Kathleen A. Swien

(312) 629-0173 kswien@bbn-law.com


University of Detroit/Mercy, J.D.

  • Law Review, Member

Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Visiting Student
University of Michigan, B.A., Political Science

Admitted to Bar


Experience Summary

Kathleen began her career as a transactional lawyer with the Chicago office of Winston & Strawn LLP in 1989, and became a partner in that firm’s real estate group in 1997. In 2007, Kathleen was recruited by an international hotel company to lead its global real estate and development law function and serve as the company’s lead in-house real estate transactions counsel.

She is currently a member and partner at BBN Law, concentrating her practice in commercial real estate matters. Kathleen was named an Illinois Super Lawyer in 2006 and 2008.

She has been engaged in matters including:

  • Transactional experience includes portfolio acquisitions and dispositions and sale leaseback transactions
  • Transactional experience in acquisitions, dispositions, management agreements, bankruptcies, leasing, due diligence, contracts, closings, workouts, and compliance
  • Representation of North Michigan Avenue landlord for lease matters with international luxury brands
  • International background in commercial and corporate real estate
  • Closed $500 million construction and purchase agreement and long-term management agreement for a major US hotel company, a transaction that also involved the formation of hospitality venture with New York mixed-use developer. The luxury, mixed-use project included hotel, residential, condominium, and retail components
  • Executed a complex $400 million transaction including formation of a hospitality venture, concerning the purchase of a resort property out of bankruptcy, placement of both first secured and mezzanine financing enabling the successful closing of the matter during the volatile and uncertain credit markets of 2007-2008
  • Negotiated a $30 million equity investment in a convention hotel property subject to convention revenue bonds, general contractor financing issues, and multiple sub-contractor liens, creating a performing asset in upscale destination market
  • Rebalanced real estate portfolio by exiting weaker ownership positions while securing long term management or franchise contracts
  • Rescued cash strapped owner with a luxury $100+ million east coast hotel with a corporate buy and rapid third party sale arrangement, involving new third party owner and upgraded and extended major US hotel company’s hotel management contract
  • Led all transactional matters for major US hotel company’s development and corporate transactions groups that gave the company a foothold in its industry during an unprecedented troubled economic period
  • Developed and implemented policies and procedures for the real estate legal team with a view toward a more structured approach to corporate and departmental performance goals and personal and professional development for the attorneys and legal staff, resulting in seamless sharing of transactions status reports necessary for business reporting and legal compliance
  • Represented major US bank’s Strategic Investments Group in a multi-million, 100 percent financed acquisition of 50,000 acres of redwood timberlands by a subsidiary of a non-profit corporation, for conservation and sustainable harvest goals
  • Represented natural whole foods company in a recapitalization investment merger of a target competitor

Practice Areas:

  • International Background in Commercial and Corporate Real Estate
  • Commercial Property Acquisitions
  • Commercial Property Dispositions
  • Commercial Leasing
  • Real Estate Development
  • Tenant-in-Common Transactions
  • Joint Venture Transactions
  • Project Finance
  • Management Agreements
  • Bankruptcies
  • Secured Lending and Energy Transactions, Including Wind Development Projects
  • Due Diligence
  • Contracts
  • Closings
  • Workouts
  • Compliance


Presenter for the National Business Institute, presenting topics for practicing attorneys in the field of commercial real estate transactions

Outside Affiliations

  • The Woman’s Athletic Club of Chicago (Member, 1999-Present)
    • Member, Board of Directors (2013-present)
    • Vice President, Entertainment (May 2015-present)
  • The Women’s Board of the Joffrey Ballet (2006-2015)
    • Co-Chair Bylaws Committee (2006)
    • Co-Chair Gala Event Committee (2007-2008)
  • The Women’s Board of United Cerebral Palsy (1996-2006)
    • Women’s Board Chair (2004-2006)
    • Women’s Board President (2002-2004)
    • Gala Event Committee Chair (2000-1999)
  • Milton Academy, Milton, Massachusetts (Member, Parents Association September 2011 to June 2014)
    • Member, New Parents Welcoming Committee (May 2012 to June 2013)
    • Chair, New Parents Welcoming Committee (May 2013 to June 2014)
  • The Latin School of Chicago (Member, Parents Association September 2000 to June 2012)
    • Parents’ Association, Bylaws Chair (2002-2008)
    • Parents’ Association, Tenth Grade Chair (2008-2009)