful public refinancing of the private debt on the arena and the team which enabled the Kings to remain in Sacramento. Along with colleague Ed Quinn, who represented a major developer, he helped negotiate and structure a tax-exempt financing of a downtown convention center hotel in Sacramento.

In the area of military base closures and reuse, Mr. Coomes has represented the City of Novato and its redevelopment agency since the mid-1980s in the successful residential redevelopment of Hamilton Field in Marin County. He also has been engaged in reuse planning for Treasure Island in San Francisco and Castle Air Force Base in Merced. In 2005, two major redevelopment projects at Fort Ord that he negotiated for private developers in the City of Marina and the County of Monterey were approved.

Mr. Coomes is a frequent lecturer before state, national and international organizations on the subjects of urban development and land use planning. In the last several years, he has been invited to London, Tokyo and Beijing to speak and confer on urban development issues. In 1985 he was invited to create and teach a graduate course on redevelopment and planning law at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during a sabbatical from the firm.


  • University of California, Berkeley, LL.B. (1957)
  • University of California, Berkeley, A.B. (1954)

Bar Admissions

  • California (1957)


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Land Use/Zoning & Municipal Law (2007-2014)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from ULI Sacramento (2013)
  • Samuel J. Cullers Outstanding Achievement Award from Lambda Alpha International’s Sacramento Chapter (2007)
  • Fame Award from Commercial Real Estate Women (2000)
  • Lawyer of the Year by the Sacramento County Bar Association (1996)
  • Sacramentan of the Year by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (1990)
  • Distinguished Counsel Award from the Housing and Development Law Institute (1987)


  • American Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Foundation Fellow, Member
  • State Bar of California, Member
  • Urban Land Institute Member
    Member & standing council (including Development Regulations, Mixed Use Development and Public-Private Partnership Council)
    Member and Founding Chair, Sacramento District Council
  • American Leadership Forum - Mountain Valley Chapter (Sacramento Region), Senior Fellow (Class III)
  • University of Southern California (Sacramento Public Affairs Center) Advisory Committee, Chairman (1989) and Member
  • Valley Vision, Chairman (1997-2000)
  • Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, President (1997)
  • Capitol Area Development Authority, Chairman (1978-1985)
  • Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, President (1978-1979)
Joseph E. Coomes, Jr.
Of Counsel
  • Negotiated multiple-party planning development agreements for such cities as Sacramento, San Jose and Tracy, and the County of San Joaquin.
  • Represents two large developers for mixed use redevelopment projects at Fort Ord, Monterey County.
  • Represent a publicly-owned land company in the planning and implementation of a 1,000 acre new community in Merced County to represent the new UC Merced.
  • Represent the on-going implementation of projects at Hamilton Field in the City of Novato, Marin County and in the City’s redevelopment project areas.
  • Represented numerous cities and their redevelopment agencies throughout California and other states.
  • Represented private developers–particularly downtown developers–in the Sacramento region, and other areas of the state.
Joseph E. Coomes, Jr.
Of Counsel
  • Co-Author, Redevelopment in California, Solano Press (4th ed. 2009)
  • Contributing Author, monthly column in “California Builder,” California Building Industry Association, 1989-1991
  • Author, “Practical Concerns in Drafting and Negotiating Development Agreements,” chapter in Development Agreements, Practice, Policy and Prospects (Urban Land Institute 1990)
Joseph E. Coomes, Jr.
Of Counsel
  • Speaker and participant at International Conference on Urban Development in London, Tokyo and Beijing
  • Speaker on redevelopment and land use at conference of the Urban Land Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, League of California Cities, and California Redevelopment Association, among other organizations

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