Timothy A. Tosta

Timothy A. Tosta

Partner - San Francisco
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One Market Plaza
Spear Tower, 24th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
TEL: 415.356.4612
FAX: 415.356.3864
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Timothy Tosta procures land use entitlements for some of the State’s most complex and controversial development proposals.  That’s why he was honored by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal as one of California's Top Real  Estate Lawyers, citing his work on the Facebook Headquarters Project in Menlo Park, California.  The Facebook Project followed on the heels of Tim’s work for the Bohannon Development Company on the Menlo Gateway Project, enabling the transformation of aged industrial properties into a state-of-the-art corporate campus, which also was heralded by the Daily Journal, in 2011, as one of the State’s top five development deals.

Whether it is introducing high-rise housing into San Francisco's Civic Center (10th & Market Project) or procuring approval to allow the conversion of an aged downtown furniture mart to office and technology uses (now Twitter’s new facilities), Tim is always innovating to meet or exceed his clients’ expectations.

The diversity of Tim's experience in product types, geography, regulatory agencies, environmental issues, and political cultures, readily distinguish him from his peers.  He is much more than a lawyer.  He builds entitlement teams and strategies from the ground up, working in partnership with his clients, while securing the project’s legal compliance. The variety and sophistication of his practice are briefly illustrated in the Representative Projects section below.

Tim’s record of successful entitlement includes the five star Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara, an exclusive Palm Springs residential/golf community, a major San Luis Obispo County shopping center, a rare Lake Tahoe interval ownership resort, a hilltop Malibu residential community or a unique master plan for 10,000 acres on the Orange County coast.  Tim gets the job done.

Tim knows what matters to his clients -- outcome, timing and value. He also understands the fundamental needs and desires of California's communities. Bearing both in mind, he develops innovative strategies and creative solutions for complex projects, delivered with artful diplomacy, yet backed by legal precision and political sophistication. His accumulated wisdom, garnered from his 38 years of land use practice throughout California, enables his clients to prevail in the State’s most treacherous political environments.

Finally, Tim fully defends, in court, the entitlements that he has obtained.  Among other victories, Tim argued Citizens of Goleta Valley v Board of Supervisors of Santa Barbara County, one of the State’s most significant California Environmental Quality Act decisions before the California Supreme Court.  He also obtained an eminent domain settlement from the City and County of San Francisco, which is believed to be the largest recovery in California’s history for a single parcel.

Tim’s work and career have been prominently featured in numerous books and publications including, From the Ground Up by Douglas Frantz, The American Lawyer, California Law Business, California Magazine,  The California Executive, the Daily Journal, the California Lawyer and Superlawyers Magazine.

Tim lectures at national meetings, conferences and conventions, which have included, among others, the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Architects, the American Law Institute, the American Planning Association, the California State Bar Real Estate Section, the National Association of Real Estate Editors,  the California Association of Appellate Lawyers, the Urban Land Institute and the California League of Cities, City Managers Section.  He regularly speaks before a variety of business groups, community organizations, and charities, and lectures at colleges and universities throughout California.

Representative Projects




101 2nd St., San Francisco

88 Kearny St., San Francisco

333 Bush St., San Francisco

Rincon Center, San Francisco

The Pacific Center, San Francisco

1 Market St., San Francisco

71 Stevenson St., San Francisco

49 Stevenson St., San Francisco

55-2nd St., San Francisco



10th and Market Streets, San Francisco

Fillmore Ctr., San Francisco

The Infinity, San Francisco

750 2nd St., San Francisco

333 Bush St., San Francisco

The Metropolitan, San Francisco

45 Lansing St., San Francisco

Rincon Center, San Francisco

Oak Knoll Naval Base Conversion, Oakland

The Sierra, Oakland

TCR Telegraph Avenue, Oakland

Bayside Village, San Francisco 

829 Folsom St., San Francisco

80 Natoma, San Francisco

650 Eddy St., San Francisco

950 Gilman St., San Francisco


Pacific Center, San Francisco

Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco

M-31 Hotel, San Francisco


55 Stockton St., San Francisco

200 Stockton St., San Francisco

300 Grant Ave., San Francisco

The Pacific Ctr., San Francisco

150 Powell St., San Francisco

Oak Knoll Naval Base Conversion, Oakland


Pacific Center, San Francisco

Rincon Center, San Francisco

333 Bush St., San Francisco

300 Grant Ave., San Francisco

Great Oaks Project, San Jose

Oak Knoll Naval Base Conversion, Oakland

San Francisco Executive Park, San Francisco

55 Stockton St., San Francisco


Internet Service Exchange, 160 Harrison St., San Francisco

Telecom Exchange Project, 100 Harrison St., San Francisco

San Francisco Merchandise Mart conversion to office/technology uses (current home of Twitter), San Francisco

