Kelley to join CHA Partners as partner in development firm

Murphy’s longtime deputy chief of staff for economic development will be involved in business development, strategic planning

Joe Kelley, the longtime deputy chief of staff for economic growth for Gov. Phil Murphy, has joined the development firm CHA Partners as a partner, ROI-NJ has learned.

The move appears to be a strong fit on both sides.

Kelley, who has worked under the governor since he was candidate Murphy, played an intricate role in the creation and implementation of all of the state’s economic development plans and programs, particularly those involving public-private partnerships.

CHA has long been known as a full-service development firm, one that can handle all aspects of development, government affairs, construction, leasing, asset/property management and more. It is known for its work in the health care and residential sectors, but it has the ability to operate outside of those lanes, too.

“I could not be more thrilled to join CHA Partners, one of the premier real estate firms in the country,” Kelley said. “Gov. Murphy has kickstarted our state’s economy and allowed the private sector to thrive, creating economic value and jobs where we need them most.

Bill Colgan.

“I look forward to working with (Managing Partner) Bill (Colgan) and everyone at CHA to identify public-private partnerships, especially in health care, that increase property value, generate jobs and enhance our communities.”

Colgan said he’s eager to have Kelley on the team.

“I have known Joe and worked with him for many years,” he said. “He has a proven track record with big economic development projects, and his knowledge and expertise of the market is second to none. He will be an invaluable addition to our partnership, and I know we will accomplish great things together.”

The firm, based in Bloomfield, has more than 40 people in its corporate office, and more than 600 employees in its various capacities. Kelley will be part of the senior management team, connected to business development and strategic planning.

Kelley said he’s ready to get to work.

“I’ll be out there looking for deals, but, then, I’ll also be involved in the strategic planning of how it’s going to get done: How is it going to get financed? How is it going to get constructed? What are all the roadblocks that we need to be aware of?” he said.

CHA does the majority of its work in the New Jersey/New York market, but it is looking at other projects on the national — and international — level.

Kelley said his work in the Murphy administration enforced how he and Colgan share the same vision for development.

“From Day One, he and I have had tremendous amount of respect for each other and a shared worldview on a lot of things, but, in particular, how to approach urban redevelopment and health care development,” he said.

The hiring was praised by one of the top development leaders in the state, Chris Paladino.“This is a deft move by Bill Colgan,” he said. “Joe Kelley opens the door to new opportunities for CHA, and Joe Kelley gets the opportunity to get on the field with Bill Colgan, one of the industry’s most successful real estate players.”

Kelley, who left his role in the administration earlier this month, also serves as a commissioner on the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.