Tampa's brokerage office leverages the resources and services of the national brokerage firm to help clients succeed
Brent Miller recalls being anxious in 2008 about Jones Lang LaSalle’s acquisition of Dallas-based Staubach Co., a commercial real estate brokerage firm founded by Dallas Cowboys’ star quarterback Roger Staubach.
Staubach was a boutique firm that specialized in tenant representation, and Miller had worked there for two years at the time of their merger. The potential for a culture clash with the much larger JLL loomed large, he thought.
Miller’s anxiety quickly evaporated, however, thanks to a largely seamless integration of the two firms in Tampa and elsewhere, and in the more than decade since, he’s grown to appreciate the resources and depth that JLL provides.
“Propelling us into a larger platform that JLL offered expanded the conversations we could have with our corporate clients,” says Miller, 40, a JLL managing director.
“I can pick up the phone and call anyone in this company and get them on the line,” says Miller. “The integration of experts nationally is our differentiator. We foster a collaborative teamwork environment, and it permeates throughout. We’re all working toward the same goal and we have a fun time doing it. We’re enjoying the ride while leveraging best-in-class people.”
In the little over four years since JLL tapped Miller and his partner of more than a decade, Executive Vice President Gary Godsey, to lead the brokerage’s Tampa office, revenue has more than doubled.
The Tampa operation, consisting of 25 agents and 15 support staff, also has expanded its line of services to correlate more closely with the basket of offerings JLL features nationally.
Last year, Strategic Property Partners (SPP), the joint venture between Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Microsoft Corp. Co-Founder Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment LLC, selected JLL to market a pair of new office towers planned within its $3 billion Water Street Tampa development.
Together, 1001 Water St. and 400 Channelside Drive will contain 880,000 square feet of Class A office space in towers rising 20 stories and 19 floors, respectively.
The 380,000-square-foot 1001 Water St. building, slated to break ground by the middle of this year and be delivered in mid-2021, will be constructed on a speculative basis. Leasing activity will determine when 400 Channelside Drive commences.
SPP Executive Vice President of Corporate Leasing and Strategy David Bevirt told the Business Observer last September that JLL was chosen because it’s “a brokerage with outstanding global reach and strong research and marketing capabilities.”
Miller says the SPP selection is “a testament to JLL’s national platform and the local talent that we have in-house in Tampa.”
The integration of experts nationally is our differentiator. We foster a collaborative teamwork environment, and it permeates throughout. We’re all working toward the same goal and we have a fun time doing it. We’re enjoying the ride while leveraging best-in-class people.”
But Miller is more than an administrator over a collection of talent. He’s also a prodigious deal maker himself.
Two years ago, Miller was at the center of negotiations that brought 1,000 employees with biopharmaceutical giant Amgen from California to the Westshore district of Tampa.
After an extensive search, Miller and two other JLL agents steered Amgen to a long-term deal for 130,000 square feet in Cousins Properties’ Corporate Center I office building.
Similarly, Miller worked on Envision Healthcare’s 93,069-square-foot lease for space in the Bay Vista Pavilion, in Clearwater — one of the largest new office deals in the Tampa/St. Petersburg market in all of 2017.
Most recently, Miller and Steve Horn, a partner in Sarasota-based Ian Black Real Estate, represented Arkansas-based owner Stephens Inc. in negotiations with Sarasota Memorial Hospital to acquire a vacant three-story, downtown Sarasota office building for $10.8 million.
The building, posed challenges because it had been developed by the New York Times Co. for a single user: Its then-subsidiary the Herald-Tribune Media Group.
Clients say Miller is thorough and approaches deals with the bigger picture in mind.
“He’s done a masterful job for us in managing our office operations both on a national and region level,” says Andrew Livingstone, executive managing director for Greystar, the world’s largest apartment owner and operator.
“As a company, we grew very fast, which really put a burden on our ability to manage our office operations,” Livingstone adds. “We turned to Brent, who has kept us current with office trends and the marketplace, and he’s helped us shape a long-term strategy for us as well.”
Landlords, too, say that Miller is a broker who understands all facets of the commercial real estate business.
“He has an excellent understanding of the markets he works in, and he also keenly understands the needs of both landlords and tenants alike,” says Dan Woodward, a vice president with North Carolina-based Highwoods Properties Inc. who runs the company’s Tampa operation.
“A lot that goes to his character, I think,” Woodward adds. “Brent isn’t all about winning for the sake of winning. He’s more focused on the best way to do what his client needs to serve them effectively, and in doing that, he often helps create a winning situation for all sides.”
For his part, Miller says much of what he knows about commercial real estate and business he learned from his father, Brad, a long-time Tampa apartment developer with Lincoln Property Co. who today is president of Encore Enterprises Inc.’s multifamily subsidiary, in Dallas.
“My father told me once that if I wanted to be successful, I had to surround myself with good people,” Miller says. “And I’ve never forgotten that, and have carried it with me throughout my career.”