New SVP Reflects on First Three Months at JLL (Q&A)

In April, JLL was excited to announce that local expert, Bill Leone, would join its Pittsburgh leadership team. With more than 30 years of experience in commercial real estate, Bill was a perfect fit.Bill Leone JLL

As Senior Vice President, Bill specializes in tenant representation, landlord representation and investment sales for both local and national JLL clients. Now that Bill has been with the firm for three months, JLL’s marketing team wanted to check in and see how he’s doing in his new position. We sat down with Bill to ask a few questions about his decision, and ultimately, his outlook as a newcomer to the Pittsburgh team.

Here’s what he had to say.

Q&A with JLL SVP in Pittsburgh, Bill Leone

Q: How did you decide that JLL was the right career choice?

A: There were many factors that weighed into the decision, and over the past three months, I’m convinced that all my reasons for coming to JLL were the right ones.

In Pittsburgh, JLL is thought of not only as the leading service provider, but the people are highly sought after as well. All employees genuinely enjoy what they do, they keep the client’s interest, and they always maintain their integrity.

Q: How has the transition been, from your old firm to JLL?

A: It’s been very easy. Between the resources, the support and their expertise, my colleagues here have been extremely helpful. It can be overwhelming at first, but over time I’ve become a part of the team. It’s been a seamless shift.

Q: What have you found to be the most important part of your new position?

A: Understanding everything that JLL has to offer. And, to play a critical role as team member while serving our clients. This is key because, over the course of my career, I’ve never been in an environment like this where it’s so open, collaborative and team-oriented.

Q: How have internal subject matter experts (SMEs) supplemented your CRE efforts?

A:I’ve been able to work locally here with the tenant representation, agency group, and (for some of the larger scale projects) we’ve worked with logistics and healthcare specialists. Quite frankly, without those two groups, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to serve the clients with whom we were in conversations.

Even as long as I’ve been in the business, you can’t specialize in everything. You’ve got to be able to rely on someone who has everyday expertise in the sector at hand. It’s unbelievable to reach out and have access to JLL SMEs all over the country, who are highly qualified and experienced. I am very, very impressed with the resources and personnel. JLL is the real estate company on steroids.

Q: What is JLL’s role in today’s strong real estate market? 

A: In today’s real estate environment, there is a higher demand for value-add. JLL is best positioned to enhance the real estate portfolio and values of the client. It comes down to the market research capabilities, expertise, specific market knowledge, technology, and essentially, the bottom-line idea of being a collaborative organization where everyone shares information for the clients’ interest.

Q: How would you describe the culture?

A: The JLL culture is open, collaborative, team-oriented, and very professional. JLL also supports family values and a strong commitment to the community.

Today, I look at JLL as having all the resources, but with the client’s interest in mind more so than the company’s interest. I’ve learned a lot during my time here in truly understanding the company.


Bill has already become a key player in the Pittsburgh office, and a valuable asset to client and colleagues. We wish him the best of luck for his future at JLL! Visit Bill’s full bio, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Are you interested in working at JLL? Check out our Careers Page or contact us at for more information on opportunities in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh. 


Attention Law Firms: Better Space Utilization Cuts Operating Expenses [Infographic]

By: Andrew Batson,  Senior Research Analyst, Great Lakes Region

Like many businesses today, law firms are looking for ways to increase productivity and reduce spend. In 2013, many were able to do so through better, more efficient real estate strategies.

In the 2013 Law Firm Perspective, JLL researchers saw a trend toward smaller spaces. Those that moved last year relocated to offices that were 7.1% smaller. Plus, square footage per worker decreased significantly, ranging from 900 square feet to 550 square feet.

From a cost standpoint, those that move to more modern, and more efficient layouts can shrink their real estate occupancy budget by more than 15%.

Check out JLL’s full graphic for more on workspace trends we’re seeing in the legal space. 

A space to suit law firms – An infographic by the team at JLL

Get The Most From Your Space

There are ways to better utilize your current office and optimize your space for enhanced productivity. Below are a few tips to get started:

1. Digitization has replaced the need for your large library. Consider converting the space into additional workstations.

2. Integrate amenities and technologies that fuel production, such as video conferencing, brainstorming zones, data collection, etc.

3. Find your secret formula to measuring workplace productivity, and look for ways to do so without inhibiting employee innovation.

4. Future-proof your space, and maintain a competitive advantage with employee retention and attraction in the legal landscape.

5. Try JLL’s Proworking approach to boost employee performance and retention. Proworking refers to “shifting current corporate real estate strategies to most efficiently serve a more connected workforce.”

