Photo of Joseph M. Fazio

Joseph M. Fazio

Real Estate Deputy Group Leader




Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 1985

University of Michigan, B.A. 1980

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals

  • Sixth Circuit

No matter how complex, Joe's emphasis is on keeping the parties engaged and focused on the issues to be resolved for the transaction to come to a successful end.

Joe's specific areas of expertise include complex commercial real estate acquisitions and developments, with extensive experience in ground leasing, entity formation and public/private development agreements, as well as conventional, securitized and tax-increment financing. 

Representative Matters

Joe helped a client obtain approval of a site plan for a 10-story student housing project in the face of significant community opposition. In a stunning reversal of fortune, the city council unanimously approved the project after it had been unanimously rejected by the city planning commission.

In another matter, Joe crafted a plan for a regional shopping center anchored by a national retailer. The complex transaction involved the simultaneous closing on about 11 distinct parcels of land, a sale of a significant portion of the assembled land to a third-party national retailer, closing on a significant tax increment-financed special assessment district to fund infrastructure costs, the leasing of approximately 70 percent of the project to be built on the client-retained land, and closing a construction loan.


Michigan's Top 10 Influential Real Estate Lawyers, Business Today, 2023

Midwest Real Estate Journal Hall of Fame Inductee, 2021

Best Lawyers in America, Ann Arbor Real Estate Lawyer of the Year, 2022 & 2024; Recognized for Real Estate Law, 2005-present; Ann Arbor Real Estate Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019; Recognized for Real Estate Litigation, 2012-present

Michigan Super Lawyers, Real Estate, 2006-present

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Real Estate (Band 2), 2008-present

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Real Estate, 2011-present

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan, 1985, Real Property Law Section

Washtenaw County Bar Association

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Legacy Land Conservancy, Board of Trustees, 2010-present

Ann Arbor Art Center, Chairman of the Board, 2005-2007; Vice President, 2004; Board Member, 2000-2006

Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chairman of the Board of Directors, 2002-2003

Leadership Ann Arbor, Graduate


"Lean, Mean, Seen and Green - Solving the Top Issues in Buying, Financing, Leasing, Renovating and Repopulating: Purchase Agreement and Due Diligence Considerations," State Bar of Michigan Real Estate Section Summer Conference, Thompsonville, MI, July 2013

"Increment Financing and the Public Private Real Estate Project – A Practical Analysis," University of Michigan Law School, Real Estate Society Presentation 2/10/09

"Improved Real Estate Due Diligence, including Lease and Financing Issues," Miller Canfield University, October 2004

"The Mechanics of Commercial Development from Start to Finish: Part I - Pre-purchase, Due Diligence, Acquisition of Land and Purchase Agreements," sponsored by the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, 2002

"Building the Three-Legal Table – Lender, Borrower and Tenant Issues in the Current Commercial Real State Market," sponsored by the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, 1999

Annual real estate symposiums titled "Recent Trends & Issues in Commercial Leasing" (1993); "Commercial Leasing and Use of Forms – A Double-edge Sword" (1994); "Ground Leasing and Sale/Lease-back Transaction – An Alternative for Real Estate Development and Financing" (1995); "The Loan Application/Commitment Process: an Agreement to Fund" (1996); and "Multiple Parcel Acquisitions and the Use of Escrows" (1997); sponsored by Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth, Heller & Pesses, P.C., and presented for clients, prospective clients, brokers, and others in the real estate industry

"Small Business Borrowing," sponsored by the Livonia Chamber of Commerce, 1997

"Michigan Commercial Real Estate Transactions," sponsored by Professional Education Systems, Inc., 1997

"Analysis and Negotiation of Commercial Leases on Behalf of Tenants," sponsored by the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, 1995, 1996, and 1997