By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor
Jones Lang LaSalle is acquiring Shelter Bay Retail Group, a retail property management firm based in Mill Valley, Calif., which will add 74 urban and suburban, open-air shopping centers to its portfolio.
Once the deal closes later this month, the acquisition will increase JLL’s industry-leading third-party retail property management portfolio in the U.S. by 6.5 million square feet to a total of 83.5 million square feet.
“We’ve been trying to grow our local business—whether it’s brokerage, property management or investment sales—really since right after the recession; it started in 2007, slowed down a little bit, but we really kicked it into high gear again and started looking again in late 2012. We’ve talked to Shelter Bay several times and we’ve been chasing them for some time and finally got the deal done,” Greg Maloney, JLL Americas Retail’s CEO, told Commercial Property Executive. “The West Coast is a prime area for us to grow, so this deal gives us an opportunity to grow not only in the Bay Area, but in Southern California, Seattle, San Diego, Arizona and other Western cities.”
The properties are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose/South Bay, Central and Southern California, and Arizona.
According to Maloney, owners and investors of open-air retail real estate properties and portfolios are increasingly outsourcing property management to third-party experts as a cost-effective alternative to in-house management, so combining the retail strength of the two firms under one roof allows both current and prospective clients to tap into its national network of experts and expanded service offerings on the West Coast.
Stephen Robertson, chairman of Shelter Bay, will be transitioning to director of retail business development, West Coast, while Sondra Van Metre, Shelter Bay’s president and CEO, will become director of retail property management, West Coast. Together they will lead the combined organization’s West Coast retail property management operations. In fact, Shelter Bay’s entire team of 30 experts is expected to join JLL.
“Every acquisition we look at starts with the cultural fit and the leaders, and Sondra and Steve fit in perfectly with our culture,” Maloney added. “They are great professionals and really good people. This is a win-win for both of us.”
Additionally, the management teams for the properties will remain intact to ensure a seamless transition when the transaction closes.
“JLL’s global services platform, legacy of property management excellence and award-winning best practices spanning operations, leasing, marketing and accounting, will tremendously benefit our existing clients and, in combination with the growing JLL portfolio, allows us to provide an even higher level of service,” Robertson said in a company statement.
Looking ahead, Maloney noted that JLL has other things in the pipeline as it looks to continue to grow in the major 9-12 markets throughout the U.S.
“We want to be No. 1 or No. 2 in brokerage, property management and in investment sales in each of those markets,” he concluded. “That’s what we continue to march towards.”
Two years ago, JLL had virtually no property management presence in the Bay Area but between this deal and last year’s acquisition of the Wilson Retail Group, it’s now one of the dominant players in the area.