Brokerages get new digs amid economic boom

Two Austin commercial real estate brokerages are on the move — literally.

JLL consolidated its two offices into one office on the eighth floor of 1703 W. Fifth St., while Colliers International just moved into new digs on the seventh floor of One Eleven Congress.

Marc Vanderslice, co-chairman and principal of Colliers, said everything just seemed to come together when they toured the 5,000 square foot space.

“What decided it for us are the improvements that the owners are doing at that building with Fareground — and we just have an especially great relationship with that leasing team,” Vanderslice said. “STG Design helped us see the vision and it felt like a natural space.”

Fareground is the indoor-outdoor food park that Parkway Properties (NYSE: PKY) is constructing as an added amenity to the office tower at 111 Congress Ave.

In addition to moving into new office space, Colliers made a major new-hire, luring long-time tenant representation broker David Bremer of Austin Office Space. Bremer was with AOS for 15 years and during the past several months realized he needed a change of scenery.

“I came up with an elaborate process to check out various opportunities,” Bremer said. “I needed to find the right culture that would also benefit my clients. I sat down with several shops and Colliers hands down was a good fit for me.”

Bremer began his new assignment May 16.

Vanderslice said Bremer’s decision is another affirmation of Colliers’ viability. Vanderslice, along with Doug Jones and Volney Campbell, left a comfortable situation with HPI Corporate Services to start a Colliers office in Austin in 2014. It was a big risk at the time, they said.

Two years later the leap of faith has paid off.

“The big thing that we’ve been able to do is attract top talent like Doug Rauls and David [Bremer]. That speaks not only to the Colliers brand but our culture. We’re building something different here,” Vanderslice said.

Colliers is built on a unique platform, he said. Though it’s a national brand, the company is owned by employees.

“We feel we have all the bells and whistles of a larger company but we can be very nimble, too,” he said.

Meanwhile, JLL has also grown significantly in the past couple of years.

JLL focused initially on office tenant representation, but in September 2013 persuaded SRS Real Estate Partners executive Todd Wallace to bring his team over to start a JLL retail brokerage team. Not long after, Wallace was named to head the JLL office. Since then he’s brought over one of the most productive landlord rep teams — Rachel Coulter and Kevin Kimbrough previously of Cushman & Wakefield/Oxford Commercial — and investment sales broker Jeff Coddington, also formerly with Cushman & Wakefield/Oxford Commercial.

The company has gone from two service lines — office tenant representation and project development services overseeing tenant buildouts — to the full scope of brokerage services, which also includes multifamily investment sales, research and property management.

“JLL has made a huge commitment to Central Texas,” Wallace said.

For the past two years, JLL had maintained two offices in Rollingwood and North Austin. That division was erased in recent weeks with the move of all employees to 17,515 square feet at the former Capstar Plaza near West Fifth Street and MoPac Expressway. With the new lease, JLL has renamed the building “JLL Plaza.”

The office lease and remodeling was accomplished in an unusually short time frame — six weeks. JLL’s reputation for efficient buildout oversight was put to the test.

“Everyone worked around the clock. It was amazing to see how seamless the process was,” Wallace said.

JLL’s product development and facilities management teams worked with contractor The Burt Group to accomplish the feat.

“We could pull a lot of string with a lot of vendors, creating synergies to get things done,” said JLL Marketing Manager Landree Dillinger.

Expect more news at JLL, too.

“We’re still bringing more top talent on,” Wallace said.

Jan Buchholz covers commercial and residential real estate, construction and architecture and retail and restaurants for the Austin Business Journal.