In an effort to capture new business within the open-air retail sector, Jones Lang LaSalle Retail has created a dedicated Open-Air Division and hired three veteran executives to lead the initiative.

Currently, open-air assignments represent 5 percent to 10 percent of Jones Lang LaSalle's current revenue; the remaining revenue is derived from the third-party management of more than 60 regional malls with roughly 35 million square feet.

“We believe that in five years, the open-air revenues could be bigger than the regional mall side,” says Greg Maloney, CEO and President of Jones Lang LaSalle Retail. “We think there's a heck of a lot more opportunity in this sector.”

The division won its first client assignment in mid-March, a center in Atlanta, and will probably grow to 20 people by the end of the year, Maloney says. Currently, the group has five people including Michael Longmore, Sig Arnesen, and Chris Rehmet, the three new executives who joined Jones Lang LaSalle from Inland Real Estate.

“We realized that more and more of our clients are looking for a specialized expertise related to open-air centers,” Maloney says. “Since mall management opportunities are shrinking, we decided that we needed to pursue open-air to grow our platform.”

Maloney contends that no national platform exists to handle third-party management of open-air centers. “Our competition is the large REITs and local boutique firms and property managers,” he explains. Jones Lang will focus on 10 markets where it already has a presence including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Florida, New York, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.