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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Michael Heise, who formerly oversaw the Tampa Bay leasing operations of Raleigh, NC-based Highwoods Properties Inc., comes to Liberty Property Trust as city manager of the firm’s owned and managed portfolio of 2.85 million sf of office and industrial properties in the metro area.

In Orlando, Malvern, PA-based Liberty hired Todd Watson as senior marketing and leasing representative. Watson was a leasing associate for three years in the Orlando office of Lincoln Property Co. where he handled an office and retail portfolio of 350,000 sf. Highwoods and Lincoln representatives couldn’t be reached for comment.

In Heise, Liberty gets a 20-year professional who was directly responsible for leasing and sales at Highwoods Preserve, an 824,000-sf office park in the New Tampa submarket. Before joining Highwoods, Heise was a partner and co-founder of Newport Partners for 10 years. The firm later became Carter & Associates of Florida. He also worked for Insignia/ESG and Trammell Crow Co.

“I joined Liberty because there is a great opportunity here in Jacksonville to grow an already thriving business,” Heise tells GlobeSt.com. “Additionally, I have lived in Jacksonville in the past and my wife and I, who were married here at Ortega Methodist Church, liked the area very much.”

Watson started his career as a real estate lawyer with Broad and Cassell’s Orlando office after earning his law degree at the University of Florida. He tells GlobeSt.com he left law after three years for real estate because he “grew tired of merely memorializing the deals and wanted to actually create the deals.” At Lincoln, Watson participated in 200,000 sf of closed deals valued at about $25 million. He previously worked for Boyd Development Co. on site acquisitions.

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