JLL nabs 19-member office tenant rep team from CBRE

The Houston office of Chicago-based JLL (NYSE: JLL) has landed a 19-person team from Dallas-based CBRE, which includes some of the city’s top tenant representation professionals.

The team was founded over 25 years ago and includes five of the past 10 NAIOP Houston Office Brokers of the Year and one Industrial Broker of the Year among its 17 licensed professionals.

“This represents a union of industry leaders who will redefine client excellence in our region by working together,” said Dan Bellow, president of JLL’s Houston market. “Our combined talent will result in a powerful, cultural fit that will enhance our client service capabilities and increases our ability to identify opportunities for growth and win more business together.”

Among the real estate experts joining JLL are former CBRE Vice Chairman Charles Gordon, the leader of the team, and Brandon Clarke. They tied for No. 4 on the Houston Business Journal’s 2020 Heavy Hitters List of top office tenant representatives, based on their gross dollar volume of $328.23 million each in 2019.

Clarke has routinely been one of CBRE’s top producers in Houston and globally. Clarke received NAIOP Houston’s Office Broker of the Year award in 2016.

HBJ has designated Clarke as a Heavy Hitter every year since 2013. In 2017, Clarke was part of the CBRE team that represented HP Inc. in its deal to prelease HP Plaza in CityPlace at Springwoods Village. After the campus was completed in late 2018, HBJ named the project a 2019 Landmark Award winner.

Graham Horton, who also joins JLL from CBRE, ranked No. 17 on HBJ’s 2020 Heavy Hitters List of top office tenant representatives. Horton reported a gross dollar volume of $151.36 million in 2019. He ranked just ahead of Matt Trozzo, who also is part of the team joining JLL. Trozzo reported a gross dollar volume of $141.94 million in 2019.

Jeff Cairns, who is also part of the team, joined CBRE as a vice president in 2017. In 2019, Cairns was part of the CBRE team that represented Forum Energy Technologies (NYSE: FET) in a lease renewal for a 108,639-square-foot space at 10344 Sam Houston Park Drive.

Finally, Paul Penland is also part of the team joining JLL. Last year, Penland was part of the CBRE team that represented San Diego, California-based Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE) in a deal to move 200 employees into the company’s new regional headquarters at 1500 Post Oak Blvd.

The names of the other team members joining JLL were not immediately available.

For its part, JLL said adding the team to its Houston office couldn’t come at a better time.

While Covid-19 rocked the city’s office market as thousands of people were forced to work from home last year, the pandemic has also accelerated the need for office brokerage strategists, JLL said in a news release.

Click here to read the HBJ’s recent cover story about how property managers are working to bring tenants back into their offices.

Despite the tough transactional environment in 2020, the team renegotiated a 900,000-square-foot lease, refinanced a $340 million campus, restructured a 1.4 million-square-foot asset through a sale and negotiated a 550,000-square-foot leaseback, among other transactions, JLL said.

“Certainly, 2020 was a tough year for the Houston office market generally,” said Clarke, who joins JLL as an executive managing director. “However, our team looks at our clients’ real estate as a strategic asset, and macroeconomic disruptions tend to create strategic opportunities if you know where to look. The breadth of our team’s skill sets — a CPA, two JDs, a former EY consultant, and brokers with decades of experience — enables us to work with our clients to search their portfolios continuously for unlikely opportunities.”

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