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CHICAGO-CB Richard Ellis has expanded its Chicago Capital Markets – Investment Properties Group with the hire of commercial real estate veteran Blake Johnson. Johnson takes on the role of EVP with CBRE following twelve years at Eastdil Secured, where he worked as managing director. Recent market conditions have propelled CBRE to increase its focus on the Capital Markets team, which is also headed up by EVP Michael Vesper and Vice Chairman Michael Caprile.

“The recent shift in the investment market has re-focused our business on the real estate fundamentals,” Johnson says. “CBRE presents me with an opportunity to join Mike Vesper and Mike Caprile, and combine our collective expertise with CBRE’s market leading leasing and management business, which will enable us to best serve our clients and grow CBRE’s practice.”

Johnson’s background at Eastdil Secured involved investment sale and financing advisory across the Midwest in a variety of product types. Locally, Johnson was recently involved in the sales of UBS Tower, 111 S. Wacker, Sears Tower, 181 W. Madison, Prudential Plaza, John Hancock Center, 333 W. Wacker, Riverway O’Hare and O’Hare International Center. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University and MBA from the University of Chicago.

“Blake is one of the most well-respected capital markets professionals in Chicago, with a history of elite sales accomplishments,” Jack Durburg, executive managing director with CBRE, says. “Blake is a key strategic and cultural fit for our firm, and we are thrilled to have him on our team.”

The firm’s Capital Markets – Investment Properties Group completed more than $1.5 billion in property sales transactions last year. “Amid the recession and the upheaval in the capital markets, Mike Vesper and Mike Caprile have been an integral part of the Capital Market discussions with our owners,” Bob Gillespie, SVP of office landlord representation with CB Richard Ellis, says. “The addition of Blake will further strengthen our ability to provide our clients with the most comprehensive information and the very best execution in the industry.”

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