One of the largest commercial real estate firms in the country, Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, plans to expand its retail real estate department nationwide — starting with Florida.
The firm currently has two offices in Tampa, in addition to locations in Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville. Executives say the Florida expansion will initially revolve around hiring more staff to work with retail property landlords who seek to cut down on large vacancy rates. “The (recession) made it necessary for many landlords and retailers to reduce staff to bare-bones levels and, as the economy is slowly recovering, they do not have the in-house team to take advantage of growth opportunities,” Steve Yenser, Jones Lang LaSalle's national director of retail markets said in a release.
Jones Lang LaSalle leases or manages 20 assets in Florida that total more than 5 million square feet of space. Those holdings are mostly traditional shopping malls, though the company says it has recently begun to look at and work with other retail-related properties. The firm's expanded retail real estate office in Florida will be based in Orlando.
Jones Lang LaSalle (symbol: JLL) has more than 200 corporate offices worldwide and a real estate portfolio of roughly 2.1 billion square feet of space spread through 60 countries. It had $3.6 billion in 2011 revenues.