Charles R. Olson

Partner
Charles R. Olson
Services

Education

  • University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly University of California, Hastings College of the Law) (J.D. 1987)
    • Cum Laude
  • Harvard University (A.B. 1974)
    • Cum Laude

Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

Representative Matters

  • Represented a developer of 800 units of affordable and market-rate housing in a redevelopment area in San Francisco, handling all environmental review and project entitlements, subdivision of the 22-acre site, land transfers, infrastructure, and infrastructure financing, which included over $500 million of funding for a three-phase development involving tax-exempt bond financing, low-income housing tax credits, and multiple subordinate loans.
  • Represented the University of California, San Francisco in connection with its long-range planning for use of its San Francisco campus sites, including the new research and medical center site at Mission Bay. Legal services included all planning and environmental reviews, negotiation and documentation of all real estate transactions and environmental clearances for the development of the UCSF Mission Bay campus site, including the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, and negotiations with the former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and multiple City agencies.
  • Represented the University of California, San Francisco in connection with its long-term planning for revitalization of its Parnassus Heights campus. Legal services included all planning and environmental reviews, including for a new hospital, and successful defense of multiple legal challenges under the California Environmental Quality Act.
  • Represented the University of California, Berkeley in connection with its long-range planning and California Memorial Stadium Seismic Corrections and West Program Improvements projects, including successfully defending the University against multiple legal challenges alleging violations of the California Environmental Quality Act and the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Safety Zoning Act.
  • Represented the University of California, Davis in connection with its long-range planning for its Sacramento Medical Center and the Aggie Square project. Legal services included all planning and environmental review for a new hospital and mixed-use development project.
  • Represented multiple clients in successfully defending dozens of land use litigation cases in the Superior Court and Court of Appeal involving legal challenges alleging violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, general plan law, and other planning and zoning laws.
  • Represented large technology companies in developing or expanding corporate campuses in the Bay Area, including handling all environmental reviews, project entitlements, and negotiating development agreements.
  • Represented a client in an environmental review and entitlements for rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings at Pier 70 in San Francisco.

Charles R. Olson is a partner in Lubin Olson’s Land Use, Real Estate, Affordable Housing, and Litigation service groups, and he currently serves as the firm’s managing partner. He specializes in land use, land use litigation, and real estate transactions, including affordable housing.

In his land use practice, Mr. Olson represents developers, institutions, and other property owners in obtaining entitlements and permits for the use of their property. He has represented clients with complex development projects in San Francisco, throughout the Bay Area, and Northern California, including entitling multiple corporate campuses, large residential subdivisions, and complex mixed-use projects. Mr. Olson has extensive experience advising clients concerning the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), general plans, the Subdivision Map Act, and local planning codes and zoning ordinances. He has successfully represented clients throughout California in dozens of land use and CEQA cases at both the Superior Court and Court of Appeal levels.

In real estate, Mr. Olson represents property owners and developers in all aspects of real estate, including acquisitions and sales, financing and construction, and architect and contractor agreements. He has extensive experience in affordable housing transactions and has represented clients in the acquisition, financing, and development of thousands of affordable housing units using tax-exempt bonds and low-income housing tax credit financing, as well as financing insured by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Mr. Olson is a member of the State Bar of California and its Real Property and Environmental Law sections. He is actively involved in the community, working with the Lambda Alpha Land Economics Society; The Crucible (Industrial Arts Facility), serving on the board of directors from 2012-2017 and as president from April 2012 to 2017; and San Francisco Heritage, acting as president from 2007-2011 and serving on the board of directors from 2004-2012. 

Mr. Olson was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2021-2023 editions of The Best Lawyers in America© for his work in Land Use and Zoning Law. In addition, he has been honored by Thomson Reuters as a Northern California Super Lawyer from 2008-2012 and 2016-2023.