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University of Notre Dame Law School
Notre Dame, Indiana
J.D., cum laude, 1982
Notre Dame Law Review, Member and Editor

Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan
B.A., 1979

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Real Estate Attorney

Jon is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Practice Team. His practice is transaction-oriented, assisting clients in real estate purchases, sales, exchanges, leasing, financing and development matters. He represents businesses, institutions, developers and investors in their real estate needs.


Represented a developer in the sale of a portfolio of office buildings for over $100 million.

Represented an investor in the refinancing of a multi-family portfolio for over $150 million.

Represented a real estate investment company in the acquisition of a 300-unit apartment complex in a reverse tax-deferred exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, with the resulting ownership held as tenants in common among multiple related entities.

Represented a retail developer in the purchase of a regional power shopping center, established as a commercial condominium, in a transaction involving the client’s assumption of  commercial mortgage-backed financing, the creation of a single purpose entity with bankruptcy remote provisions and the issuance of a bankruptcy non-consolidation opinion.

Represented an institution in the acquisition of more than 100 contiguous residential properties in four tranches, assisted in the redevelopment of the land for institutional uses and completed the vacating of public rights of way within the project.

Represented an institution in the acquisition of property for development of a 1,200-space parking ramp, resolved environmental concerns with the site and prepared the condominium documents to establish the parking ramp in the condominium form of ownership.

Represented a regional retailer in the purchase of property contaminated by a prior industrial use on site, addressed the contamination under applicable state law, attended to the dividing of the land into several parcels, negotiated a reciprocal easement agreement among adjacent owners, and represented the retailer in the sale and lease back of its facility to an investment firm

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America® since 2007

Chambers USA©, Recognized Practitioner in Real Estate, 2018 and 2019

Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top Lawyers, Real Estate Law, since 2019

Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top Lawyers, Construction Law, 2021 – 2022

Leading Lawyers: Real Estate Law – Commercial; Real Estate Law – Finance

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Michigan State Bar Foundation, fellow

Who’s Who in American Law, 7th and subsequent editions

Professional Affiliations

Building Owners and Managers Association

Commercial Alliance of Realtors

Grand Rapids Bar Association, Real Property Section

International Council of Shopping Centers

State Bar of Michigan, Real Property Section, Commercial Leasing Committee, co-chair, 2007 – 2013; Condominium Committee, member

Urban Land Institute

Community Involvement

Cherry Street Health Services: treasurer, 1997; Board member, 1995 – 1998; Heart of the City Health Center Campaign, 2010 – present

Community Circle Theater, Board member, 2005 – 2007

Community Rebuilders, Housing First, Board member, 2018 – present

Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids: president, 1993; Board member, 1988 – 1994

Habitat for Humanity of Grand Rapids: president, 1990 – 1991; Board member, 1988 – 1992

Legal Aid of Western Michigan, president, 1999; Board member, 1998  2001

Rotary Club of Grand Rapids, member, 2013 – 2015

State Bar of Michigan Access to Justice Capital Campaign, regional chair, 2004 – 2007


“Shopping Center Leasing: What Every Real Estate Professional Needs to Know,” International Council of Shopping Centers, Novi, Michigan (February 2017)

 “Anatomy of a Shopping Center Lease: Non-economic Provisions Boosting the Bottom Line,” Panel Moderator, International Council of Shopping Centers, Novi, Michigan (February 2015)

 “A Guide to Retail Development: A Checklist for Outlots, In-Fill and More,” Panel Moderator, International Council of Shopping Centers, Novi, Michigan (February 2014)

 “Overcoming Hurdles in ‘Closing the Deal’: How a Broker Can Facilitate a Signed Lease, a Rent-Paying Tenant, and a Well-Earned Commission,” International Council of Shopping Centers, Novi, Michigan (February 2012)

“Leasing Fundamentals,” Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Plymouth, Michigan (May 2011)

“Issues in Re-tenanting Surplus Retail Space,” International Council of Shopping Centers, Novi, Michigan (January 2011)

“Legal Perspectives on Leasing in Troubled Times,” International Council of Shopping Centers West Michigan Alliance, Grand Rapids, Michigan (March 2010)

“Key Shopping Center Leases – It’s a Whole New World,” Panel Moderator, International Council of Shopping Centers, Novi, Michigan (January 2010)

“Anatomy of a Shopping Center Lease: Exclusive Use Clauses,” International Council of Shopping Centers, Novi, Michigan (April 2009)

“Land Contracts and Seller Financing in the Current Economy,” Commercial Alliance of Realtors, Grand Rapids, Michigan (March 2009)

“Reviewing an Office Lease from a Tenant’s Perspective,” Grand Rapids Bar Association (May 1998)

“Jon Anderson at Varnum is one of the most thorough attorneys we have ever had the pleasure to work with.”

Client comment, U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2018 – 2019

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