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Thomas R. Eshelman

In January 2018 Tom Eshelman joined the family of Aquinas companies as general counsel.   Prior to joining Aquinas, Tom spent over 32 years as a commercial real lawyer at Ballard Spahr LLP, a 500+ lawyer national law firm headquartered in Philadelphia.     While there Tom represented a wide variety of participants in real estate development projects, including lenders, developers, universities and municipalities.  Clients that he represented included Aquinas Pennbrook that acquired, financed, redeveloped and leased a  74 unit apartment building  located adjacent to the Saint Joseph's University campus, and Aquinas 2021 Chestnut Street that acquired, financed, constructed and ultimately sold a twelve story apartment building in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood in Philadelphia. 

                Aside from Aquinas-related projects, Tom's experience spans a wide spectrum of real estate and business matters.  Among other projects, he represented:  the developer in the construction financing of three high-rise condominiums on the Delaware River;  a regional bank in leasing transactions for its Philadelphia headquarters and its operations center; a local developer in the zoning, construction contracting and financing of one of Philadelphia's premier office towers;  a major university in its construction contracting program; a national developer in the acquisition and development and, ten years later, the sale  of a big box retail center; a financial institution in the $1.5 billion sale of its consumer credit company subsidiary; a pharmaceutical company in the construction contracting for its world headquarters and research center; and a state authority in the leasing of its major Delaware River  port facility.

                During the majority of his tenure at Ballard Spahr Tom also was active in firm management  as firm financial partner, managing partner – finance, and as a member of the firm's management team and board.  

                Tom attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School for his legal training.  Tom served as Article Editor of the Law Review, graduated cum laude, and was named to the Order of the Coif, a legal honorary organization.    For his undergraduate education Tom attended Dickinson College, where he double-majored in political science and history,  graduated magna cum laude with Honors in political science, and was named to Phi Beta Kappa.      Between college and law school Tom served for three years as an officer in the United States Navy, where he served aboard the USS Brownson (DD-868), and studied for a year at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy, from which he received a certificate.   Between law school and joining Ballard Spahr Tom clerked for two years for United States District Judge Daniel H. Huyett 3d and for five years was a real estate  associate at Schnader Harrison Segal and Lewis.


By joining Aquinas,  Tom  gets to focus on his favorite type of projects – the acquisition, financing,  and redevelopment of projects in the Philadelphia region in which value can be added to properties challenged by environmental concerns, obsolescence, unimaginative tenant mix or other factors that Aquinas views as opportunities, not obstacles.

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