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Mission Bay, San Francisco

US Dataport, San Jose

Suburban, Ex-urban, Town & Resort


Facebook Campus Headquarters Project, Menlo Park

Menlo Gateway, Menlo Park

375 Page Mill Rd. (AOL facility), Palo Alto

Terrabay Project, So. San Francisco

Borland International Headquarters Campus, Scotts Valley

Lafayette Town Center, Lafayette

Schoonmaker Point, Sausalito


Bishop Ranch, Monterey

Rancho Malibu, Malibu*

South San Francisco Transit Village South San Francisco

Greenfarm Residences, Santa Cruz County

DeSilva Island Project, Marin County

Lafayette Town Center, Lafayette

Lodestar, Mammoth Lakes Neary Lagoon Affordable Housing Santa Cruz

Schaefer Heights, Dublin

Seascape Uplands, Aptos*

The Cloisters Community, Morro Bay*

Tradition Club Golf Residential Community, La Quinta

TCR Milpitas Project, Milpitas

TCR Park Square, Petaluma



Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara County*

Breakers Inn, Sonoma County*

Stateline Embassy Suites Hotel, South Lake Tahoe**

ESR South Lake Tahoe Resort, South Lake Tahoe**

Seascape Beach Resort, Aptos*

Mission Hills Vacation Resort, Rancho Mirage

Menlo Gateway Hotel, Menlo Park


Lafayette Town Center, Lafayette

Morro Bay Shopping Center, Morro Bay*

Technology, Healthcare, Education & Institutions

Facebook Campus Headquarters Project, Menlo Park

Borland International Headquarters Campus, Scotts Valley

Peninsula Humane Society Center for Compassion, Burlingame

Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Palo Alto

Shinnyo-en USA National Headquarters Campus, Redwood City

The Bridge School, Hillsborough

The Armstrong School, Belmont

Large-Scale Master Planning

San Francisco Executive Park, San Francisco

Oak Knoll Naval Base Conversion, Oakland

Mountain House Community Plan, San Joaquin County

Lodestar Master Plan, Mammoth Lakes

Irvine Coast Local Coastal Program, Orange County*

*       Indicates jurisdiction with the California Coastal Commission

**     Indicates jurisdiction with the Tahoe Regional Planning Authority 






Video Series

In a series of short videos, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP Land Use Partner Tim Tosta discusses four societal trends impacting designers and developers in California.



Personal Writings


Bar Admissions

Seminars and Presentations:

  • Panelist: "How To Break Into Real Estate Law" - Finance & Real Estate Club - University of California, Hastings - April 1, 2015.
  • Panelist: 2014 Land Use Round Table - California Lawyer - San Francisco - August 15, 2014.
  • Co-presenter: "How Technology is Changing the Workplace - An Intimate Conversation" - 33rd Annual Real Property Law Section Retreat - Yosemite - May 1-3, 2014.
  • Co-presenter: Climate Change discussion with John Leslie - McKenna Long & Aldridge offices - video conference - March 11, 2014.
  • Presenter: "How Technology is Changing the Workplace - An Intimate Conversation" - San Francisco - October 22, 2013.
  • Moderator: "How Technology is Changing the Workplace and Cities" - 2013 ULI Spring Conference - San Diego - May 16, 2013.
  • Presenter: "Friending Facebook: How to Get New Business to Like Your City" - League of California Cities City Managers Meeting - Wyndham Hotel, San Francisco - January 30, 2013.
  • Moderator: "Place of Mind: Tech Space Use and Real Estate Ramifications" - 2nd Annual Real Estate and Law (REAL) Symposium - Stanford University - January 30, 2013.
  • "What Does it Take for a City Manager to Get a Development Deal Done Now?" - League of California Cities Presents: City Manager's Department Meeting 2012 - Indian Wells, CA - February 1, 2012.
  • Moderator: "Technology - Is it a Bubble?" - ULI Commercial Local Product Council - San Francisco - January 26, 2012.
  • "Ethics: When Staying Within the Rules Is Not Enough" - CLE International 13th Annual Conference: Eminent Domain - San Francisco - November 3, 2011.
  • "CEQA Update: Perspectives from Project Opponents and Project Proponents" - Los Angeles County Bar Association - February 17, 2011.
  • "CEQA Update: Differing Perspectives" - Los Angeles County Bar Association - December 8, 2010.
  • "The Power of Storytelling in Oral & Written Advocacy" - Select Conference on Industry Litigation - Ojai, CA - November 20-21, 2010.
  • "Transformative Listening" - Star - San Diego - November 17, 2010.
  • "Mindful Law Conference" - October 29 through 31, 2010.
  • "Transformative Listening" - Planning Director Association Conference - Yorba Linda - October 14, 2010.
  • “Transformational Listening” - Association of Corporate Counsel, San Diego Chapter - June 11, 2010.
  • "Why Not Thrive in Turbulent Times?" - Urban Land Institute - San Diego:
    2010: June 11, April 30 and January 15. 2009: December 11, October 28 and September 17.
  • "Why Not Thrive in Turbulent Times?" - Urban Land Institute - Irvine:
    2010: April 29 and January 14. 2009: December 10, October 27 and September 22.  
  • "Informed Dying is the Only Way to Live" - Silicon Valley Business Association - April 21, 2010.
  • "Why Not Thrive in Turbulent Times?" - Urban Land Institute - San Francisco:
    2010: January 19. 2009: November 18, October 7, September 17, July 14 and March 18.
  • “The Chi of San Francisco” - ULI Fall Meeting, Inner City Council - November 4, 2009.
  • “Moving Mountains – Negotiating a Win-Win” - ULI Fall Meeting, Small Scale Commercial Council - November 4, 2009.
  • “Recovering California” with Sunne McPeak - Luce Forward Leadership Luncheon – May 5, 2009.
  • “Transformative Listening” - Wells Fargo Trust Department - April 16, 2009.
  • "Staying Alive - Workouts & Breakouts: What Can Be Built in Today's Market?" - Urban Land Institute - San Francisco - September 10, 2008.
  • "Mixed-Use Development Conference" - CLE International - August 21, 2008.
  • "Lessons for the Living" - California Association of Appellate Lawyers - May 16, 2008.
  • "Mixed-Use Development Conference" - CLE International - January 10, 2008.