 For more information on the challenges law firms face, and how it impacts real estate opportunities for firms across the top markets, download the full Law Firm Perspective report.

JLL Law Firm Perspective

If you’d like to schedule an appointment for your law firm, please send a message to



About the Author

Andrew BatsonAndrew Batson is Senior Research Analyst for the Michigan and Ohio region of Jones Lang LaSalle and is responsible for the publication of quarterly and annual research. Mr. Batson ensures that our clients receive the most thorough, timely, and strategic market information in a way that guides decision making and identifies risks and opportunities. View Andrew’s bio or connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.


Commercial Real Estate News Brief: June 2014

Commercial real estate is a dynamic industry. Keep up with Spaces’ monthly recaps of the most valuable industry articles we’ve recently come across, focused on news in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  

Workplace Trends: Does Your Space Measure Up? 

JLL CRE News BriefIn a recent article from JLL’s newsroom, Richard Kadzis (@IndustryTracker) posed the question: “Does your workplace give you a competitive edge?”

Employee retention, recruitment, and ultimately, production is linked to workplace structure and culture. Your office can drive (or destroy) your culture. So, back to Richard’s question. Does your space give you an advantage? If not, below are five trends to keep in mind as you rework your own real estate strategy.

1. Gaming at work? Millennials enjoy video games. So, businesses are looking for ways to use high-powered, 3D tech to gamify (and speed up) decision-making.

2. Let workers decide. Given the freedom to decide where they will work (i.e. private vs. collaborative space), employees are happier.

3. The end of command-and-control. The “bottom-up” approach cultivates a sense of community. It’s critical that all employees are given a voice.

4. Soaring demand for health and wellness. Sitting all day does not make for a healthy lifestyle. Companies are looking for ways to proactively encourage movement, like staggered elevators.

5. Return to the city. Young pros are looking to downtown areas for vibrant spaces to live and work.

Read Richard’s full post for details.

Cleveland Attracts Young, Educated Demographic

In the eyes of educated young professionals, Cleveland rocks.

Cleveland’s metro area gained about 60,000 professionals (25 years and older) with a college degree between 2000 and 2012, according to a new report from Cleveland State University.

To uncover what could be causing this drastic upturn of attraction to the region, Forbes reported that, “Some of it has to do with a 25% expansion of STEM employment from 2003-13, much of it in healthcare tied to the region’s prestigious hospitals.” The city also offers affordable living, and a growing variety of living and entertainment options.

More proof that Cleveland is on its way up: The New York Times recently reported that 35 historic, downtown buildings are undergoing renovation. The Times even called Cleveland, “a city repurposed.”

Cleveland Chart_June CRE News Brief

The Rise of Tech in Detroit

Detroit is making headlines—in a very good way. Thanks to the city’s affordable real estate options and abundant employment gains, Detroit is quickly making a name for itself in tech.

With big names like Google, Twitter and Amazon opening offices in the area, things are looking up. Not surprisingly, said that Detroit’s ongoing success in the tech sector has potential to become a main driver in the local “revival.” And, Detroit officials are looking to maximize these opportunities. TheStreet reported:

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the formation of a 17-person committee to advise the city on an ‘innovation district,’ an area that is anchored by one or two large institutions and that tries to draw technology-related businesses.”

For more on on key trends impacting tech in general, check out JLL’s recently released infographic series.

News Wrap-Up in Our Region


  • General Electric’s new global operations center will be fully staffed and up-and-running by 2018. The company is projected to bring the area an additional $1 billion annually.
  • South Carolina-based Hilex Poly Co. LLC is acquiring one of Cincinnati’s largest manufacturing companies, Duro Bag Manufacturing Co.


  • Formerly Eaton Corp’s home, the building at 1111 Superior may soon be purchased by American Landmark Properties Inc. The 1111 Superior location is expected to remain an office building. American Landmark also owns the nearby building at 1100 Superior (i.e. Oswald Centre).
  • A 207,000-square-foot bulk warehouse is being planned in Twinsburg. The property is projected for completion in late February 2015.


  • Nationwide is planning to relocate nearly 3,600 employees workers to its future corporate campus at Grandview Yard. When complete, the new campus will be more than 500,000 square feet.
  • Pier 1 plans for an e-commerce fulfillment center in Grove City. Through a three-year plan, the company expects to create more than 150 jobs in the region.


  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and Ally Financial Inc. are both considering office space in the 2.2 million-square-foot Southfield Town Center. BCBSM may move into a 250,000-square-foot space, while Ally Financial is considering 300,000 to 350,000 square feet of space.
  • Third Wave Group LLC, the U.S. holding company for Beijing Dixing Taihe Investment Group, is planning a $120 million automotive R&D center in Plymouth Township.


