John Smolen counsels on a variety of issues, focusing on project development, construction, and finance transactions in large-scale, complex highway and associated transportation projects and in the renewable energy and advanced or emerging technologies spaces. Mr. Smolen represents public owners in public-private ("P3") transactions and design-build transactions, renewable energy project developers, investors, industrial plant owners, and electricity-generating companies.
Prior to joining Nossaman, Mr. Smolen gained extensive experience in complex engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) transactions in the wind, solar, waste-to-energy, and proprietary technology commercialization spaces, having handled client matters through the life-cycle of a project.
While in law school, Mr. Smolen served as the editor in chief of the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Smolen served in the U.S. Navy as an officer, a naval aviator, flight instructor and Naval ROTC instructor.
Indiana Finance Authority - Ohio River Bridges Project, East End Crossing. Lead associate on the Nossaman team advising on the P3 procurement to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the East End Crossing portion of the bi-state Ohio River Bridges project, connecting Kentucky to Indiana. The East End Crossing will be procured and developed as an availability payment concession. The $800 million (capital cost) project includes: a new six lane East End Bridge that crosses the Ohio River, a lengthy tunnel and approaches on both sides of the Ohio River. Role includes assisting with drafting and finalizing the RFP documents, developing and implementing the evaluation process negotiating the public-private agreement, and ongoing financing and project management, administration and implementation counsel. Commercial close was achieved on December 27, 2012 and financial close occurred on March 28, 2013.
Virginia Department of Transportation - U.S. 460 Corridor - Phase II. Lead associate on Nossaman's team advising on the Phase II development of a rough-grade roadbed for the broader US 460 corridor project, a "Corridor Q" project in Southwest Virginia, furthering developing the Appalachian Development Highway System. Role includes preparing the sole-source procurement documents, presently in negotiations. The project will leverage the innovative "coal synergy" methodology, whereby the design-builder will utilize mine tailings to mitigate the need for off-site fill material, saving the Commonwealth considerable costs. The project expects commercial close in the 2nd quarter of 2013.
North Carolina Department of Transportation - I-77 HOT Lanes Project. Member of team assisting with the structuring and administration of a procurement of a toll concession P3 for $600 million high occupancy toll ("HOT") lanes along the I-77 corridor near Charlotte, North Carolina. Role includes supporting qualification submissions evaluation process and the drafting of the procurement documents.
Private Sector Heavy Industry Client. Lead counsel to a private sector fossil-fuel processing client in development of an EPC project to design and build a commercial scale coal processing facility for production of activated carbon. Role included preparing and negotiating the EPC contract, contract administration and dispute resolution assistance and follow-on development of other proprietary technology commercialization opportunities.
Private Sector Renewable Energy Project Developer. Lead associate to early-stage development client in wind-energy and geothermal-energy power producing facilities in the mountain states and Hawaii. Role included extensive corporate and finance representation, real property negotiations and drafting, extensive interface with local counsel regarding permitting and real property matters, mergers and acquisitions and other general counseling matters.
Private Sector Wind Energy Project Owner. Lead associate on a portfolio of joint project development efforts in the wind space throughout the Midwest, representing the Owner in project development and construction matters. Role included developing, drafting and negotiating several EPC and other construction contracts, real property matters and preparations for portfolio capital markets financings.
Private Sector Policy-Driven Federal Loan Recipient. Member of a four-lawyer team representing a large, privately-held automobile manufacturer in the negotiation and closing of a $1.4 billion loan in furtherance of a federal policy objective to bring electric car production stateside. Role included extensive diligence leading, term sheet and credit facility/security document drafting and negotiations and intellectual property matters.
Project development, construction, and finance practice, "rooftop" solar-energy development project efforts, other coal/waste coal-related projects, waste-to-energy facility retro-fit, financing and supply matters (including drafting and negotiation transportation agreements, operations and maintenance agreements, handling federal regulatory impositions on transactions, myriad real property drafting and title-related matters, insurance-related issues and confidentiality challenges);
Energy asset divestiture, asset purchase, and complex corporate and regulation-heavy diligence analysis and counseling;
Public finance (tax-exempt bond financing);
Retail energy sales transactions