Philadelphia Office
1835 Market Street - Suite 1400
PA 19103
215.569.1663 phone215.568.6603

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Carl S. Primavera

Partner | Real Estate and Finance | Litigation


Carl S. Primavera, acknowledged as one of the area’s premier zoning and land use attorneys, serves as Chair of the firm’s Zoning and Land Use Group. He has written and lectured extensively on a variety of topics including zoning and land use, real estate development, real estate tax assessments, the appeals process, and litigating real estate disputes. Carl works closely with architects, engineers and construction professionals to achieve his clients’ goals quickly and efficiently and has the skills to navigate the bureaucratic maze which surrounds the development of real estate in both urban areas and outlying suburban communities.

An active and prominent member of many legal societies and associations, he served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 2001.  Mr. Primavera is also a ranked attorney by Chambers USA and is listed in The 2018, 2019 and 2020 Best Lawyers in America© lists. In addition, Mr. Primavera has been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer® consecutively since 2006 by a vote of his peers.

Primavera, Carl



Temple University School of Law, J.D. (1978)

Pennsylvania State University, B.A., Highest Honors (1975)


United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Supreme Court of the United States


Chancellor,  Philadelphia Bar Association (2001)

Chancellor-Elect,  Philadelphia Bar Association (2000)

Vice-Chancellor,  Philadelphia Bar Association (1999)

Member,  The Andrew Hamilton Circle

Trustee,  The Philadelphia Bar Foundation

Chair,  Law Week Committee (2000)

Co-Chair,  Long Range Planning Committee (1995 and 1996)

Board of Governors (1993-1995)

Board Member,  Building Industry Association

Member,  Lambda Alpha International

Settlement Master,  Court of Common Pleas

Board Member,  Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association (1992)

Board Member,  the Lawyers’ Club of Philadelphia (1992-1994)

Chancellor,  Justinian Society (1990-1992)

Member,  Rendell ‘91 Department of Licenses & Inspections Transition Team Task Force

Member,  Phi Beta Kappa


Awards and Honors

Named to "The Best Lawyers in America©" list for Land Use and Zoning Law (2018-2020)

Named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer (2004-2013)


Carl Primavera and Sean Whalen co-authored a chapter on litigating real estate claims in the recently ABA-published book entitled "An Introduction to Health Law Litigation Based On Contract and Government Claims." Their chapter focused on a case they successfully litigated in state and Federal court involving zoning, land use and the ADA.

"A New Day Has Arrived - Real Estate Perspective On The New Philadelphia", The Urban Land Institute, September 4, 2008

"Current Issues, Trends in Philadelphia Real Estate Development," co-author, The Legal Intelligencer, March 24, 2004

“Legal and Business Perspectives on The Development Process; Capital Markets, Business Practices and Ethics”, Delaware Valley Chapter of The Counselors of Real Estate in conjunction with Temple University Real Estate Institute, 2000

"Land Use Law Updated", National Business Institute, 2000

"Navigating the Maze: A Practitioner's Guide through the City of Philadelphia's Zoning and Land Use Agencies", The Justinian Society, 1998

“Life in the Big City II: Selected Topics for Municipal Attorneys”, Philadelphia Bar Education Center, 1996

“Locally Unpopular Land Uses”, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 1996

“Helping Real Estate Clients Do Business in Philadelphia”, co-sponsored by the Real Property Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Education Center, 1995

"Municipal Court Code Enforcement Actions”, Tau Epsilon Rho Law Society Seminar, 1995

“Zoning Law in Philadelphia”, VIP Training, 1994

“Boundary Disputes in Pennsylvania”, National Business Institute, 1992

“Boundary Law in Pennsylvania”, National Business Institute, 1991

“Civil Trial Tactics in Municipal Court”, panelist at the Philadelphia Bar Association Bench Bar Conference in Baltimore, MD, by the Municipal court Committee, 1990

“Philadelphia Administrative Law”, Professional Education Committee of Philadelphia Bar Association, 1988

“Zoning Law and Practice in Pennsylvania”, Philadelphia Bar Institute, 1988

Representative Matters:
  • Representing developers of significant Center City real estate in regard to the permits and approvals necessary for construction of office buildings, parking garages and mixed use projects, including the parking facility for the Regional Performing Art Center and the conversion of the former SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceutical Facility to the “Networks“ Building which serves as a major telecom and e-commerce hotel;

  • Representing major owners and developers of real estate in connection with real estate tax exemptions, abatements and assessment appeals, including Graduate Health System and Thomas Jefferson University;

  • Representing high-profile restaurants for zoning, building and other development and licensing approvals.  Restaurants include McCormick & Schmick, Ruth's Chris, Cuba Libre, Alma de Cuba, Morimoto, Starbucks, Kansas City Prime, and Bucca di Beppo;

  • Representing real estate developers with regard to condemnation proceedings and related damages concerning urban renewal programs, PennDOT acquisitions and related exercise of the powers of eminent domain by governmental and quasi-governmental agencies and authorities including work for Oliver Tyron Pulver in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania and Delancey-Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; and

  • Administrative proceedings and related appeals and litigation concerning highly regulated industries including solid waste facilities, outdoor advertising displays and related businesses which are subject to stringent local, state, and federal regulation including Eller Media Company (outdoor advertising) and Advanced Organics (food processing).