By Joshua Burd
The former top planning official for the city of Newark has joined Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP, the fast-growing law firm focused on commercial real estate and development.
As director of planning and development services, Christopher A. Watson will help MSW’s clients navigate New Jersey’s complex real estate development process, the firm said. He will have a special focus on Newark, where the practice is headquartered, as he advises clients in all aspects of development planning and implementation, from the initial design phase and site plan approval process to securing permits and obtaining a certificate of occupancy.
Watson most recently served as city planning officer for the city of Newark, working to advance key policy initiatives for the administration of Mayor Ras J. Baraka.
“We are incredibly excited to have Christopher Watson join our growing team,” said Chris J. Murphy, partner and leader of MSW’s land use, zoning and redevelopment practice group. “He is a seasoned professional, who has played an active role in shaping the Newark skyline under Mayor Baraka’s administration. His experience will be instrumental in our continued commitment to providing clients with strategies to expedite the development process.”
Watson’s tenure as planning director included the adoption of the city’s latest 10-year master plan, Newark360, the winner of the New Jersey’s American Planning Association 2022 Planning Excellence award for Plan of the Year, according to a news release. He is a national subject matter expert in planning and development.