Here’s the Deal on Manning Unger
Favorite time of the day: I wake up early. I like the peacefulness of the morning.
Productivity hack: Try to plan out your day. That’s part of why I get up early. I can be more productive before everything breaks loose for the day.
Community involvement: First Scots Presbyterian Church, University of Virginia Alumni Association, Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Exchange Club of Metropolitan Charleston
Member Profile: Manning Unger, Moore & Van Allen PLLC
Manning Unger has both a law degree and a MBA, but when it comes to helping his clients with business deals, the law degree wins out.
“I’ve always wanted to do deals. I thought about being on the business side of things, but I liked the legal side better,” he said. “I like to advise people and get into the details.”
Unger serves as Charleston office managing partner at Moore & Van Allen PLLC, a 300-attorney practice with offices in Charleston and Charlotte. Although Moore & Van Allen’s physical presence is in the Carolinas, many of Moore & Van Allen’s practice areas have a national reputation. These practice areas include lender representation in every aspect of lending transactions (including syndicated lending and derivatives), investor representation in private equity, mezzanine finance and venture capital transactions, buyer and seller representation in merger and acquisition transactions, intellectual property, and commercial and technology transactions.
Unger works at the Charleston office on Wentworth Street. His Holy City colleagues are largely transactional, handling financing transactions, corporate matters, including corporate governance and commercial transactions, health care transactions, estate planning, and commercial real estate transactions. The Charleston office also has robust bankruptcy and commercial litigation teams. Unger is both office managing partner and practicing attorney in the areas of financing transactions, commercial real estate and corporate matters. His work consists of providing advice on deal structure and negotiating, documenting and closing deals.
After 22 years in the profession, Unger said the variety keeps his work interesting. “Each company is a little different. You dig into their business model and help advise people on the legal aspects,” he said.
Some of his representative projects include:
- Representation of the lead investor in senior secured note and common equity/warrant purchase transactions with technology companies ranging from $5 million to $22 million.
- Acting as corporate counsel for a regional health care provider in connection with bond financings (public and private) ranging from $20 million to $400 million.
- Representation of a local utility company in connection with a $20 million real estate secured financing transaction.
- Representation of investors in several early stage convertible note purchase transactions.
- Representation of a regional retailer in connection with store acquisitions and dispositions.
- Representation of an international corporation in connection with a multi-million dollar build-to-suit transaction for corporate offices and a distribution facility.
- Representation of an institutional lender in connection with asset based lending transactions ranging from $5 million to $15 million.
- Representation of institutional lenders in connection with multiple senior living secured financing transactions running from $5 million to $15 million.
- Representation of a senior living facility developer in the greenfield acquisition and construction of multiple senior living facilities.
- Representation of a national owner of dominant regional and super regional shopping centers in a hotel co-location project.
As the coronavirus gripped the country in spring 2020, Unger pivoted to help clients navigate annual meeting issues and the Paycheck Protection Program, a Small Business Administration loan program to help businesses during COVID-19. As the rules for the program and safety guidance constantly changed, Unger found himself fielding calls at all hours of the day.
Plus, some of his existing deal projects fell through, and others were negotiated or put on pause as businesses waited to see what the full impact of COVID-19 might be. As the economy began to reopen, Unger said most of his projects have “come back in some shape or form.”
When it comes to his work in the commercial real estate space, though, Unger expects the rebound will be slower. Restaurant and retail locations, in particular, will be challenging along with traditional office space as more people make a permanent move to working at home.
That work-from-anywhere concept has been a driver for Charleston’s business community — and likely will be bolstered even more following COVID-19. Unger said the city’s quality of life has attracted a lot of entrepreneurs and investors. “The continued attractiveness of this region has driven that change.”
Unger is one of those rare people who grew up in the Lowcountry. He left his hometown of Walterboro for college and worked as a lawyer in Charlotte for a few years. A self-proclaimed “boat guy,” Unger was drawn back to the waterways of the Charleston coast.
Living in Charleston since 2001, he’s witnessed the area’s growth and development. The natural advantages of the region continue to attract a critical mass of talent — which, in turn, appeals to investors and big brands, he noted.
Organizations like Volvo and Boeing are recognized worldwide so when they make a home in Charleston, others pay attention.
Unger said, “People notice ‘this company’ and ‘this company’ are here. What do they see? That drove a lot of national developers, companies and investors to take a look at this area five, six, seven years ago and it drives others to look at this area now.”