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News release


From Economic Frontier to Powerhouse State

JLL celebrates 50 Years in Western Australia

​PERTH, 20 March 2014 – JLL this week celebrates half a century of operations in  Perth and will mark the occasion with a reflection of 50 years of a coming of age for the commercial property firm, the property industry and for the WA economy.

JLL’s WA Managing Director, John Williams, who himself celebrates 19 years with the firm this year, said the history of JLL in WA mirrored the development of Perth as a city.

“When JLL opened its first office in Perth, the tyranny of distance was a harsh reality that manifested in an operational and cultural disconnect between established local industry and the ‘interlopers’ from the east, taking a risk on the west coast.

“In the firm’s formative years, carving out a place in the relatively undeveloped local property industry was a challenging task. In the two years before the office opened in Perth, Barrie Funnell from the Melbourne office of the firm, which was called Jones Lang Wootton back then,  would fly-in and fly-out to do business in WA.

“He worked on the firm’s first project in WA - Floreat Forum Shopping Centre – buying up 4.5 hectares of land and obtaining planning approvals for the centre to be built on behalf of UK investment house, Hammersons.  

“The centre was Perth’s first ‘American’ style enclosed shopping centre, where we established a highly successful property management model. This has now grown to the management of 390,000m2 of retail accommodation with 1,000 tenants and a reported MAT of $1.2 billion Perth currently,” said Mr Williams.

JLL is today Western Australia’s largest commercial real estate services firm with more than 190 staff servicing every facet of the State’s commercial property sector.

For the Western Australian office, the late 1960’s were formative years with a rush on nickel exploration leaving the firm well positioned to make decisive inroads into the burgeoning commercial property market.

"Before long the firm was solidly occupied with valuations, leasing, feasibility studies and its first major sale mandate,” said Mr Williams.

JLL rolled comfortably into the 1970s where the resources sector gained momentum and Perth prospered; population grew, and with it came increased demand for shopping centres, industrial sites and office space.

Despite impressive growth in its formative years, it was not until 1973 that Jones Lang Wootton made its first acquisition of another firm in Perth: Warden & Minear. 

This brought owners Robin Warden and David Minear into Jones Lang Wootton as State Partners and, with them, management contracts for 13 additional commercial properties and six shopping centres. As a result, the firm now managed 70 percent of the major retail centres in Western Australia.

Throughout its 50 year history in the west, the firm has made the most of both ‘feast and famine’ conditions when balancing supply and demand in commercial office space.

Mr Williams said JLL’s transformation has occurred rather poignantly in parallel to that of the young State itself.

“Western Australia and JLL have grown together from unpretentious beginnings and have weathered the same periods of feast and famine. 

In a sense it is less about transformation than it is about reinvention; pioneering success, maybe even beyond what JLL WA’s founders could have imagined for the firm and the State,” he said.

The firm has had some involvement in every CBD office building, managed the largest office and retail sales ever recorded in the state and been lead agents on key developments such as William Street underground station, now 140 William Street, and Elizabeth Quay.

In early 2007, Jones Lang LaSalle Australia acquired the Perth firm NSC Corporate, established by Nick Stanisis and Steve Carulli. 

Mr Williams paid tribute to all past and present Managing Directors and staff for their contribution to the success of the JLL Western Australian office over the past 50 years. 

In particular Maurice Owen, who ran the office for 23 years from 1967 to 1990 and Graham Kennedy who is the longest serving JLL employee worldwide at 38 years and has held several national leadership positions. 

JLL Western Australia is celebrating the 50 year anniversary with an event for clients, staff and former colleagues on Thursday, 20 March at its offices at Central Park.