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Home | 40 Under Forty

Benjamin Kelley has found his niche in commercial real estate

By Union Leader Staff
January 26. 2014 8:05AM

Benjamin Kelley 
Ben Kelley, 28
Home: Concord


Birthplace: Deerfield


Family: Wife, Karina Kelley, and Great Dane, Arlo


High school: Coe-Brown Northwood Academy


College/post grad degrees: UNH Manchester, B.A. in business administration


Current job: Commercial broker, Brady Sullivan Properties


Key past positions held: Brady Sullivan is my first and only job, other than an unpaid internship at Merrill Lynch


Volunteer activities: Board of directors, CATCH Neighborhood Housing; board of directors, Alliance Asset Management; advisory council, Currier Museum of Art; member, Zoning Board of Adjustment, City of Concord


Most admired person (outside your family): From a business perspective; young entrepreneurs in general.


Key current professional challenge: Stabilizing and re-positioning a recent office building acquisition. The property is a five-story, 26,000-square-foot building in Manchester. It has great "bones" and character; unfortunately it was run down and totally vacant when we purchased it. We've since renovated and updated the building throughout, and we are now nearly 50 percent occupied, but we still have another 50 percent to go.

Last major achievement: Being made a partner on couple of recent acquisitions at Brady Sullivan Properties. 


Two peers who know you well: Dave Allen, general counsel at DYN, and Jay Surdukowski, attorney at Sulloway & Hollis


Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: Keeping young people in New Hampshire. New Hampshire has a lot of positive things going for it, including a recent surge in tech startups, a re-design of our Capital's Main Street in Concord, exploring the idea of high-speed rail, historic mills being converted to housing in Manchester, continued success on the Seacoast, strong growth in higher education (i.e. SNHU and Granite State College), improved highway access to Manchester Boston Regional airport, and the list goes on. New Hampshire offers a top-tier quality of life, and with all these positive developments, we can retain and attract the millennial generation, we just need to do a better job of getting the word out there.


Favorite place in New Hampshire: Anything north of exit 30. I also enjoy hiking and spending time in the Monadnock Region.

What book are you reading now? "The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence"


How do you relax? Getting away with Karina to our house on Great Diamond Island in Maine.

What websites do you visit most often? Yahoo Finance, ESPN, ProPublica.org


Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: NHPR, Passion Pit, MGMT

CONCORD — Benjamin Kelley got his jump-start on a promising career in commercial real estate by working full time for Brady Sullivan Properties while at the same time completing his last three years as a full-time student at UNH-Manchester.


"For 2 1/2 years, I was a very busy guy," he said.


At one point, Kelley thought about abandoning his pursuit of a B.A. in business administration, but his bosses at Brady Sullivan encouraged him to get his degree.


"They were adamant that I graduate," recalls the Deerfield native and graduate of Coe Brown Academy in Northwood.


Instead of leaving school to work full time, he crafted a schedule that enabled him to do both.


It paid off. In June, Kelley became a partner in one of the recently acquired Brady Sullivan properties, a five-story building at the corner of Maple and Valley streets. He presided over the rehabilitation of the building and has already found tenants for 50 percent of the space.


Kelley has found his niche in commercial real estate. He already has a real estate and broker's license even though they weren't required for the work he does on behalf of one of Manchester's best-known developers.


"I find tenants," he said. "That's what I've done from day one, exclusively on the commercial side of things and exclusively with Brady Sullivan."


He and his wife, Karina, are active in many Concord-area charities, but Kelley has found a way to apply his expertise in real estate as a board member for CATCH, the Concord Area Trust for Community Housing. The nonprofit organization develops affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families.


"It's been very gratifying to work with an organization dedicated to providing quality housing to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it," he said. "It's one of our most basic needs, and the work produces very tangible results."


He considers his last major achievement as being made a partner on couple of recent acquisitions at Brady Sullivan Properties. 


When asked the biggest problem facing New Hampshire, he said it is "Keeping young people in New Hampshire. New Hampshire has a lot of positive things going for it, including a recent surge in tech startups, a redesign of our Capital's Main Street in Concord, exploring the idea of high-speed rail, historic mills being converted to housing in Manchester, continued success on the Seacoast, strong growth in higher education (i.e. SNHU and Granite State College), improved highway access to Manchester Boston Regional airport, and the list goes on. 


"New Hampshire offers a top-tier quality of life, and with all these positive developments, we can retain and attract the millennial generation, we just need to do a better job of getting the word out there," he said.


His favorite place in New Hampshire is anything north of exit 30. "I also enjoy hiking and spending time in the Monadnock Region," he said. 


He is now reading "The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence."


When asked how he relaxes, his answer: "Getting away with Karina to our house on Great Diamond Island in Maine."






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