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CHICAGO-Jones Lang LaSalle has promoted Michael Yazbec to lead the firm’s Chicago Construction Services group and oversee its growth. Effective July 1, Yazbec will take over the role from Dermot Roe, who launched the business two years ago and is now moving back to the Boston office to grow the construction capabilities nationwide.

With a background in construction, Yazbec has worked for JLL for four years in its Project and Development Services group, responsible for business development and strategic account management for corporate clients across the Midwest and acting as a team lead for the Variable Project Management practice.

“We’re looking to be the real estate provider for our clients and this is one of the final things, an add on service for Jones Lang LaSalle’s clients,” Yazbec tells GlobeSt.com. “We’re very collaborative and we work across all of our business lines, so this is just another service we can provide to our clients in order to add value. It was a start up business for us that Dermot Roe started from zero, so my job is basically to build upon the foundation he’s built to continue to grow the business and work internally with different service lines to develop relationships and business.”

Since the launch of the Chicago construction business in 2007, the firm has overseen 80 projects in the region. JLL previously had construction capabilities through its merger with Spaulding & Slye several years ago, but that business was only in Boston and Washington DC. JLL’s Construction Services practice has an annual dollar volume of more than $260 million, and a staff of more than 140 professionals working as construction manager, general contractor and design/builder.

“If you think about it, when you go to an outside construction company, they just view it as another construction project and way to make money for their firm,” Yazbec says. “But we take a different view and see it as part of our relationship with our client. There’s more at stake for us to do a good job for our clients than if you went to an outside construction company.”

Yazbec says though new construction had slowed to a near standstill, the firm remains busy with work on interior build outs. “You see them quite a bit now because people aren’t moving, and because of the state of the capital markets, you’re seeing investor clients with much longer hold periods to achieve their returns,” he says. “They have to do some things to the buildings, so instead of passing capital improvements on to the next guy, they’re updating the lobby or technology infrastructure to draw tenants. We’re in a unique position to grab some of that business.”

Yazbec doesn’t expect to see new construction until the currently available space is absorbed, which he says could take as much as six years in the suburban office market. “The new construction pipeline has come to a screeching halt and you’re seeing more tenants do shorter term deals which means the projects are smaller in nature, which falls into our sweet spot,” he says. “You’re not going to see big projects for a while. It’ll be interesting to see what impact the Olympic decision has on the larger construction market, and we’re all kind of keeping our eyes on that.”

Prior to work with JLL, Yazbec served as a project executive/principal with Charles Hall Construction LLC, and previous to that as part of the senior management team that led to the Special Projects Division of Chicago-based Turner Construction. He received his master’s degree in Architecture with a business concentration and a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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