  • In early 2015, Calgon Carbon Corp. will relocate its headquarters to a 75,566-square-foot space in Moon Township’s Westpointe Corporate Center Four.
  • Due to isues with cash flow, EveryWare Global Inc. may close in August. The Monaca plant currently has about 400 employees.



Tech Industry Drives Growth in the Midwest: Top 4 Trends [INFOGRAPHICS]

By: Dave MacDonald, Executive Vice President, JLL 

When you think of high-tech, which regions come to mind? Silicon Valley? Perhaps Seattle or even San Francisco? Statistically speaking, you’d be absoultely correct. But what if I told you that cities within our Midwest region, like Detroit and Pittsburgh, are among the tech industry’s next generation of hot cities?

Detroit, as recently reported by, “is turning into [a] high-tech hub.” Notorious tech leaders, including Google, Amazon, and Twitter all have a presence in the area. And, thanks to the evolution and demand of navigational amenities, and other computer-driven features in modern cars, the local tech sector is taking off.

Another up-and-coming city for tech: Pittsburgh. In fact, Pittsburgh was recently recognized on JLL’s list of the nation’s next tech hubs. Why? Well, for starters, real estate is much more affordable than other big cities, such as Silicon Valley, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Couple that with the city’s established presence with venture capital funding, and its proximity to universities, and you have a potential high-tech hot spot.

JLL researchers recently took a closer look at big trends driving innnovation and growth in local tech. Below, I’ve outlined the top four industry influencers in tech real estate for an up-close look at what’s making waves in national news, and what’s trickling down to our local cites.

4 Trends Impacting Tech Real Estate

1. Patent Activity 

JLL identified the top cities with the most patent activity. Using this information, researchers can forecast where the next high-tech clusters will be, as well as where new talent will relocate. From JLL:

“Where innovative ideas cluster, so will talent and new real estate opportunities.”

Michigan made the list in 2012, coming in at number six, with 4,598 patents generated in one year. Also in 2012, Detroit opened its own U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which became “the first-ever patent office outside Washington D.C,” according to 

JLL Tech Infographic - Power Players

2. Mergers and Acquisitions

180 tech companies have gone public since 2009, according to JLL. Plus, more than 50 percent of the largest U.S. Internet IPOs took place between 2009 and 2014, or “the current technology boom.”

While IPOs remain a key goal for many high-tech companies, mergers and acquisitions are a growing trend among those seeking to grow, or strategically exit with a cash reward. 

JLL Tech Infographic - Largest US Internet IPOs

3. Funding from Venture Capital Firms. 

In terms of funding, venture capital firms continue to favor companies in tech. In 2013, high-tech companies secured more than 65 percent of U.S. venture capital funding ($19 billion), according to JLL. This is just another reason why location is key for tech companies. They often have greater access to funding in certain areas (i.e. Silicon Valley). 

JLL Tech Infographic - Top 5 Funded Companies Q4 2013

 4. Tech Labor Shortage and Talent Gap 

According to a recent study from Georgetown University,the U.S. economy “will face a shortage of 5 million workers.”

Despite these statistics, the high-tech industry remains strong, and employers are implementing space amenities, such as flexible workspaces and collaborative work environments, to attract a pool of talented professionals. However, in recent years, tech companies are limited by H-1B visa regulations when it comes to hiring. JLL’s infographic zooms in on the tech labor shortage and dwindling access to foreign talent. 

JLL Tech Infographic - Tech Labor Shortage

Between booming innovation, prime real estate opportunities and abundant venture capital funding, we think the region will continue to grow its presence on the tech scene.

For more information on the key trends impacting tech in 2014, check out JLL’s recently released infographic series spotlighting tech.



About the Author 

Dave MacDonaldDave MacDonald is Executive Vice President in the Detroit office of JLL. With 20 years of commercial real estate experience, Dave  specializes in acquisitions and dispositions of  office and industrial properties.  View Dave MacDonald’s bio or connect with him on LinkedIn

Industrial Distribution Networks Evolve to Accommodate E-commerce [REPORT]

By: JC Pelusi, Great Lakes Market Director at JLL

Largely due to emerging markets, B2C e-commerce spend will hit $1.5 trillion in 2014, according to a recent study from eMarketer.

Online shopping is the ultimate convenience. And thanks to evolving distribution center design and strategy, retailers are able to deliver online orders in a timely fashion. So, how have retailers evolved the structure of industrial real estate to meet consumer expectations? Below, JLL researchers recap the evolution of retail logistics over the past 40 years.

