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CHICAGO-Jones Lang LaSalle has brought in Bruce Renwick and Karla Harmon to oversee its new assignment of leasing Arden Realty’s 3.2-million-square-foot office portfolio. Renwick and Harmon’s hires as leasing directors at JLL were simultaneous with the awarding of the Arden portfolio, which the two had previously overseen in work at Equity Office Properties Trust. The two join a five-person team to oversee the five Arden properties in the East-West corridor, which are currently about 78% leased overall.

“We like to think our experience on these assets had to do with it being awarded to Jones Lang LaSalle,” Renwick tells GlobeSt.com. “I believe these are the best buildings in the best submarket in suburban Chicago and our job now is to really position ourselves as the first choice of prospects in the market. We want to make the process simple and be quicker to react, more accurate and reflective of the market and easier to deal with than our competition.”

Renwick comes to JLL from work as director of national accounts at Leasecorp Inc., while Harmon most recently served as senior leasing director for CityGate Centre in Naperville, which is owned by Calamos Real Estate. Previous to those positions, Renwick and Harmon had worked together on the portfolio for Equity Office Properties Trust. At Equity, Harmon completed more than 42 transactions totaling nearly $300 million in 2006, while Renwick averaged a yearly lease volume in excess of $100 million.

“We’re really relying on some of the relationships we had with existing customers in the buildings,” Harmon tells GlobeSt.com. “Prior to departing from Equity, we worked on these assets for quite a few years. Now we’re getting back in front of the brokerage community and making sure our relationships are intact, that Arden’s assets are positioned well within the market and that everyone knows what we offer.”

Properties in the portfolio include the 1.2-million-square-foot, five-building Westbrook Corporate Center in Westchester; the 550,000-square-foot, three-building Commerce Plaza in Oak Brook; the 772,000-square-foot, 31-story Oakbrook Terrace Tower in Oakbrook Terrace; the 310,000-square-foot, 16-story One Lincoln Center in Oakbrook Terrace; and the the 225,000-square-foot 1111 W. 22nd St. in Oak Brook. All of the properties but Westbrook are located in DuPage County, with asking lease rates around $18 to $19 per square foot net. Westbrook is located in Cook County, with asking lease rates around $25 per square foot gross.

“We plan to promote that because it means you can quantify to the penny at Westbrook Corporate Center, there’s no estimates on operating expenses or taxes and the landlord assumes that risk,” Renwick says. “No one else is doing that in the market. That’s Arden saying to the market that we’re putting our money where our mouth is.”

Renwick says the team will accomplish leasing objectives by building a reputation for long-term consistency. “People can talk about all their great plans, but Karla and I have been out here for a long time on these very same buildings,” Renwick says. “Where we’ve been successful in the past has been by consistent behavior over time, communicating availabilities to the market, advertising the properties and separating ourselves from the competition with our creativity, our responsiveness and our flexibility.”

Overall occupancy in the East-West Corridor is around 83%, according to Transwestern’s Q2 office market report. “Typically the East-West Corridor has been more heavily occupied than Schaumburg, Naperville or the north markets,” Renwick says. “It’s safe to say that we are on the low end of occupancy out here right now.”

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