Overview

As chair of the firm’s Real Estate and Land Use Department, Gary B. O'Connor's practice focuses on real estate, land use and environmental matters. He has extensive experience in all aspects of complex industrial and commercial real estate transactions, particularly those impacted by environmental conditions.  Gary is experienced in the fields of regulatory compliance and permitting.  He has worked closely with regulators from DEEP, EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local agencies on behalf of his private and public sector clients.  Moreover, he has successfully negotiated major federal and state grant and loan agreements in connection with large-scale public and private remediation and redevelopment projects.

Gary has represented the public sector in the creation of a major airport authority, the closing of one of the largest real estate transfers in Connecticut and the development of regional malls, magnet schools and large urban renewal projects.  He has successfully handled complex eminent domain cases on behalf of municipalities. Gary has also represented private developers in connection with the acquisition, remediation, land use permitting and construction of large commercial and residential projects, many of which are located on former brownfield sites.

Gary currently serves as co-chair of Connecticut's Brownfields Working Group, and has been one of the leaders in Connecticut in revising state environmental laws.  He served as co-chair of the Environment Committee of Governor Dannel Malloy's Transition Team.  Gary is presently working with the Governor's Office and leadership of the General Assembly to create a comprehensive brownfields initiative in the state. Gary was instrumental in establishing the Office of Brownfields Remediation and Development, which serves as the clearinghouse for state brownfield issues.  Gary is a LEED Accredited Professional.  LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. 

Throughout his career, Gary has counseled clients in the health care industry on regulatory, transactional and business matters. Currently, Gary represents a national EMS provider, physicians and related health care practices.

Contact Info

  • Hartford
    90 State House Square
    Hartford, CT 06103-3702
  • Waterbury
    255 Bank Street
    Suite 2B
    Waterbury, CT 06702-2219
  • Professional Affiliations

    American Bar Association - Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section

    Connecticut Bar Association - Environment, Real Estate and Land Use Section

    National Brownfield Association

    Air & Waste Management Association

    Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Comprehensive Evaluation and Transformation of Connecticut's Cleanup Laws Working Group 

    Community Involvement

    State Brownfield's Working Group -  co-chair

    Face of Connecticut

    Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce - past chairman and member of Board of Directors

    James Cooper Foundation - Fellow

    Police Activities League - legal counsel, director

    Loyola Development, Inc. - secretary, director

    Honors & Recognitions

    Recipient of the 2013 Malcolm Baldrige Community Award from the Waterbury Regional Chamber

    Received the highest peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell (AV) 

    Listed in Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers to Businesses in the area of environmental law

    Recipient of Waterbury Chamber's Malcolm Baldrige Leadership Award

    Selected to Greater Hartford's Top Attorneys

    Listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of litigation - real estate since 2016

    Selected to the Super Lawyers list since 2013 in the areas of environmental law and real estate

    Representative Matters

    The following are representative of Gary's accomplishments and experience:

    • Represents the newly established Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) in connection with all real estate, land use, permitting and environmental issues relating to the transfer of Connecticut's airports from the Department of Transportation to CAA.
    • Successfully represented a major Connecticut municipality in litigation against claims of violations of the Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws.
    • Serves as counsel to a municipality in connection with the remediation and redevelopment of a former blighted industrial area into a mixed use development which includes a regional retail outlet center, restaurants, hotels and residential housing.
    • Represented an industrial developer in the purchase from a major mortgage-backed security pool of a mortgage encumbering a large industrial property; negotiated with the former owner for an uncontested foreclosure of the mortgage and an assignment of the owners assets to the client; and successfully reached an agreement with the former tenant of the property to reimburse the client on major building repairs and to remediate the environmental conditions at the property.

    • Represents a regional developer in connection with all land use approvals (i.e. inland wetlands, planning and zoning) relating to the development of a regional retail center which includes national retail stores.
    • Represented regional retail developer in connection with the investigation and remediation of a contaminated site which impacted a significant wetlands area.  Negotiated with DEP, EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding remedial and development permits.  In addition, represented the developer in connection with all title and land use issues.
    • Represented a regional development agency in connection with all land use, title and environmental issues relating to the development of a $200 million downtown project which included an arts magnet school, a UCONN branch, a 3,000 seat theater, parking garages and related improvements.
    • Represented a major solid waste and recycling facility in the negotiation of a Consent Order with DEEP.
    • Represents regional waste haulers, processors and recyclers in connection with permitting, real estate and land use issues.
    • Represented a regional development agency in connection with the remediation of a 200-year-old industrial complex and development of a one-million square foot regional mall.  Handled title and land use issues.
    • Represents a major Connecticut municipality in the redevelopment of a 600,000 square foot industrial building on a large brownfield site.  Responsibilities include all land use, environmental and construction issues, dealing with federal and state regulations, and negotiating long-term leases with international tenants.
    • Defended a national EMS provider in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut.  Successfully negotiated a settlement of the case.
    • Serves as an outside environmental counsel to a major municipality regarding CEPA litigation, landfill closure, well contamination and remediation issues.
    • Served as counsel to numerous businesses involved in CERCLA contribution/recovery actions.
    • Obtained one of the first State grants under the Connecticut brownfields pilot program and represented a municipality in the remediation and demolition of former manufacturing facilities and the redevelopment of the space for new industrial buildings.

    News & Insights

    Speaking Engagements

    Publications

    Press Releases

    Case Studies

    • Throughout the university’s transformation, it has called upon Pullman attorneys to provide guidance on many of the legal issues it has faced.  These have included critical real estate and environmental matters encountered with its geographical expansion; personnel and employee benefit questions; litigation disputes; and helping the University realize the economic benefits of its varied revenue services.  

      09.24.2019
    • Our Real Estate and Government Finance attorneys represented the University of Connecticut in connection with the relocation of its West Hartford University library facilities and operations to the main branch of the Hartford Library.

    • Attorneys from our Government Finance and Real Estate practice were instrumental in the transformation of a blighted industrial property in Bridgeport into multifamily housing and a new charter school.

    • Pullman & Comley attorneys, in coordination with the State Brownfield Working Group,  the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Office of Policy Management and the Commerce Committee of the general Assembly, were instrumental in the creation of a new law that provides greater flexibility and incentives to municipalities for cleaning and redeveloping contaminated sites.

    • Pullman & Comley is participating in a number of endeavors to help Connecticut entrepreneurs and startups launch and build new businesses.

    • With the assistance of Pullman & Comley attorneys, Sacred Heart University purchased the 66-acre former General Electric world headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut.

    • Pullman & Comley has taken the lead in proposing innovative legislation to form a state-certified brownfield land bank that creates a valuable new tool for municipalities seeking to remediate and redevelop brownfield sites.

    • Pullman & Comley’s Real Estate and Land Use, Environmental and Government Finance attorneys have been working with the mayor and officials from the City of West Haven to develop an underutilized portion of the city’s shoreline on Long Island Sound.

    • Pullman & Comley, continues to be a leader on brownfield development, closing deals that change non-productive property into commercially developed land that benefits entire communities. For years, several of our attorneys have been working on various aspects of a large brownfield site located in Waterbury,Connecticut, commonly known as WIC (Waterbury Industrial Commons).

    Industries

    Bar and Court Admissions

    • Connecticut
    • U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut

    Education

    Boston College Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1980

    Boston College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1977

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