Colleen McNitt Ruiz

In today’s legal climate where practices tend to be highly specialized, Colleen Ruiz has a broad base of experience spanning real estate, finance and corporate law.  

Colleen is known for her ability to find solutions to challenging problems for clients in many industries, including rail, gaming, hospitality, health care, manufacturing and retail. Her clients attest to the high level of service she provides, stating that they “consistently turn to Colleen for her legal [experience]… because she is intuitive, seeks cutting edge solutions, has excellent turnaround time and follow up and is dedicated to her clients.”  Clients have described her as “a professional you can count on” and “absolutely wonderful to work with in every aspect of businessshe cares about our company and the people who work there just as much as we do, so we always feel completely comfortable coming to her with any kind of problem or question.”

Representative Experience

Real Estate

  • Represent tier 1 railroad on land issues for development of a transloading facility, including subdivision and utility issues.
  • Represent tier 1 railroad on quiet title actions and track leases.
  • Represent private corporation with offices in more than 70 locations on lease negotiations as both landlord and tenant.
  • Represent growing restaurant in its tenant lease negotiations.
  • Represent multiple casino owners with their real estate issues.
  • Represent seller of leasehold interest in property including removal of complex development restrictions which include multiple parties.
  • Represented condominium developer in the formation of condominium, and related issues including property acquisition, bank financing, and condominium documents.
  • Represented a group of business people seeking to bring major league soccer to St. Louis, including site identification.
  • Regularly represent landlords and tenants on lease negotiations.
  • Represented buyers and sellers of hotels in drafting sales agreements, financing agreements, licensing agreements, liquor licensing, and due diligence.
  • Represented Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. on Missouri real estate matters in connection with the $260 million sale of its Lumiere Casino and Four Seasons Hotel and entertainment complex in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Represent real estate developers from start to finish on new projects. This includes advice on development proposals, negotiating agreements with public partners and utilities, property acquisition, usage of minority and women businesses, zoning, signage and other development issues.
  • Served as outside counsel to Pinnacle Entertainment which has developed casino and mixed use projects in St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis, Missouri for an aggregate investment in excess of $1 billion. Projects including: respond to requests for proposal made by St. Louis County and St. Louis City for gaming and mixed use projects; negotiated and drafted redevelopment agreement and the lease and development agreement and related amendments for the projects; drafted plans for the use of minority and women owned businesses in both projects; negotiated and drafted intergovernmental agreements among five governmental entities for an access road to the St. Louis County project; negotiated and drafted agreements with the City of St. Louis, MODOT, the St. Louis Rams, the Regional Convention and Visitor’s Commission and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority for an underground pedestrian link from Baer Plaza to the casino complex in downtown St. Louis; acquisition of property from Federal government through excess property process; vacated five streets; drafted legislation for St. Louis County on large signage for casino; acquired properties through negotiated purchases, options, back up options, eminent domain and leases.
  • Represented purchaser of more than 40 quarries on real estate issues.
  • Represented investor in connection with an apartment renovation which included both new markets tax credits and federal and state low income housing credits.
  • Represented a REIT which provides data center solutions in obtaining an easement for a significant improvement from the U.S. Government Services Administration.
  • Counsel to seller of a four-star hotel in downtown St. Louis, including a loan assumption.
  • Counsel to developer in connection with a Management Agreement and License Agreement for a hotel to be located in Clayton, Missouri.


  • Represented borrower entities in media sector in connection with negotiation and closing of credit facility aggregating $85 million from senior and mezzanine lenders secured by collateral located in multiple jurisdictions. 
  • Represented a benevolent association with HUD insured financing for construction of a new assisted living and skilled care facility and current refinancing.
  • Regularly provide Missouri opinions to lenders on real estate matters.
  • Represent clients on negotiations and drafting of development agreements, manufacturing agreements, distribution agreements, terms and conditions, supply contracts, tolling agreements and other contracts.
  • Advise businesses on entity selection, corporate governance issues, shareholder and member agreements, and transitional issues.
  • Managed projects for a privately owned client in the steel industry with annual sales of $200 million. The projects included the structuring of its debt, corporate governance issues, acquisitions and dispositions, employee benefit matters, contract issues, employment and consulting agreements.  Responsible for overseeing all work product generated for client with up to 50 projects at any given time over a seven year period.
  • Regularly represent private corporations in connections with acquisitions, mergers and business combinations.


  • Economic Development Chancellor’s Certificate, on Economic Development, March 2016

  • Panelist on Legal Career Path at Lathrop Gage LLP, August 2016

  • Panelist for the Urban Land Institute Transit Oriented Development for Cortex District, August 2013

  • Guest speaker for Webster University Masters class on Non-Profits

  • Master of Ceremonies - Lathrop Gage, Views of St. Louis Metropolitan Development, April 2008

  • St. Louis Business Journal, Downtown Report Panelist, March 2008


  • Association of Corporate Counsel Newsletter: Colleen Ruiz and Eric Schmitt on Benefits of Collaborative Management of Real Estate
  • St. Louis Commercial Journal: Colleen Ruiz and David Barnard on Protecting Design Copyrights
  • St. Louis Commercial Journal: Colleen Ruiz on Proactive Construction Progress 

Client Alerts and Blog Posts

Professional Affiliations

  • Missouri Economic Development Financing Association

Community Involvement

  • Civic Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO), Board of Directors and Executive Committee; President, 2004
  • Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church
  • Ride On St. Louis
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI); ULI UrbanPlan, Chair, 2016 (Education Program on Florissant/Ferguson School District)
  • Utah School Land Trust for Real Salt Lake Academy, School Council, Secretary


  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America®, 2021-2022
Photo of Colleen McNitt Ruiz
  • St. Louis

    7701 Forsyth Boulevard
    Suite 500
    Clayton, MO 63105
F: 314.613.2801


Kim Whittelsey

Court Memberships

  • Missouri


Duquesne University School of Law, J.D., 1986

Pennsylvania State University, B.A., 1980