Brokerage firm rolling out Florida One program to boost collaboration amid absorption of acquisition
Even as it works on a corporate level to absorb former rival Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. following a $1.8 billion acquisition earlier this month, commercial real estate brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. is rolling out a new initiative aimed at increasing collaboration between its Florida offices.
JLL’s “Florida One” program hopes to link the company’s six offices in the Sunshine State — stretching from Jacksonville to Miami and including Tampa, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale — as never before to better serve clients.
“It only makes sense for all of our business lines to deliver the level of service our clients demand and deserve,” says Tim Rivers, JLL’s Florida market leader, who directs the company’s statewide efforts.
“It’s all about how can we put the best team on the field, and it’s good for all of us to have one approach where we will both win or lose together.”
"It’s all about how can we put the best team on the field, and it’s good for all of us to have one approach where we will both win or lose together.” — Tim Rivers, JLL Florida Market Leader
The idea was born from a strategic planning session last November, shortly after Rivers joined the company, that recognized that, increasingly, JLL’s clients are more sophisticated, have greater amounts of capital and ever-larger platforms for acquisitions.
“The client doesn’t care about geography,” Rivers says. “In my experience, in Florida, clients are more sophisticated and often more institutional, and as such, they have more data and information available to them and the resources to access it, so they demand that we be ready as a team when they’re ready to act.”
Rivers acknowledges the Florida One program flies against the structure culture of many commercial real estate brokerages, where individual talent and relationships are typically prized more than collaboration and collegiality across offices.
But he adds that for brokerages to remain viable, they will have to better co-ordinate to respond to clients’ needs across the commercial real estate spectrum.
To kick off the new initiative, industrial teams in Tampa and Orlando have joined together to lease up a trio of buildings in Davenport, in Polk County, at the Four Corners Industrial Park.
Matt Sullivan, a JLL managing director in Orlando overseeing the collaboration on the Interstate 4 properties, says the joint effort is a logical one.
“Orlando is about 40 minutes away from Davenport and Tampa is about the same distance,” he says. “But from a client’s perspective, the corridor could also represent a fairly big geography. They might wonder which office in a firm to go to. With this initiative, we’re saying there’s no question who should go where, because we’ll be working together to take care of the customer.”
MDH Partners, an Atlanta-based real estate private equity firm founded in 2005 that owns the three Davenport industrial buildings, retained JLL in late April to lease the 800,000 square feet of space there.
Together, five JLL agents in the multiple offices banded together to lease the buildings, which have been vacant since they were completed a little less than three years ago.
Since then, the brokers have inked proposals to tenants for more than half the MDH space.
“The JLL Orlando office pro-actively brought in their Tampa people to handle this as a dual assignment, and we think that makes a lot of sense,” says Joe DeHaven, MDH’s managing partner.
“Because from our perspective, prospective tenants don’t look at something like this as a property more connected to Tampa or Orlando. They look at it as Central Florida.”
Sullivan says the roll out of Florida One has been so successful with MDH’s property that the Orlando office is preparing to collaborate on an assignment with JLL’s Jacksonville office in the near future.
“We expect this business to grow and be successful because we’re executing on what we say we’re going to do and because we’re getting it done for the client,” says Sullivan.
Rivers acknowledges that while the initiative lends itself best to closer teamwork among industrial brokers, he expects Florida One could help with land transactions, multifamily rental deals and in other sectors, including office space.
“There’s a lot of institutional money in the industrial and multifamily platforms at present, so we expect that more collaboration will be well received among those platforms, in particular,” Rivers says.
The new program also comes as JLL has completed its acquisition of HFF, a move made to bolster the combined companies’ capital markets capabilities worldwide.
“By combining the impressive capabilities, talent and expertise that distinguish both organizations, we will deliver exciting new growth opportunities and ensure that we are best positioned to achieve ambitions for our clients and all our stakeholders,” JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich says in a statement following the July 1 completion of the acquisition, which was first unveiled in March.
Founded in 1998, HFF over the past two decades has completed more than 27,000 transactions totaling more than $800 billion. In 2018 alone, it generated $650 million in revenue across 26 offices.
Along the Gulf Coast, the company's trio of offices in Tampa, Orlando and Miami have been involved in the sales of the Tampa Hilton Downtown; the Carlton Arms Apartments in Bradenton; the West Park Village, in Tampa; the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, in Naples; the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club, in St. Petersburg; a portfolio of office properties owned by Osprey Ltd. entities in Sarasota and Tampa; the 15-acre Sarasota Quay land; and the Mercato office and retail complex, in Naples, to name a few.
The much larger JLL operates in 80 countries worldwide, generates more than $16 billion in revenue annually and has a workforce that exceeds 90,000.
In Florida, the combined company now has 160 agents — up from 115 in June — and will work from a total of eight offices, for now.
Rivers expects combining the companies will be a seamless process.
“They have the exact same philosophy that we do, and we’ll just continue to be working across offices to field the best team for our clients,” he says.