The Commercial Observer: What’s happening right now at Jones Lang LaSalle?
Mr. Riguardi: We’re on a journey as an organization, and we’re on a journey as a group here in New York; and I think they’ve been traveling at pretty parallel courses. For years, people thought Jones Lang LaSalle was a great adviser and provided great information, but they were critical that we weren’t necessarily aggressive enough. Particularly in the brokerage area, they felt we didn’t have deep local roots, and I think in the last seven years, we’ve proved that to be totally wrong in New York.
You’re managing about 120 brokers in the tri-state region. I can’t imagine the stress. Tell me about your day-to-day activities?
We meet every Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. Everybody. All hands on deck. The idea is, we want to know what everyone’s doing, where everyone’s going, so there’s total transparency. We don’t like to resolve issues in a back room. We resolve it openly and in front of everyone so everyone has a fair chance to say, ‘Hey, I should be involved.’ We’re going to put the best teams together. Not political teams. So that’s one way we do it.
We have a training program that Derek Trulson is running for our younger people—teaching them to canvass, teaching them the business, getting them out in the marketplace. We stress communication and respect. And so the brokerage business is running really well. I’m not going to say there’s never issues, but we deal with them professionally, we deal with them quickly, and we try to have the outcome of the broker issues—particularly when it’s broker to broker—resolved between themselves and not through some arbitration and things like that.
Give me an overview of your recent deals.
We represented the Chinese in a very significant transaction at the World Trade Center. It was a lot of years in the works. It’s the first private deal at the World Trade Center. We recently represented CBS in the Orrik Herrington & Sutcliffe transaction, over at the Black Rock building, which I think was a real milestone transaction in New York because it’s a tenant that’s been in the market for a long period of time, that really said to the community, ‘We’re going to sign a deal at the bottom of the marketplace.’ I think it was a significant event when they did sign, and it represented a transaction that not only brought together a contribution from the landlord CBS, but brought together a contribution from a corporate tenant who had excess space. So I think that was a significant deal. That signed about a month ago.
We also recently concluded a transaction with General Motors, which, again, I think is a significant bellwether transaction. They had committed to another building and then disavowed that lease, and ended up at the General Motors Building. And it was, again, another journey. But I really think both will be defining transactions about when this market sort of hit the bottom and started to turn around.
Do you expect those good feelings to continue?