D. Brennen Keene Partner

Brennen serves as co-lead of the firm’s renewable energy team. He assists clients with land-use and transactional matters related to a wide range of real estate development projects, including renewable energy projects, industrial projects, and commercial/mixed-use projects.

In his real estate transactional practice, Brennen assists project developers with a wide variety of development projects, particularly with regard to renewable and conventional energy projects, and economic development projects.  On energy projects, Brennen assists clients in all facets of those transactions, from early stage development, project acquisition and development, project construction financing and investments, and dispositions.  In his land-use practice, he represents clients as they seek local land-use approvals (e.g. rezonings, conditional-use permits and other necessary site development approvals) for a wide range of development projects, including projects that are to receive economic development incentives from state and local governments.  He also has extensive experience assisting energy project developers obtain local land use approvals throughout Virginia.

Experience

Energy Projects

Representation of an energy company in the acquisition, development and construction of over 40 solar energy projects in multiple states in three time zones with a total production capacity of over 1800 megawatts.

Ongoing representation of an energy company in the acquisition and development of multiple early-stage solar energy projects in Virginia.

Representation of a private equity fund in project development, construction financing and tax equity investment matters related to the development of multiple large-scale wind energy projects in multiple states. 

Representation of a public utility in the MISO territory in the negotiation of build transfer agreements for the acquisition of multiple wind projects.

Assisting an energy company reposition land with environmental constraints for the development of solar energy projects on those properties.

Representation of an energy company in obtaining local permitting for a 150 MW solar project with an on-site data center development that could include up to 1 million square feet under roof for the data center.

Representation of an energy company on land use and real estate matters for the construction of four separate gas-fired power generation facilities (ranging from 590 MW to almost 1600 MW).

Representation of a wind project developer on land use matters for what is anticipated to be the first wind energy project to be developed in Virginia.

Representation of the owner of a large coal-fired electric generation facility in obtaining local land use and siting approvals for an industrial waste landfill for the disposal of coal combustion by-products (CCBs).

Representation of an energy project developer and operator in obtaining local land use approvals for four landfill gas to energy facilities, and the negotiation of lease agreements with the local government for two of those facilities.

Representation of an energy company for local land use approvals in a Central Virginia locality for two separate solar energy projects collocated with existing businesses. 

Commercial, Industrial and Mixed-Use Developments

Representation of a Richmond-area developer in obtaining several zoning approvals for NorthLake, a 400-acre industrial/commercial development in Hanover County, Virginia with over 1.3 million square feet of space now developed. Brennen assisted the developer in the acquisition of the real estate for the project and negotiation for the sale of portions of the project to other developers. He also assisted the developer in obtaining a commitment of public funds for construction of road and water infrastructure for the project.

Representation of large retailer in the review of local land use entitlements and the negotiation of local incentives for two large distribution facilities located in Central Virginia.

Representation of a retail center developer in obtaining rezoning approval for over 200,000 square foot retail center, including a 135,000 square foot grocery store anchor, on an infill property located in a Central Virginia locality.  The grocery store anchor later hired Brennen to obtain additional entitlements for the store.

Representation of the subsidiary of an Indian-based pharmaceutical-grade gelatin manufacturer to obtain zoning approvals for the subsidiary’s North American headquarters and distribution center.

Representation of granite mining companies in seeking various land use approvals for development of new mining operations and the expansion or continuation of existing mining operations.

Assistance to a Swiss company with relocating its U.S. distributorship to a new headquarters in Virginia. Brennen assisted the client in obtaining zoning approval for the new headquarters, helped defend the rezoning approval in litigation and assisted in the acquisition of the headquarters property.

Representation of a private sports-shooting club in Hanover County, Virginia, in obtaining new land use approvals for the club’s operations. The new land use approvals permitted the club to expand and redevelop some of its ranges, and preserved the right of the club to continue its operations despite significant opposition to the project.

Representation of several residential project developers in Central Virginia on new development projects for a mix of residential types, including single family detached project, townhouse projects and multi-family developments. 

Representation of Local Governments

Representation of a central Virginia county as special land use counsel to the county, including drafting of significant amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance, and comprehensive plan.

Representation of a national land use consulting firm in rewriting three separate local zoning codes for three separate localities in Virginia.

Representation of a southeastern Virginia county in its negotiations with a developer of a proposed large-scale mixed-use development. In that representation, Brennen negotiated with the developer regarding zoning conditions applicable to the project and incentives for development of the project.

Representation of a city in southeastern Virginia with regard to complex real estate and land use issues related to the closure of a federal military installation under the Base Realignment and Closure process. In that representation, Brennen assisted the city in obtaining amendments to the Virginia Code to allow the city to create a special redevelopment authority for the closed military installation.

  • University of Richmond School of Law, JD, Member and Executive Editor, University of Richmond Law Review, 1996
  • Guilford College, BS, 1991

Board Member, Richmond CultureWorks, 2013 to present

Board Member, 2010 to 2014; Board Chairman, 2012-13, Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce

Board Member and Secretary, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, 2014 to present

President, Board of Directors, Guildford College Alumni Association, 2005-2007

  • Moderator, "Utility Renewable Energy Plans and Green Energy Tariffs" and "Virginia—Land Use Concerns for Solar Developers Emerge Amid Large-Scale Procurements for C&I Customers," Southeast Renewable Energy Summit, October 28-30, 2019
  • Panelist, Update on Virginia's Renewable Energy Market, Webinar, September 12, 2019
  • Speaker, "Virginia's Proffer Statute," Rural Planning Caucus of Virginia, October 2017
  • Speaker, "Solar Energy Project Development and Land Use Issues," Virginia Local Government Attorneys Association, Fall 2017
  • Speaker, "Getting Projects Approved in the Age of Social Media," Land Use in the 21st Century, November 2016
  • Moderator, "Defense Renewable Opportunities and Procurements," Southeast Renewable Energy Summit, November 2016
  • Speaker, "Land Use and Real Estate Issues for Solar Development," Rural Planning Caucus of Virginia, October 2016
  • Speaker, "A Case Study on Watkins Center," presented by the Virginia Chapter of the Urban Land Institute, June 2016
  • Speaker, "Wind Energy Project Development," Virginia Bar Association Winter Meeting, 2015
  • Speaker, "Zoning and Land Use Issues," Virginia Land Law Seminar, July 2011
  • Virginia

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Land Use and Zoning Law, Real Estate Law, Woodward/White, Inc., 2018-2020

Selected for inclusion in America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, Southern Virginia, Chambers USA, 2017-2019

Named to "Legal Elite," Real Estate/Land Use, Virginia Business, 2012-2015, 2017

Named to "Virginia Rising Stars," Land Use/Zoning, Real Estate, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2007-2009

Named to the Real Estate Circle of Excellence by the Kornblau Real Estate Program, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business

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