See JLL's whitepaper, E-commerce Boom Triggers Transformation in Retail Logistics, for details.

Along with looking back across the last four decades, JLL’s retail team also looks ahead to answer the question on the minds of many in industrial real estate: What’s on the horizon?

According to JLL’s recent whitepaper, E-commerce Boom Triggers Transformation in Retail Logistics, a new class of retail distribution centers has emerged, including a variety of distribution and fulfillment centers, hubs and warehouses. Below we’ve outlined three of the top trends driving change in retail logistics facilities.

3 E-Commerce Trends Impacting Logistics and Distribution Facilities 

1. Instant Service 

The online shopper doesn’t want to wait weeks (or even days) for their order to arrive. As Multichannel Merchant points out, “Consumers want their packages to arrive before the excitement and novelty of their purchase wears off.” To help satisfy this consumer craving, and remain competitive, companies are seeking ways to meet delivery expectations. Take for instance, Amazon. Amazon opened small distribution facilities across the U.S. to successfully provide same-day delivery. The push to deliver instantaneous service requires the right space in the right region. We expect a network of local facilities to continue popping up in big cities with dense populations.

2. Buyer’s Remorse

To maintain a competitive advantage and provide a positive customer experience, businesses must establish an easy return policy. As with any retail transaction, there is always the risk of return in e-commerce. Returns are of course handled within modern e-fulfillment centers, but with the increase in cross-border transactions, there’s new demand for localized centers dedicated to returns. From the JLL report: “The importance of this function is highlighted by the very high rates of return in certain sectors, such as fashion retail.” Actionable Tip: Consider paying for the cost of the return by providing a printed return label.

3. Omni-Channel Customer Experience & Retail Logistics 

Omni-channel shopping enables a consistent experience, whether customers choose to shop in-store or via a digital device. Retailers are looking to integrate all processes, information systems and infrastructure (i.e. the retailer could deliver an order from the store or from a warehouse) to create the best experience possible. One prime example is Macy’s. In JLL’s whitepaper, researchers highlighted a 2013 case study in which the department store announced plans to transform its distribution strategy by fulfilling online orders from more retail stores. The proposal, in essence, would increase the number of stores fulfilling online orders by 60 percent (from 292 stores to 500 stores).

5 New Types of Logistics Facilities Emerge

Warehouses are evolving to better suit specific functions. JLL experts have pinpointed five new types of logistics facilities emerging to meet the demands of e-commerce:

1. Mega e-fulfillment centers: Characterized by very large facilities (500,000-square-feet to 1 million-square-feet) that house stocked items.

2. Parcel hub / sortation center: Items are sorted here and then passed on to local delivery centers.

3. Parcel delivery centers and urban logistics depot: These centers are likely on the edge of major cities for fast shipping options.

4. Return processing center: These facilities are strategically located to return items to e-fulfillment centers.

5. warehouse for online food fulfillment: Details will mirror the type of operation, and is likely on the edge of major cities. 

Download JLL’s full whitepaper on global e-commerce and retail logistics for details on emerging building attributes and location elements. Interested in receiving more information about making strategic commercial real estate decisions? Contact me for more information at


About the Author

JC PelusiJC Pelusi is an International Director for JLL and works out of the Pittsburgh office.  As the leader for JLL’s Great Lakes region, JC has extensive experience in a variety of areas, including Corporate Account Management and Transaction Services.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Your Next Office Renegotiation or Relocation: Part VI

By: Tim Kay, Senior Vice President, Project and Development Services at JLL 

A Step-By-Step Guide To Your Next Office Relocation or Renegotiation  As a lease expiration date approaches, many mark their calendars in dread of the administrative tasks ahead. And although moving is complicated, it’s also a unique opportunity to reinvent your culture, address your space utilization and ensure your strategy is aligned with organizational objectives.  

At JLL, we follow a strategically crafted roadmap to guide our clients through the process. This is the final post in a blog series; each post will serve as a stop on the way to your destination – success.  

Next Stop: Plan and Implement Your Next Move 

So, you have an architect on board and your space is officially in the works. You can finally see the finish line. The lease is signed, the base building analysis is complete, and construction estimates are complete.

But, don’t uncork the champagne just yet. Before you can celebrate, there are a few final steps you and your team must observe to ensure the move is properly executed.

Step 1: Determine Design Details 

Before launching construction, you must first add a general contractor (GC) to your team. Ensure that the GC you select understands your deal drivers and company vision because he or she will facilitate build of your end space. The GC plays a critical role during design and construction.

