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New team members join JLL in an evolving market

It is certainly an exciting time for Jones Lang LaSalle’s (“JLL”) business in Westchester and Fairfield counties. The firm, looking for continued growth in each distinct market, recently welcomed two of the area’s most established senior brokers—Chris O’Callaghan and Paul Kauffman—a move which will enhance an already thriving office.

Both Westchester and Fairfield counties have undergone gradual change over recent years, setting the stage for future opportunity. Mr. O’Callaghan, who has 28 years of real estate experience in the Westchester County market, believes that, as with many suburban markets across the country, the trend in Westchester is shifting toward mixed-use developments, combining residential, retail, lifestyle centers and commercial development. Mr. Kauffman, also an industry veteran, agrees, adding that smart investors, both private and public, will continue putting money into CBD amenities and infrastructure, to attract the demographic necessary to make the market a destination “work-and-live” region.

As opposed to the transit-centric environment in nearby Fairfield County, the car-commuter has become the focus in Westchester. As such, market activity has shifted away from White Plains towards the I-287 East Corridor, where higher quality buildings in campus-like settings with ample parking are attracting tenants.

Increasingly, older buildings in Westchester are being renovated to meet the demands of new tenants, a trend that promises to update the eastern portion of the I-287 corridor. Additionally, office buildings previously deemed functionally obsolete are often being converted for uses such as fitness, health-care related and education facilities, a movement that is diversifying the area and eliminating unused office space from inventory—helping to firm office market fundamentals.

Fairfield County has also seen change over recent years. As mentioned, commercial and residential development has steadily shifted towards transit-centric locations, putting Manhattan in reach for access to talent and business capital. As a result, the office market is now showing particular strength in submarkets closer to transit centers, with demand and activity most concentrated in Stamford and Greenwich. Absorption levels at those properties outpace those in more suburban office locations, and space is priced at a significant premium.

While financial services remain the cornerstone for office space demand in Greenwich and Stamford, creative services are another force and tenant demand is beginning to diversify to technology/media and internet companies as well. In addition, headquarter activity has started to bounce back with powerful State-funded incentive packages helping to attract a variety of tenants across industry-types.

Looking ahead, both Mr. O’Callaghan and Mr. Kauffman are excited by the inherent opportunities driven by these and other changes in the Westchester and Fairfield office markets. Individually, Mr. Kauffman and Mr. O’Callaghan possess significant experience in both markets and have been involved in some of the largest commercial real estate transactions in each location. Both professionals are now looking forward to working within the JLL CT/Westchester team to take advantage of the evolving markets, delivering results and further building the business. As Mr. Kauffman puts it, the move to JLL was a chance to work with a growing company and a local team with an increasing number of wins that could no longer be ignored.