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CHICAGO-Jones Lang LaSalle, based here, has formed partnerships to bring its retail operations to a higher level in Asia, Turkey and the Philippines. While the US economy stagnates, foreign markets are heating up, and company officials say the firm wants to capitalize on this trend.

For Asia, JLL Inc. has entered into a joint venture partnership with Colonial First State Property Management. The partnership will be called Sandalwood, will perform retail services such as consultancy, leasing, development and shopping center management. The company will be based in Singapore, and will launch operations there and in Hong Kong, China, Macau, Taiwan, Indonesia and India. Peter Barge, Asia Pacific CEO at JLL, said in a statement that the Asia retail sector is enjoying robust growth. “Results of our latest annual Retailer Sentiment Survey also showed broad retailer optimism in Asia, with 76% of survey respondents anticipating higher growth in turnover in 2008, and nine out of 10 survey respondents planning to expand their retail operations.”

Darren Steinberg, the head of Listed Property Funds and Colonial, said in a statement that “Asian economies are amongst the fastest growing economies in the world with real GDP compound average growth of approximately 9% per annum over the last five years, and their retail management and property development markets have grown at a compound average growth rate of more than 20% in the same period.” About 740 employees will form Sandalwood, with Stewart Hutcheon as the new CEO.

Also, JLL has formed a relationship with Alkas Consulting for the project development, leasing and management of Turkey’s leading shopping centres. Alkas has a number of projects already in the country, including Istinye Park, Kent Meydani in Bursa and Panora in Ankara. The two firms have already been working on the leasing and management of Istanbul Cevahir and Zorlu Center, which is due to open in 2010.

Finally, JLL has merged with Leechiu Associates to form a joint company in the Philippines. The merger creates Jones Lang LaSalle Leechiu, which will be one of the largest real estate firms in the country.

The merged firm will be headquartered in Manila, and will have six site offices, more than 175 personnel and 3.1 million sf under management. The merged firm expects strong business growth, with revenues projected to exceed US $10 million by 2009, a spokesman said in a statement.

David Leechiu, the former CEO of the self-named company and country head of the new merged firm, said in a statement that he is excited about the coming prospects. “This merger has come just at the right time for us. Not only is the Philippines’ domestic economy improving, but we are rapidly becoming a recognized global BPO destination.”

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