Gregory Maloney took over the reins as president of the Jones Lang LaSalle retail group March 1, succeeding Robert F. Welanetz, who will remain with the company as a project consultant. Maloney, formerly executive vice president and director of shopping centers for Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL), wants to make the company the No. 1 property manager in the retail sector, surpassing its Windy City rivals, General Growth Properties and Urban Retail Properties. JLL also advises shopping center owners on acquisition opportunities. Maloney talked with NREI about his ambitious plans for JLL's retail group.

NREI: Where does Jones Lang LaSalle stand among retail service providers now, and where do you see it in the next few years?

Maloney: We're in the top three [in the U.S.], but we want to grow beyond that. In three to five years, I see Jones Lang LaSalle as being the largest and best third-party provider for shopping centers. I think some of the smaller companies will either get out of the business, or we will be able to attract their clients because we have the right model.

NREI: What do you see as the biggest challenge to growing the retail group?

Maloney: The biggest challenge is the development of new clients. We hope to find two or three of those per year that can help us grow. Institutions owned the majority of shopping centers 15 years ago, but that's shifted to the REIT ownership model, and REITs self-manage rather than use third-party managers. We want to develop new clients to bid against some of these REITs because retail is viable. It is a good investment, and one that shouldn't be dominated by the REITs.

NREI: On the property management side, will we continue to see consolidation among service providers?

Maloney: I don't think there are many more to consolidate. I can probably count on my hands the number of [major] third-party providers. We'll be looking to grow our business, and if can we find someone we can consolidate with or that we can be the aggressor in purchasing, we will look at that as an opportunity for our growth.

NREI: Which retail product types offer the best opportunities for developers and investors?

Maloney: I'm biased toward regional malls. I think they're a great investment. In particular, there are shopping centers that may be the second or third-ranked mall in a market but are great opportunities. An investor can pick them up for a good price, go in and re-merchandise and then change them to something that's much more viable than it is today.

NREI: Looking at your company's platform of services, where do you see the prime opportunities for growth?

Maloney: Additional client growth. Finding more clients who want to buy shopping centers and assisting them in that process. Instead of buying one shopping center a year, we want them to buy three to four a year. If you get five or six of those types of clients, you're going to be successful. It's an aggressive growth strategy that might not benefit us as much in 2003 as it will benefit us down the line in 2004 and 2005.

NREI: It's been a rough stretch for Jones Lang LaSalle. The parent company's stock price is hovering at about $13 per share, down from almost $25 per share in June 2002. What will it take for the stock price to bounce back?

Maloney: When we see the recovery, which I believe is going to happen toward the middle to end of 2003, I think you'll see the stock price adjust accordingly based on our successes. Outsourcing is going to be more and more prevalent in the years to come, and Jones Lang LaSalle is positioned very well to be the leader of outsourcing for large companies.

VITAL SIGNS: Jones Lang LaSalle Retail Group

Properties under management: 36

Total sq. ft. of managed properties: 25.6 million

Number of employees (U.S.): 159

Headquarters (U.S): Atlanta

Market cap (Jones Lang LaSalle): $413 million

Stock price as of Feb. 18: $13.35

52-week high (6/28/02): $24.80