JLL Hires Longtime Head of Boutique Brokerage in South Florida

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In a move that hints at the challenges facing independent brokers, JLL said Thursday that Ken Morris, the longtime head of Morris Southeast Group, has joined as senior vice president on JLL’s South Florida industrial brokerage team.

Morris makes the jump to JLL after three decades running Morris Southeast Group, a boutique brokerage and property management company. Morris’ father once owned the business, and the younger Morris bought the company in the early 2000s. Morris said he dissolved the firm.

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During Morris’ tenure as an independent operator, he completed more than 500 lease and sale transactions valued at nearly $1 billion.

Morris, an industrial specialist, said that despite his success over the years, keeping up with clients’ expectations became challenging. Distribution clients look to brokers to provide them with sophisticated data, something he said can be difficult for a small shop.

“It’s a new world now,” Morris told Commercial Observer. “As a boutique operator, it’s getting harder and harder.”

In terms of size and reach, JLL dwarfs Morris’ former operation. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with nearly 100,000 employees. 

In his new role, Morris will focus on industrial deals in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Morris said he sees little sign that the industrial boom will slow. A lack of available sites and strong demand from e-commerce tenants and other users are driving up rental rates and values in South Florida.

“I believe the industrial market still has very long legs,” Morris said.

Jeff Ostrowski can be reached at jostrowski@commercialobserver.com.