Tay C. Via


Tay Via advises clients on commercial real estate, land use and development. She specializes in large public/private projects and represents real estate companies, nonprofit entities, and other businesses, identifying strategies for navigating the increasingly complex real estate development process.

Her expertise includes the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and laws and regulations regarding housing, climate change, redevelopment dissolution law, waterfront development (including the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and State Lands Commission), historic resources, and transportation.

Tay is the editor of the firm’s Unfamiliar Terrain blog, which provides insights into the complex Bay Area land use landscape.

Tay has served as lead counsel or played a primary role in providing CEQA and land use advice for the following matters:

  • Mission Rock, the development of a 28-acre, $1.6 billion project adjacent to AT&T Park by Seawall Lot 337 Associates, LLC, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.
  • 5M, a 1.8 million square foot mixed-use development venture of Forest City Development and the Hearst Corporation at the juncture of San Francisco’s Downtown, South of Market (SoMa), and Mid-Market neighborhoods.
  • California Pacific Medical Center's $2.5 billion Long Range Development Plan, including two new hospitals and three new medical buildings in CPMC's five-campus system.
  • AT&T Park, the 42,000-seat waterfront ballpark/mixed-use project developed for the San Francisco Giants at China Basin.
  • The California Academy of Sciences, a world-class, 300,000-square-foot museum, aquarium, and planetarium in San Francisco.
  • The Exploratorium, the internationally renowned museum of science, art, and human perception in its relocation to piers 15-17 on the San Francisco waterfront. 

Notable Representations

ProLogis (successor-in-interest to Catellus Development Corporation) and Focil-MB, Mission Bay Project

The Mission Bay Project is a 300-acre, mixed-use project that includes eight million square feet of commercial use space, a 43-acre U.C. Expansion Campus, and 6,000 housing units. This is one of California's largest and most successful redevelopment projects, and Coblentz has been involved as the lead real estate counsel for over two decades. Tay's involvement dates back to 1994. In 2011, Coblentz worked with Focil-MB in negotiating and closing a complex land deal in Mission Bay, valued at nearly $70 million.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Moderator, "Designing Places of Innovation:  The Experience on the Ground," Innovation Summit at Mission Bay
  • Urban Land Institute San Francisco Residential Local Product Council, Housing Product Panel
  • Editor and Contributor, Unfamiliar Terrain

Honors & Awards

Tay was recognized in 2017 as among the Daily Journal's Top Women Lawyers and the San Francisco Business Times' Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence. She is listed by Chambers USA as a Noted Practitioner in the California Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use category. Tay was selected as the 2017 Litigation – Land Use and Zoning "Lawyer of the Year" in San Francisco by Best Lawyers®. She has continuously been listed among the Best Lawyers in America for Land Use and Zoning Law and Litigation since 2008, and as a Northern California SuperLawyer.

Professional Activities

Tay is a member of Lambda Alpha International and the Urban Land Institute. She serves on the Board of Trustees and as Co-Chair of the Site Committee for the Marin Horizon School.  


Tay received her undergraduate degree in political science and economics from the University of California, Berkeley (1987) and her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) (1991). While at Boalt, she served as a member of the California Law Review.

Case Studies

California Academy of Sciences

Coblentz is lead counsel for the California Academy of Sciences, handling its real estate, development, finance, intellectual property and litigation matters. The Academy, in Golden Gate Park, is a more than 300,000 square foot museum, aquarium, planetarium, associated retail space and amenities...

California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC)

We have extensive experience in advising medical institutions on real estate acquisition, development, and defense of legal challenges to project entitlements. A prime examples of this is our service as lead counsel for Sutter-affiliated California Pacific Medical Center’s $2.7 billion...


When the Exploratorium, an internationally renowned museum of science, art and human perception, decided to relocate to a nine-acre 330,000 square foot campus on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, they chose Coblentz as lead counsel on all aspects of the development, leasing, subleasing and...

SoMa Expansion

The South of Market (SoMa) area of San Francisco has exploded in recent years, fueled by the technology sector, and Coblentz has had the privilege of helping many companies entitle projects and secure leases in this vibrant neighborhood. Coblentz counseled Flynn Properties Inc. in its 60,000...

Transbay Cable/Babcock and Brown

Coblentz was retained to provide advice regarding CEQA analysis and land use approvals for Transbay Cable, the $450 million, 400-megawatt energy transmission project. Running under the San Francisco Bay, the cable provides a dedicated connection between San Francisco and the East Bay, which has...