During this stage, your project manager will help you to pre-quality (and eventually select) potential GC candidates. We typically suggest one of two models:

1.  Send a Request for Proposal (RFP). Depending on how early you’d like to bid, you can deliver an RFP for project general conditions (for instance profits, overhead and staffing) based on a near complete drawing.

2.  Negotiate. Interview potential candidates and enter into negotiations. If you are already targeting a GC who has similar experience, this will speed up the process.

With a dependable contractor and architect, your team can finalize design drawings (likely about 75% complete at this stage). With drawings in place, the GC is able to send a hard bid for all categories. Meanwhile, your architect should begin looking at suitable fixtures, carpeting, furniture and equipment, as well as potential dealers and manufacturers. (Often, JLL assists the architect during the RFP process for furniture as well.)

For JLL Clients Only: JLL offers its Synergy Program, which is a preferred supplier program that gives us access to tremendous discounts on several commodities.

Step 2: Monitor Construction Site 

Once construction is underway and hammers are swinging, your project manager will monitor activity onsite to ensure:

    • Construction quality is exactly what you expect.
    • The space is built out according to the drawings.
    • Materials selected are being used.
    • Both timeline and budget are being met.
    • Construction site is safe.

When your new location nears completion, it’s time to prepare all employees for the big day. 

Step 3: Prep for Moving Day  

Moving day is critical.

The project might have gone extremely well up to this point, but if move-in day does not go smoothly, employees will be frustrated and unhappy. Look for ways to make a move without disrupting regular business activity. This might mean moving furniture over a weekend, or phasing employees into your new space by department. Whatever the case, structure a moving process that fits in with your business’ culture and daily operations. Then, create an internal communications plan in partnership with your broker to make sure employees are aligned on the actual moving gameplan.

You cannot over-communicate. The C-Suite often underestimates the risks and complications of a move, and others feel out-of-the-loop or confused when it’s time to relocate. Everyone wants to know what they should be doing, how they can help, when they will be in the new space, and how the move will affect his or her workday. Make sure all employees are aware of all moving details. Consider date, time, new neighborhood, space, IT setup, etc. Start communicating with internal emails, host a group lunch or form a move committee.

Another helpful tip: We suggest having a ‘move desk’ on the day of the move. Station an electrician, IT professional or furniture expert at the designated desk for any issues that arise. This will expedite problem solving and enhance satisfaction levels.

Download JLL’s Physical Move Checklist for a full list.

JLL Physical Move Checklist
Now you can celebrate. Moving is complicated, but if done right, your space can drive and fuel workplace productivity, creativity, collaboration—and ultimately—success.

Are you approaching your next move? Has your business outgrown its current office space? Contact me at for consultation.


Tim Kay
As Senior Vice President, Tim’s responsibilities include business and team development, resource management and accountability for JLL Project and Development Services. His team manages the design and construction of complex real estate projects across the Midwest. View Tim’s full bio to read up on his experience. 


3 Demands Driving Distribution Center Design

By: AJ Magner, Managing Director at JLL & Joe Messina, Senior Vice President at JLL

Parts of Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania are home to major distribution centers, including Procter & Gamble, Eddie Bauer, lululemon athletica and, tentatively, Thanks to accessible highways, an inventory of economical land opportunities and the historically low-cost labor markets, the region houses prime real estate for warehouse facilities.

Distribution centers are the backbone of retail industry operations. They are at the core of all product management, inventory, storage and shipment.

According to JLL’s researchers, recent advancements and trends have influenced layout designs of warehouse facilities to change. Stay ahead of the game, and ensure your warehouse operations are up-to-speed by investigating the top demands driving design concepts for distribution centers.

Top Demands Driving Distribution Center Design

Demand 1: Sustainability Keeps Costs Down 

To account for inherent transportation costs, and also balance out the escalating prices of fuel costs and wages, energy efficiency has moved to the forefront of design. Skylights, LED lighting, daylight harvesting and solar panel installations help to conserve energy and cut costs, requiring less electricity to illuminate the facility. 

Demand 2: Sky-High Ceilings 

Modern Warehouse

Photo: Courtesy of Axisadman, Wikimedia Commons

As demand for distribution continues its upward climb (thanks to ecommerce), many are also looking for ways to maximize use of their current space. Companies are expanding distribution centers to fit more products, and boost productivity.

But with new material handling equipment and automated warehouse technology, users can now decrease construction costs and increase layout efficiency by building up. In recent years, distribution center heights have grown from an average of 28-feet-tall to roughly 36-feet-tall, providing more space for additional racking and increasing product capacity.

