Doug Irmscher

MIAMI—With more than 650 employees statewide providing real estate expertise across major markets, including Miami, Broward, Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville—and a leasing and management portfolio of more than 28.6 million square feet—JLL continues to climb up the rankings as one of the top brokerage firms in Florida with a global platform. Under Doug Irmscher‘s leadership, the company has plans to double its statewide revenue by 2020. caught up with Irmscher to discuss JLL’s aggressive market growth across Florida, the firm’s expansion goals he is pursuing, and some of the latest trends impacting key commercial. Be sure to check back with us in this afternoon’s Miami edition for part two of this exclusive interview. Five years ago, prior to JLL’s merger with Staubach, your firm had a relatively small presence in Florida. What has been the strategy behind your expansion in such a short period?

Irmscher: The JLL merger with Staubach in 2008 provided a launch pad for the firm to expand its footprint throughout Florida at a faster pace. Since then, we have been focused on bringing in top-producing brokers and strengthening our platform of capabilities in markets ripe for growth.

JLL now has six corporate offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville. Today, our team has more than 650 employees providing leasing, property management, capital markets and project development services. The latest job numbers show Florida leading the US in job growth. How does this translate into opportunities for the commercial real estate market?

Irmscher: This growth is consistent with the recovery we’re seeing across the state. Employment is improving in sectors such as hospitality, construction and professional services, which are key drivers for the state economy.

There are commercial real estate impacts as well. As companies hire, they begin to take on more office space, more warehouse space, and are more likely to renew their leases. Job growth also means more national and regional retailers are going to be eyeing new locations for stores as consumer spending strengthens. SunRail, Orlando’s first commuter rail, and All Aboard Florida’s express rail link between Miami and Orlando are full steam ahead. How are these rail investments going to impact the real estate markets in South and Central Florida?

Irmscher: SunRail is already rolling in Orlando, spurring commercial investment in areas surrounding the stations. The submarkets of Lake Mary, Maitland, the CBD, and Southwest Orlando are all poised to see an increase in office tenant demand.

It’s also sparking transit-oriented developments such as Crescent Central Station, a project that will add apartments and retail on North Orange Avenue. All Aboard Florida between Orlando and South Florida will be a major source of convenience for businesspeople—including our own JLL employees, who see rail as a viable alternative to flying. It’s also expected to create more than $6 billion in new economic impact.