Ben graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University in 1971 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and minors in History and Theology after spending two years studying for the priesthood and later he served on the Board of Directors of Wheeling Jesuit College from 1973-1980 and as Chairman of Finance Committee from 1975-1978. Ben raised more in contributions in his first three years on the board then any prior Director at the age of twenty-four. Ben enlisted in the U.S. Army and served active in 1972 with an early release and continued in the U.S. Army Reserves for six years with an honorable discharge. Ben later attended and graduated from Duquesne University School of Law with a J.D. Degree. He was admitted to practice law in PA (1986), Washington, DC (1988), U.S. Supreme Court (1990), OH (1993) and NC (2006) and achieved Real Estate Broker licenses for PA (2003) and NC (2005).
Ben developed his interest in the commercial leasing law prior to law school after he had been shareholder, owner and CEO of restaurants in PA, WV and Ohio and their development from 1973-1982 and developed 18 restaurant sites for his companies.
In 1986, Ben took the position of Director of Real Estate for the Cafaro Company in Youngstown, OH and soon thereafter became the Vice President of Real Estate responsible for the leasing and development of over thirty million square feet of retail space. As Corporate Vice President he was responsible for anchor stores and big box leases and overseeing the leasing program and staff of over thirty (30) associates. In November of 1994, Ben became the Vice President of the Zamias Company in Johnstown, PA with similar responsibilities for George D. Zamias Development where he directed reorganization in developing leasing and legal personnel, expansion of existing centers and development of new centers. In 1995, Goldman-Sachs and The Shoe Show, Inc. requested his assistance in preparing The Shoe Show, Inc. for a public offering and he became their Chief Operating Officer directing acquisition for new stores, financing for a new distribution center, and expanding other various programs. By 1996 Ben returned to Pittsburgh and started his own Law Practice concentrating on commercial real estate transactions. Many of his prior contacts became clients, including many retailers and developers and eventually Dick’s Sporting Goods transferred their retail legal leasing to Ben in 1998 whereby he and his staff negotiated over 150 leases for Dick’s Sporting Goods. In 1999, Ben joined a major Pittsburgh law firm of Doepken, Keevican, and Weiss as a member and head of their expanded real estate division. In 2000, Ben and others started Shopping Center Law which serviced over 50 retailers and developers from 2000-2004. Also, in 2003, Ben and a partner registered Shopping Center Real Estate, Inc. and serviced landlords and retailers on a regional basis with retail leasing brokerage services.
Since 2005, Ben has negotiated many other commercial real estate transactions including, but not limited to: 28 acre shopping center site in Butler County, PA; 96 acres for private developer in NC; Sale of major Asian food chain in Atlanta; commissioned the development of 157 acres in Alabama for a retail and residential community working with the City of Enterprise and State officials in Alabama developing new four-lane access roads to the project; sale leaseback of convenient stores to a regional oil company in PA; negotiation in excess of 30 food court deals and other locations for a national Asian food chain.
Also, throughout his career, he has acted as an Expert Witness for litigation over shopping center ownership rights in a Federal Court in Georgia for a partner in the development, represented a tenant in a landlord/tenant dispute in State Court in Minnesota between Barnes & Noble and the landlord, represented a landlord in a breach of operating covenant by a grocery chain in a Penn State Shopping Center and appeared as a witness in a Reciprocal Easement Agreement dispute and relate issues for a landlord with adjoining land owners in a development in Erie, PA.
Upon moving to North Carolina in 2005 and acquiring his North Carolina Law License, he opened a small private practice with past national clients for retail leasing, both legal and brokerage. Ben also was certified by the North Carolina Court System, Dispute and Resolution Committee to be a Mediator for Superior Court System. Ben was also appointed for a special term as a Judge Magistrate in Brunswick County, North Carolina by the Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis, to help provide reorganization to the County Magistrate system. His position as Magistrate was later terminated due to a state law that was passed to NOT allow actively practicing attorneys to serve as a Magistrate Judge.
Ben has also represented many landowners in Condemnation, Eminent Domain and loan loss mitigation proceedings in North Carolina benefiting land owners rights and charitable and fraternal organizations by obtaining fair and just settlements in the taking of their property or in their loan obligations or investment property.
Ben had emergency by-pass heart surgery in September of 2009 and has since retired from practice for health reasons. He has always assisted local Brunswick County residents at no fee for services in local matters especially those that affected the elderly, disabled and those who have become unemployed.
ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS:
Ben has been an active member of the International council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) since the early 1980’s speaking at various events and writing articles for Trade Magazines and is well known for his 2002 article “Avoiding Big-box Blocks”.
Ben also co-authored a book entitled: “The essentials of office and retail leases in Pennsylvania” for the National Business Institute, used by attorneys and became part of the P.A. CLE program.
Ben throughout his career has been interviewed for local, regional and national articles on real estate issues which were published in their respective markets.
|Copyright©, 2011 - Benjamin Viloski|