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Barry A. Sullivan

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Real Estate Attorney in Honolulu, HI

Sullivan Meheula Lee, LLLP
Pacific Guardian Center, 733 Bishop Street, Suite 2900
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-628-7518
Fax: 808-533-2467
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2021
Licensed in Hawaii Since: 1992
Practice Areas: Real Estate: Business, Business/Corporate, Securities & Corporate Finance, Business Litigation, Mergers & Acquisitions
Attorney Profile

Barry Sullivan focuses his legal practice on real estate/real estate finance, corporate structuring, development, and the resolution of complex commercial disputes. In over twenty-five years of practice, Barry has become trusted counsel to some of the most successful and active private equity funds, institutional investors, and developers doing business in Hawaii. His breadth of experience in complex commercial litigation, real estate, hospitality, and Hawaii development and business enables Barry to provide informed, cost-effective and, most of all, useful advice to his clients.

Since 2005, Barry has acted as lead or local counsel in over $9 Billion in real estate and corporate financings and over $5 Billion in real estate sales and development projects. Notable transactions and matters include:

  • Lead counsel on the $475,000,000 construction financing of a luxury Hawaii development, representing the largest transaction of its kind West of the Mississippi (as of 2015)

  • Lead counsel on the corporate reorganization and sale of a significant local company to a Fortune 300 company (2018)

  • Lead counsel (for rake certificate holder/lender) on the complex, “first-of-its-kind” CMBS debt restructure of the Makena Beach and Golf Resort on Maui following the 2008 financial crisis that preserved asset value, maintained employment, and enabled the property to be developed as a Discovery Land Company resort.

  • Lead counsel and managing director on the financing and partner buyout of The Kahala Mandarin Oriental (for borrower), a transaction complicated due to the ultimate beneficial shareholder’s Japanese bankruptcy. This work led to the publication of one of the first appellate decisions applying Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code and a featured article in the American Bankruptcy Institute.

  • Lead counsel (for ground lessee) in the negotiation and documentation of new ground leases, amended ground leases, and ground lease extension on numerous major resort and commercial properties in Waikiki and throughout Hawaii.

  • Counsel for the lessor, lessee, borrower, lender, buyer or seller on more than 40% of the hotels in Waikiki

  • Lead counsel (for borrower) in the workout and debt restructure of the Maui Westin Resort.

  • Lead counsel in the acquisition or sale of numerous hotels and resort properties, including the Four Seasons Resort at Historic Kaupulehu, the Kona Village Resort, The Kahala Resort, the Makena Beach and Golf Resort, Maui Westin Resort, Maui Ritz Carlton, Queen Kapiolani, Hilton Garden Inn, Lotus Hotel, and multiple hotels in Waikiki and elsewhere.

  • Local counsel on multiple hotel, office, rental housing, condominium, and shopping center acquisitions and financings.

  • Debt, restructure and/or litigation counsel on numerous hotel and commercial properties during and following the 2008 financial crisis, including substantial portfolio work for Lehman Brothers and various other private equity borrower and lenders, in excess of $1.5 Billion

In addition to his work for business clients, Barry has substantial experience as a principal in entitlement, construction and development on Oahu, and as CFO and CEO of a venture-funded technology company, and seeks to apply the lessons he has learned as the “owner/client” for the benefit of his clients. 

Barry’s litigation practice started in the early 1990's and included a broad based caseload of state and federal court disputes. His litigation practice currently is limited to co-counsel with his litigation partners on very large, complex disputes. Notable experiences include maintaining a perfect record in defending state court CAAP arbitrations as a young attorney, lead plaintiff counsel on successful ERISA and insurance class actions in Hawaii Federal Court, environmental liability defense, administrative/zoning appeals, lead counsel on over $1 Billion in commercial foreclosures, and lead counsel in substantial commercial and real estate disputes in mediation, arbitration, and litigation.  Outside of commercial foreclosures, Barry has been lead plaintiff’s counsel in the recovery of well over $60,000,000 for his clients.

Barry has been recognized as a Hawaii Super Lawyer ™ every year since its inception in real estate, selected as one of Hawaii’s Best Lawyers in each of securitization and structured finance law, real estate law, corporate law, and commercial litigation.

Barry earned a B.A. in Economics, with College Honors from the University of Cincinnati in 1988. In addition to his academic work, he served as an infantry soldier in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard, was elected as the Student Body President, appointed as a Student Trustee on the University Board of Trustees, and received both the Citicorp Scholarship and the Edwin Frank Prize in Finance. Barry was a semi-professional bicycle racer and raced throughout the U.S. and Europe before attending graduate school and then law school where he graduated, cum laude, in 1992 from Cornell Law School.

Practice Areas
  • 40%Real Estate: Business
  • 20%Business/Corporate
  • 20%Securities & Corporate Finance
  • 10%Business Litigation
  • 10%Mergers & Acquisitions


14 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2021

About Barry A. Sullivan

First Admitted: 1992

Professional Webpage:

Educational Background

  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America, Graduate Study, Economics and Finance (ABT), 1989
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America, B.A., in Economics, Honors: With College Honors, Citicorp Scholar in Finance, Edwin Frank Scholarship Winner, Student Body President, Student Trustee, Student Body Vice President, 1988


  • Cum Laude, Cornell Law School
  • Cornell International Law Journal, Cornell Law School

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Hawaii
  • Urban Land Institute
  • Hawaii
  • U.S. District Court District of Hawaii
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit

Representative Clients

  • Hawaii affiliates of Cerberus Capital, MSD Capital, Rockpoint Capital, AREA Property Partners, and Trinity Investments; BlackSand Capital, Lehman Brothers Holdings, Eurohypo, various REMIC/CMBS Trustees, Dutch-American Finance. Past clients include Hawaii affiliates of Kajima Construction, Tokyu Corporation, Tokyo General, and various Japanese bankruptcy trustees.


  • Settlement of ERISA and labor claims on behalf of rank and file union members for in excess of $5 Million, 2004
  • Settlement of real estate litigation case on behalf of consumer plaintiffs totaling in excess of $5 Million, 1996


  • Resort insolvency, foreclosure and first-of-kind REMIC restructure ($200 M), 2010
  • From 2007-2013, lead or local counsel on numerous financings (portfolio and CMBS), acquisitions and dispositions of hotel, resort, office, shopping center, and other properties in Hawaii in excess of $5 Billion
  • Negotiation and sale of Hualalai Resort and the Four Seasons Resort, Kaupulehu, Hawaii (transaction in excess of $500 M), 2006
  • Counsel to lender through default and taking title to four-star luxury hotel on Island of Hawaii involving debts in excess of $80 M, 2008
  • Restructuring, new financing, and partner buyout, Kahala Mandarin Oriental Resort, Hawaii ($132 M), 2005
  • Negotiate and close Waikiki beachfront hotel ground lease, 2007
  • Workout and sale of The Kona Village Resort, Hawaii (leasehold transaction in excess of $60 M), 2004

Industry Groups

  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • Urban Land Institute
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Office Location for Barry A. Sullivan

Pacific Guardian Center
733 Bishop Street, Suite 2900
Honolulu, HI 96813

Phone: 808-628-7518

Fax: 808-533-2467

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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