Demand 3: Hospitality Attracts Talent 

With today’s continuous technological advancements and push to deliver instantaneous service, the number of qualified employees has decreased significantly. Companies looking to recruit and retain a high-caliber employee base should keep employees top of mind while designing a facility.

Employers are seeking distribution centers that are equipped with specific amenities, such as air conditioned warehouse, state of the art dock equipment and increased safety elements to make sure their valued employees continue to be long term assets. To attract tech savvy millennials, companies are also increasingly designing industrial workspaces to include fitness centers and social lounges to enhance the work environment and personal health of their employees.

As demand grows, design and operation of distribution centers will continue to evolve. One innovative example: “Amazon does not store physical items by what they are, but rather by where in the warehouse they can best fit to minimize wasted shelf space.”

By simply calculating dimensions and shifting placement of items, Amazon doubled the amount of storage space in its existing facility.

Whether companies opt to build new centers to accommodate their operations or renovate existing warehouses, the growing preference for streamlined automation, sustainable operation practices and efficient space utilization will continue to dictate the design of these buildings.

Download JLL’s Perspectives on Distribution Center Design for more on new demands driving modern design.

Interested in receiving more information about making strategic commercial real estate decisions? Contact us for more information at

About the Authors

AJ MagnerAJ Magner is Executive Vice President located in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Cleveland office. AJ oversees corporate account teams and relationships. He works with both corporate and non-profit clients, nationally and internationally.  View AJ Magner’s bio or connect with him on LinkedIn

Joe MessinaAs a key Industrial real estate services expert of JLL’s Cleveland office, Joe provides commercial real estate tenant representation, consulting and transaction services to clients in the Great Lakes Region and around the world.  View Joe’s full bio to read up on his experience and recent transactions, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Commercial Real Estate News Brief: May 2014

Commercial real estate is a dynamic industry. Keep up with Spaces’ monthly recaps of the most valuable industry articles we’ve recently come across, focused on news in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. 

Columbus is Living the American Dream 

JLL May-NBAccording to the Burghard Group’s 2013 American Dream Cities Report, Columbus was ranked as the sixth American city enabling residents to achieve their American Dream. The study examined 52 cities across the country with a population of 1 million or more.

Columbus Underground reports that while the study highlights how local residents feel, it does not offer insight into why residents have those feelings.

Other cities mentioned in the report include:

  • Cincinnati: Ranked 14th
  • Detroit: Ranked 26th
  • Cleveland: Ranked 36th
  • Pittsburgh: Ranked 48th

For a full list of the findings, visit the Achieving The American Dream report.

Consistent Building Measurements Are Headed Your Way

Attention, office tenants: your wish is coming true.

A common grievance among many office tenants is the lack of consistency for measuring the dimensions of an office building. However, the Wall Street Journal reports The International Property Measurement Standards Coalition will disclose a solitary measurement system for the global office market in June 

As of right now, the measurement systems used by building owners around the world are “deviating as much as 24% from one another,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The unified measurement system will help ensure that both space sizing and rent rates are reliable and accurate.

Managing Director of JLL’s Pittsburgh Office Recognized for Contribution in Pennsylvania’s Energy Sector

In late April, Dan Adamski, Managing Director of JLL’s Pittsburgh office was recognized for his extensive experience working on behalf of energy firms in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Pittsburgh Business Times calls Adamski, “the energy industry’s go-to person for space needs in western Pennsylvania”—and for good reason too. Adamski works closely with prominent clientele in the energy sector, and is also a frequent author and guest speaker on the energy industry’s economic impact. If you see Adamski around town, be sure to give him a high-five.

News Wrap-Up in Our Region


  • Unlimited Systems signed a seven-year contract to lease the 32,000-square-foot top floor of Kenwood Collection. The mixed-use center has more than 240,000 square feet of Class A office space.
  • EBay Enterprise is expanding its operations in Cincinnati to include a 630,000-square-foot fulfillment center that will create 300 new jobs. The new facility is expected to open this summer.


  • American Landmark Properties Inc. may be purchasing the office building located at 1111 Superior. The building, formerly known as The Eaton Center Building, has 28 floors and may only cost $20 million to purchase.
  • Biynah Industrial Partners LLC and Alex. Brown Realty Inc. jointly purchased a nine-building industrial portfolio. The roughly $43 million transaction includes more than 766,000 square feet.


  • The 117,464-square-foot Crosswoods Five building was purchased by Gladstone Commercial Corp. The company paid $11.8 million in cash for the space located at 7450 Huntington Park Drive.
  • Construction on Building 8, the 484,216-square-foot industrial warehouse developed by The Opus Group, began this month. The project is slated for completion this November.


  • Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans Inc. and Rock Ventures, purchased two buildings and a 4,000-square-foot vacant lot. The first building, located at 119 State Street, is 42,000 square feet, while the second building, located at 45 W. Grand River Avenue, totals 10,000 square feet.
  • Nearly 800 new jobs will be coming to the state of Michigan after The Michigan Strategic Fund approved the grants for several projects. Grant recipients include Challenge Mfg. Co. LLC, Green Box NA Michigan LLC and Fairlife LLC.


  • Market Street Real Estate Partners and JDI Realty jointly purchased seven office buildings at Parkway Center for $39.2 million.
  • Cenveo Inc. will lease nearly 300,000 square feet of space at RIDC Westmoreland. The deal is likely to be one of the region’s largest leases in 2014.



A Step-by-Step Guide to Your Next Office Renegotiation or Relocation: Part V

By: Scott Pick, Executive Vice President, JLL

Office RelocationAs a lease expiration date approaches, many mark their calendars in dread of the administrative tasks ahead. And although moving is complicated, it’s also a unique opportunity to reinvent your culture, address your space utilization and ensure your strategy is aligned with organizational objectives.  

At JLL, my business partner, Brian Conroy, and I follow a strategically crafted roadmap to guide our clients through the process. This is the fifth post in a blog series; each post will serve as a stop on the way to your destination – success. 

Next Stop: Negotiate Your Lease To Prepare for Occupancy 

You’ve identified your preferred new office space, but the journey doesn’t end there.

Before you can start picking out furniture, you have the fun of negotiating a lease document. This is where a good attorney provides tremendous value. (Again, this is just another reason why building the right team of trusted experts before you begin is so critical to end with a successful transaction.)

After you’ve chosen your space, strategic, well-calculated negotiations are a must. Below are the next two steps to officially make your next corporate move. 

Step 1: Negotiate Your Lease

At this stage, your team’s real estate legal council should be heavily involved in the review and finalization of two critical documents: letter of intent (LOI) and the lease document.

  • The LOI: Before you negotiate a lease, develop a strong LOI to document all key details agreed upon in your RFP and subsequent proposals. You have spent several months going back and forth negotiating many details, and to ensure a smooth lease negation, they must be documented. Both landlord and tenant should agree to sign it before taking the next step. A good LOI helps ensure 100% transparency to all business points and deal terms, and eventually, will assist in development of the final lease document.
  • Once the LOI is signed, you’re ready to enter into final negotiations of the lease document. Both attorneys will lead this part of the deal. A trusted real estate advisor will be actively involved and provide necessary feedback throughout this process, but the legal advisor should lead the lease negotiations. The critical piece throughout this negotiation is clear and coordinated communication to ensure no detail is missed and a clear message is being sent to the landlord.

Step 2: Determine Construction Details and Finalize Estimates, Budget 

Along a parallel path of the lease negotiation, finalize all construction details. This includes:

  • Delivery model
  • Detailed estimates
  • Base building assessment
  • Total budget timeline 

Delivery Model:

There are different delivery models to choose from, but typically we will always suggest maintaining control of the construction process.

Control is critical. The main benefits are control of the tenant allowance funds, control of the contractor (they work for you and not the landlord), and building a space that meets all your design and budget criteria.

Revisit Your Estimates & Budget: 

Circle back to reassess and confirm your construction estimates and alignment with total project budget. The main players during this step will be your real estate expert, project and development services (PDS) professional, general contractor and architect.

Begin by strategically revisiting the budget developed during your initial financial analysis. This means examining everything, from soft costs (i.e. IT, furniture, security) to hard costs (i.e. construction).  Confirm that the base building conditions are thoroughly inspected, and are in line with your expectations per the negotiation of the lease.

Also, make sure the entire project team has seen and commented on the final budget (allows for 100% transparency). Different team members with differing areas of expertise may find items you missed. 

Another aspect to consider: Understand the specific accounting treatments for all components of the lease, particularly the tenant allowances. Increasingly, auditors are seeking specific lease language in order for tenants to treat allocations the most favorably under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Keep in mind, the end goal is to make sure there are no hidden surprises when you sign the lease; ensure all your bases are covered.

Evaluate your timeline:

Finally, ensure that the project timeline is still in line with your current lease expiration (or move date objective) so that you don’t experience unnecessary surprises, such as missing your current lease expiration date.

At JLL, we like to play a significant role during the holistic journey. It leads to better end product, and a more successful outcome for our valued clients.

