Boston – Keegan Werlin LLP announced that Brian Golden, former Director of the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), has joined the firm as Partner and Chair of the Real Estate Development and Permitting practice. In addition to real estate services, the newly launched practice will support municipalities in land use matters including conveyances, abatements, and licensing.
Golden served for more than eight years as the chief executive of the BPDA, managing the largest building boom in Boston’s history, while ushering in policy and public process reforms to improve the lives of Bostonians. As the longest serving Director in the agency’s history, he focused on improving transparency, accountability, and community engagement, while increasing affordable housing, economic development, and climate resiliency across Boston’s neighborhoods. Golden led an intensive operational reform effort over multiple years and rebranded the agency from the former Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to the Boston Planning & Development Agency to better reflect the agency’s mission.
During his tenure, Golden guided more than 90 million square feet of development approvals through the BPDA’s permitting process, representing approximately $43 billion of investment, and supporting over 80,000 permanent jobs. Golden grew the BPDA’s planning capacity, overseeing completion of the first general city plan since 1965, Imagine Boston 2030, in addition to comprehensive neighborhood planning studies representing 30 percent of Boston’s land mass. As Director, Golden managed 20 million square feet of BPDA-owned property, including the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park (RLFMP) and the Charlestown Navy Yard (CNY), prioritizing public land for public good.
This past July, Golden traveled to Singapore to accept an international planning award on behalf of the City of Boston. The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize honored Boston with a Special Mention based on the city’s holistic work on climate resilience, improving housing affordability and mobility options, and fostering civic participation. Boston was the only city in the United States honored in the 2020 prize cycle, and one of only four cities honored worldwide.
An attorney since 1993, Golden is a former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he served the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston. He was also the New England Regional Director at the US Department of Health and Human Services, a Commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy, and a member of the Board of Directors at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. Golden has served as a US Army officer, active duty and reserve, for more than 25 years. His military experience includes duty in Bosnia, Iraq, and Israel/West Bank. Golden is a graduate of the Boston Latin School and Harvard College. He received a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the US Army War College and a law degree from the College of William and Mary’s School of Law.
Sean Nehill has also joined Keegan Werlin as Senior Counsel for the Real Estate Development and Permitting Practice group, as well as the Energy Siting Practice group.
Nehill brings almost 16 years of public sector experience from the BPDA’s Office of General Counsel and the City of Boston’s Office of Corporation Counsel. Most recently, Nehill served as Associate General Counsel for the BPDA where he negotiated and structured permitting documents under Article 80 of the Boston Zoning Code and the Inclusionary Development Policy. He also advised BPDA senior leadership and staff on all legal issues related to the management and disposition of its real estate portfolio in the Charlestown Navy Yard and the RLFMP; and obligations arising under the Open Meeting Law, Public Records Law, Conflict of Interest Law, and public procurement. Nehill served as counsel on the negotiation and sale of the City of Boston’s Winthrop Square Garage, one of the most significant public land transfers in the city’s history, resulting in over $150 million to support the City of Boston.
Prior to joining the BPDA in 2015, Nehill served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston for almost nine years. Across a variety of leadership roles, his work included representing the City of Boston in tax litigation matters before the Land Court, providing in-house counsel to numerous City departments, including the Board of Appeal, the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing, the Election Department, and the Inspectional Services Department, and defending these departments in litigation matters ranging from breach of contract actions to complaints alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act. Nehill is a graduate of Boston College and The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.