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CHICAGO-Grubb & Ellis Co. has hired Branson Edwards as executive vice president and managing director of the Retail Occupier Services Group. The newly formed company will be headed by Edwards out of the Chicago office.

“Branson brings tremendous retail real estate field execution and corporate management experience,” says Jack Van Berkel, COO and president of Real Estate Services for Grubb. “He has participated in developing and managing thousands of stores as a retailer and as a service provider. Bringing him on board is a big step toward enhancing the level of service we can provide our retail occupier clients.”

In the new position Edwards will oversee the group, which was created to “strategic consulting, tenant representation brokerage, asset management, project management, lease administration and facilities management services to retailers nationally,” according to the company explanation. Edwards will oversee the creation of and recruitment for the Retail Tenant Representation Practice Group.

Edwards sees a need within the retail market. “Retailers are coming to grips with the difficulties of the last several years, and they are calling out for comprehensive assistance across their entire portfolios,” Edwards says. “Service providers have to be nimble and deliver multi-service solutions integrated specifically for retailers. Grubb & Ellis’ entrepreneurial culture and national strength make it the right platform for this endeavor.”

Before joining Grubb, Edwards was managing director of Retail Outsources Services for Jones Lang LaSalle. He founded the retail-focused company The Standard Group, which merged with JLL in 2008. Over his career, Edwards has also worked in the retail departments of Blinds To Go, Boston Chicken Inc. and Burger King Corp. He has a bachelors degree from Duke University and an MBA from University of North Carolina.

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