Stay tuned for the final post in the Roadmap to Success series­—Planning & Implementation of Your Next Move—to be presented by Tim Kay, JLL, Project and Development Services.

A real estate professional can help you align business drivers with your real estate choices. Please contact your local  JLL office, broker, or myself, if you’d like assistance with your office relocation or renegotiation at


About the Author

As senior vice president, Scott is responsible for driving the tenant representation group, representing corporate clients in Northeast Ohio. He specializes in corporate real estate, tenant representation services, portfolio management and more. View Scott’s full bio.


An Inside Look at Cleveland’s Elite Workspaces: Q&A with President of Oswald Companies

The office is the cornerstone of any business. It’s at the heart of organizational structure, productivity and external branding. JLL’s real estate experts get it. They are committed to securing the very best spaces to fit specific business needs. This is the first post in a series spotlighting a few of our region’s most elite workspaces.

In late 2010, Oswald Cos. approached JLL with a common problem faced by commercial real estate tenants. The Cleveland-based, employee-owned insurance brokerage firm did not have very flexible lease terms, limiting overall growth for the foreseeable future.

Not long after Oswald and JLL started searching the local market, space at 1100 Superior quickly rose to the top of Oswald’s list. The company moved into the spacious, 72,000-square-foot space on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland, in time to coincide with its 120-year anniversary in 2013.

OswaldCentreWith a brand new, state-of-the-art conference center, functional, modern design, leading technologies, and huddle rooms for collaborative and creative meetings, Oswald Centre qualifies among Cleveland’s most elite spaces.

Now that Oswald has had time to get comfortable in their new space, we met with company President and COO, David Jacobs, to see how he (and his employees) have adjusted to the new headquarters.

Q&A With Oswald President & COO, David Jacobs

Q: What has the last year been like since the company’s move?

A: Great! Actually, more than great. Our employees saw Oswald’s level of commitment to them. It meant a lot to them to know that they are so valued by the organization that leadership built a better environment specifically with them in mind.

Q: What new amenities do employees enjoy?

A: The building was nice enough to put in a fitness center, and we do allow our employees to use it for free. There is also a sundry shop on the first floor, a marketplace, and a new restaurant that came in from Chicago. It’s mostly nutritious eating, and promotes a healthy lifestyle. As a company, Oswald actively promotes healthy living.  It’s what we promote with our clients, too. Our wellness committee, osWell, has definitely taken advantage of our space through a variety of organized health and fitness-based activities and communications.

In addition to all the amenities within the building, we also now have access to video conferencing that physically connects us with the branch offices much more effectively. Since all the branches have video conferencing as well, they feel a part of the bigger organization.

Oswald-LobbyQ:  How does your new headquarters contribute to company culture?

A: We are very much a collaborative, team-based risk and insurance advisor. This team approach is critical to our people developing the right solutions for our clients.  Our new environment instills collaboration and has that open feeling; enabling all of us to do our jobs better. The new space has been an absolute godsend to our business.

When I walk around the office, I see the common spaces, and white boards, all getting tremendous usage. It’s great to see that level of interaction among employees. I couldn’t be happier with the design of the space. It’s inviting; it’s fresh; it’s bright. The design fits our culture much better than where we came from.

OswaldInterior-conf-centreQ: Do clients come to visit?

A: All the time!

We have the community center [on the first floor] for the benefit of our clients, as well as the community. We’ve had several events where clients came to use the room—even when we weren’t there. That first floor [community center] idea has really come to life.

Q: Do you feel the namesake has improved awareness?

A: It’s even more of a surprise than we thought. At first we wondered: Is it too ostentatious? But, we’ve received nothing but extremely positive feedback. Clients have texted as they flew over Cleveland to tell me that they spotted Oswald and said it looks great. It has really been well received. It just demonstrates to our clients and to Cleveland that we are committed to the city. It has been a lot of fun.

Q: How has the new building impacted recruitment efforts?

A: We try to bring prospective employees, as well as clients, onsite so they see that we are legitimate and we have a very strong foundation. We are a key fabric to the city. We aren’t just your standard office. Oswald has its name on the building and all the amenities. It shows well. From a recruiting standpoint, we want them to see that these guys are for real.

Q: How was your moving experience overall?

A: We were very pleased with the partnership we had with Scott [Pick] and Brian [Conroy]. They really took the time to understand what we’re trying to do. We felt that they did an exceptional job of taking us through the process.

Oswald’s new space was featured in Properties Magazine, and continues to draw attention from the local business community. For more on Oswald’s move to its Superior office location, visit JLL’s full case study