Bruce H. Burkholder


Phone: 614.221.2121
Direct Line: 614.340.7434
Fax: 614.365.9516


Regan Packowski

about Bruce H. Burkholder

A renowned expert in property and business legal issues with a loyal following and shelves brimming with awards, there are no half-measures in Bruce Burkholder’s approach. He’s an all-in, passionate kind of guy with a rare combination of diplomacy and honesty.

Bruce focuses intensely on relationships and problem solving. To make deals happen, he turns his joyful intensity toward the removal of roadblocks and complications. Bruce has a gift for seeing the simplest path to a solution – even in the most complicated of situations. His long career has yielded two sub-specialties: real estate land development and homebuilding, and restaurant & hospitality. Characteristically, Bruce has developed deep ties in the trade associations and key local players that permeate those industries. He has a unique depth of experience in land development, entitlements, governmental approvals, development agreements with municipalities, townships and counties, and acquisition, construction and development financing, operating and development entities, development standards, HOA’s, permanent loans and take out financing, in addition to DUS, FNMA and FHLMC financings, tax credits, sale agreements, and real estate tax valuation contests and strategies for avoidances of tax valuation increases.

Bruce has also spent considerable time assisting the restaurant and hospitality community particularly with respect to developing brands, dealing with expansion issues, including protecting trademark and trade dress, franchising, licensing, leasing including minimizing percentage rent, maximizing tenant improvement allowances and capping cam expenses, employment issues and wage and hour matters, buy sell agreements with key employees, equity raises including PPM’s and credit facilities, and sale of businesses including private equity, family office and strategic buyers. Bruce is Chair of the Real Estate practice group at Isaac Wiles.



education & admissions


Capital University Law School, J.D., 1980
Bowling Green State University, B.S., 1977

Bar & Court Admissions

Ohio, 1980
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, 1981

case studies

Finding Hidden Opportunity

Burkholder became aware of the availability of undeveloped/unzoned property and confirmed the same was in a desirable school district (although most would not have recognized the same based on its ancillary location to the school district), advised client of possible opportunity and assisted client in obtaining a purchase contract for the same. Thereafter, Burkholder worked with client on the rezoning of the property and assisted in obtaining utility service to the property including sanitary sewer from municipal provider (requiring a significant extension of the line with cooperation from and at the expense of the municipal provider) and preliminary and final development plan approval. The project culminated with Burkholder introducing the client to various potential purchasers that desired to develop the property into its intended use as a single-family residential development, and completing the assignment of the purchase contract to the developer. Burkholder and the real estate lawyers at Isaac Wiles take pride in working with existing clients and providing both advice and opportunities outside of the traditional legal relationship.

articles & presentations


Author of numerous articles for Builder Update detailing Ohio law on land development and home building.


Lecturer, Real Estate Law, Fisher College of Business—The Ohio State University
Frequent speaker for Building Industry Association, Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations, International Conference of Shopping Centers, Ohio Land Surveying Association, Ohio Society of Certified Public Accounts, Professional Education Systems Institute, National Business Institute, Lorman Education Services, CLE, Inc. and various other private seminar providers.
“Building a Brand for Sale,” Mid-America Restaurant Expo, Innovation Stage, January 28, 2018

professional & community activities


Trade Associations
Building Industry Association, Professional Standards Committee, 1988-Present; Political Action Committee, 1993-2011
Ohio Restaurant Association Columbus Alliance, 2001-Present

Bar Associations
Ohio State Bar Association, Specialty Certification Board for Real Estate, Board Member, 2007-2011
Columbus Bar Association, Real Property Law Committee, Chairman, 1993-1995, Committee Member, 1980-Present; Columbus Bar Association For Profit Subsidiary, Board Member, 1995-2001


Ronald McDonald House Charities, Trustee, 2014-Present; Second Vice President of Board of Trustees, 2017
Building Industry Association Foundation, Trustee, 1993-Present; Chairman of Board of Trustees, 2017


Trade Associations
Building Industry Association, Induction Into Hall of Fame, 2012; Presidential Award, 1998, 2003; Associate of the Year Award, 2000
Ohio Home Builders, Associate of the Year Award, 2005

Bar Associations
Ohio State Bar Association, Certified Specialist in Business, Commercial, and Industrial Real Property; Certified Specialist in Residential Real Property

Professional Awards
The Best Lawyers in America®, Construction Law; Real Estate Law; Litigation – Real Estate, 2001-2020
The Best Lawyers in America® Columbus, Ohio “Lawyer of the Year”, 2013, 2016
Ohio Super Lawyers®, 2004-2019, “Top 50 Columbus Super Lawyers”, 2011, 2014; Super Lawyers Business Edition—Real Estate, 2012
Named “Top Lawyer in Columbus Real Estate” by Columbus Monthly, 2004
Named “Top Lawyer in Columbus Real Estate” and “Who’s Who In Law” by Business First, 2004 and 1995 respectively
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated
AVVO “Superb” – Top Rated Real Estate Lawyer

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, Outstanding Community Supporter, 2016