Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP is now Arent Fox. Read the press release

Timothy A. Tosta

Tim procures land use entitlements for some of California’s most complex development proposals.
Timothy A. Tosta, Partner at Arent Fox

According to Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers in Business, clients view him as “an expert at putting together a complex deal” with an “uncanny knack for putting people at ease while broaching difficult issues” (2018 edition). Clients also say Tim’s strengths are “his political connections, his unique ability to read people and issues, and a strong sense of how to get to a resolution, even with issues that seem insurmountable” (2017 edition). Legal 500 identifies him as an “expert in California land use” and “very politically astute” with “excellent ideas on how to get projects approved as well as to garner public support.” That’s why he was honored by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal as one of California’s Top 50 California Development Lawyers in 2014, and one of California’s Top Real Estate Lawyers in 2013, 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 (The NEMA, San Francisco) or procuring approval to allow the conversion of an aged downtown furniture mart to office and technology uses (now Twitter’s corporate headquarters), 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 distinguishes 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, among others, 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 and 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 more than 40 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, San Francisco Magazine, 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, Counsellors of Real Estate, 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

NEMA, 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

Telecom Exchange Project

160 Harrison St., San Francisco

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 (former Sun Campus) Project, Menlo Park

  • West Campus
  • West Campus Expansion
  • Willow Campus Planning

Menlo Gateway, Menlo Park

  • 2010 Approval
  • 2015 Entitlement Update
  • Ongoing Project Implementation

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

Burlingame Point Campus, Burlingame

Borland International Headquarters Campus, Scotts Valley

Terrabay Project, So. San Francisco

Schoonmaker Point, Sausalito

Lafayette Town Center, Lafayette


Nine Unit Subdivision, Los Altos Hills

Rancho Malibu, Malibu*

Bishop Ranch, Monterey

Greenfarm Residences, Santa Cruz County

South San Francisco Transit Village South San Francisco

Lafayette Town Center, Lafayette

DeSilva Island Project, Marin County

Neary Lagoon Affordable Housing, Santa Cruz

Lodestar, Mammoth Lakes

Seascape Uplands, Aptos*

Schaefer Heights, Dublin

Tradition Club Golf Residential Community, La Quinta

The Cloisters Community, Morro Bay*

TCR Park Square, Petaluma

TCR Milpitas Project, Milpitas



Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara County*

Breakers Inn, Mendocino 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 (multiple phases), 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

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

Publications, Presentations & Recognition







Personal Writings

  • “Putting Things in Perspective: Stories of a Hospice Volunteer - a collection of short stories” - August 2006 through July 2013. Read all stories.

Seminars & Presentations

  • Guest Lecturer: "Public Private Partnerships in the Realm of Development" - Masters in Real Estate Development + Design (MRED+D) Program - University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Guest Lecturer: "Land Use" - Real Estate Transactions & Litigation Course - University of California, Berkeley School of Law - September 4, 2018
  • Guest Lecturer: "Land Use Regulation" - Haas Real Estate Fall Speaker Series: Annual Opportunities in Real Estate Forum - University of California, Berkeley - November 8, 2016.
  • Guest Lecturer: "Land Use Regulation" - University of California, Hastings - October 17, 2016.
  • Panelist: "Contemplative Judging and Lawyering: Implications for Justice, Professionalism, and Well-Being" - 2016 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference - Big Sky, Montana - July 14, 2016.
  • Panelist: “Office Development - The Next Gen of Workplace” - Bisnow’s Future of Real Estate - San Francisco - April 28, 2016.
  • Co-presenter: "Bay Area Real Estate: Hot Now, But Can It Last?" - Princeton Club of Northern California - San Francisco - April 27, 2016.
  • Moderator: "San Francisco Mixed-Use: Untapping the Potential of a Shifting Landscape" - Bisnow - San Francisco - August 18, 2015.
  • 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.


  • Bar & Court Admissions
    • California Bar
  • Education
    University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
    Princeton University