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Chicago – Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, announced today that Chicago Government & Global Trade partner David Narefsky has been named to American Lawyer magazine’s prestigious “Dealmakers of the Year 2011” list. The annual awards honor lawyers who have demonstrated excellence in successfully managing complicated transactions. 

Mr. Narefsky was profiled for his work on the $1.6 billion Denver FasTracks Eagle P3 project, a first of its kind public-private partnership between Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) and Denver Transit Partners (DTP) to design-build-finance-operate-maintain expanded mass transit service for metropolitan Denver. FasTracks was financed in part with $400 million of private activity, tax-exempt bonds. “Although private activity bonds have been used to fund new toll roads, this marked their first use for mass transit,” American Lawyer notes.

The threshold legal challenge for the FasTracks project was determining the most cost-effective financing structure. As designated lenders’ counsel, the Mayer Brown team, led by Mr. Narefsky and New York Banking & Finance partner George Miller, coordinated with project sponsors, underwriters and bank lenders to evaluate and recommend best-value financing alternatives. When the winning bidder was selected and it became clear that financing would be provided by tax-exempt, private activity bonds, “that was when Narefsky’s work executing the complicated structure began in earnest,” American Lawyer said. 

“Denver FasTracks was one of the most challenging and interesting deals of my career,” Mr. Narefsky said. “I am honored to receive this award on behalf of George Miller and the entire Mayer Brown team whose skill, experience and dedication enabled us to conclude the deal successfully.”

The project schedule imposed the requirement of financial closing within 60 days of bid award, and American Lawyer notes that “ten Mayer Brown lawyers in Chicago and New York joined Narefsky for the sprint.” They worked in a highly collaborative manner with other project lawyers, ensuring both adequate protections for bond holders and required flexibility for the RTD and the project sponsors during both the six-year construction period (unusually long for bond financings) and the subsequent 30-year operating period of the PPP concession.

Mr. Narefsky’s practice is focused primarily on infrastructure and municipal finance. He has advised on other innovative public-private partnership transactions such as Chicago Midway Airport, Chicago Underground Garages and the Pennsylvania Turnpike; as well as other notable transactions, including private management agreements for the Illinois Lottery and Soldier Field; night baseball at Wrigley Field; and the landmark State of Illinois $10 billion pension bond financing.