CAPRE’s Newark CRE Summit Preview: Murphy Partners’ Chris Murphy Says Newark is Turning a Corner

NEWARK, NJ — Chris J. Murphy, Esq. leads the economic incentive advisory and land use practices at Murphy Partners LLP, a boutique law firm with offices in Newark, New Jersey and New York City. Chris has significant experience helping clients identify, negotiate, and secure real estate and economic development incentives, such as tax credits, tax abatements and exemptions, cash grants, low-interest loans, and other forms of non-dilutive financing. He also represents clients in connection with the procurement of zoning, land use, and other development approvals. Prior to founding Murphy Partners LLP, Chris was a member of the Lt. Governor’s New Jersey Business Action Center, where he advised businesses and developers through the State’s vast array of economic incentive and financing programs offered through NJEDA and other state agencies, including Grow NJ and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program. Chris will be a featured speaker at CAPRE’s Fifth Annual Newark CRE Summit, so we connected with him to learn about the latest on the ground in Newark

CAPRE: Thanks for chatting with us today Chris. What are you and Murphy Partners looking forward to about our event?

Chris Murphy, Founder and Partner, Murphy Partners

Murphy: We’re incredibly excited about Newark. There is so much going on here. It couldn’t be a better time to have an event in Newark. There are so many development projects currently underway in the city (and even more in the pipeline), and we have been fortunate enough to have played a role in some transformational projects. As a boutique law firm specializing in commercial real estate and development matters, Newark has been an ideal place to call home.

Murphy: Newark is currently home to some of New Jersey’s most exciting development projects—Ironside Newark, a wonderful redevelopment project undertaken by Edison Properties, is about the launch with M&M Mars as its anchor tenant. With the help of a significant tax credit incentive under the Grow NJ program, M&M Mars will be relocating its corporate headquarters to Newark—creating over 500 jobs. The Hahne & Co building was recently redeveloped by L+M Development Partners and is home Newark’s first Whole Foods Market. On the residential side, J&L Companies was recently approved to develop over 400 units at 55 Union, right next to Newark Penn Station. In my opinion, it will be one of the city’s most transformational projects.

CAPRE: What is setting the pace of Newark’s forward momentum?

Murphy: Location, location, location. As rents on the gold coast (Jersey City, Hoboken, etc.) have continued to rise in recent years, Newark is a natural location for businesses and individuals looking for an alternative. NJ Transit, Amtrak, and the PATH all run out of Newark Penn Station. You can get from Newark to New York City in 18 minutes. There are also job opportunities in Newark. The city is home to Prudential, Panasonic, and multiple startups, with new businesses opening or relocating the Newark every month.

It is clear to me that Newark is turning a corner. The Baraka administration has played an active role in encouraging development, while also making sure that the residents that have lived in Newark for the last 50 years are able to stay here and take part in the city’s progress.

CAPRE: What is the most challenging aspect of working in Newark? Where is there room for improvement?

Murphy: Because the city is such a hotspot for development, there is naturally a significant amount of development applications pending before the city’s Planning and Zoning boards. While delays in the development process are not unique to Newark, for us, it is important to educate clients on the timelines necessary to get a project approved.

CAPRE: What is unique about Newark, as opposed to some nearby sub-markets?

Murphy: People have an image of Newark in their heads. From my experience, it is generally misconceived. If you haven’t been to Newark in the past 5 years (or just came in for a Devils game and left), you probably don’t quite understand how much has recently happened here. When I have clients come into Newark for lunch, and I have an opportunity to walk them down Halsey Street or Ferry Street, they are generally blown away. There is so much energy in this city. I encourage people to come to Newark to see it for themselves.

CAPRE: What value proposition is Murphy Partners bringing to CAPRE’s Fifth Annual Newark CRE Summit?

Murphy: We know what we do, and we do it well. We are an alternative to the traditional law firm model. We have created a firm that provides clients will big firm expertise (our attorneys generally have big firm or big institutional experience), with the personal touch of a boutique. By streamlining processes and keeping overhead low, we are able to pass benefits along to clients in the form of competitive fee structures. We are also based in Newark and spend a significant amount of time dealing with the city’s professionals and presenting before the city’s land use boards. We find this to be an added benefit to our clients developing in our backyard.

CAPRE: Indeed. We’ll see you July 18 in Newark!