Watson, former city planner for Newark, joins MSW

Christopher Watson, the former director of city planning for Newark, has joined Murphy Schiller & Wilkes as the firm’s director of planning and development services, the law firm announced Tuesday.

Watson will use his experience and expertise to help clients navigate the ever-complicated bureaucratic maze associated with New Jersey’s real estate development process, with a special focus on Newark.

Watson’s role at the firm will involve advising clients in all aspects of development planning and implementation — helping clients through the initial design phase, the site plan approval process, securing permits or obtaining a certificate of occupancy.

Chris Murphy, a partner and leader of the firm’s land use, zoning and redevelopment practice group, said the firm is thrilled to have Watson join the team.

“He is a seasoned professional, who has played in active role in shaping the Newark skyline under Mayor (Ras) Baraka’s administration,” Murphy said. “His experience will be instrumental in our continued commitment to providing clients with strategies to expedite the development process.”

In his role as the Newark city planning officer, Watson helped advance key policy initiatives, including the adoption of the city’s latest 10-year master plan, Newark360, the winner of New Jersey’s American Planning Association 2022 Planning Excellence award for Plan of the Year.

Watson is a national subject matter expert in planning and development.