JLL-backed commercial real estate leasing platform makes debut

It looks as if the sky could be the limit for HiRise, a nimble U.S. start-up backed by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).  It has launched a website that may challenge how landlords and tenants lease commercial real estate space.

The company describes itself as the first online transactional marketplace for commercial real estate enabling companies to search, plan, lease and pay for the space entirely on the HiRise website.

HiRise Office SoftwareAs an alternative to onsite viewing, the website features an automated planner that facilitates “by the seat or by the suite” analysis.  This feature of the website allows tenants to virtually fit a number employees into an available office space.

More small tenants

The company plans to target tenants who need spaces of 5,000 square feet or less. According to HiRise, more than 500,000 American tenants occupy such spaces.

Initially, the platform is rolling out for landlords and tenants in the Washington, D.C., area, but the firm plans to expand its U.S. locations. The official launch for the site is set for May.

The company notes in the Washington area small tenants outnumber large tenants by two to three, yet more than 46 million sq. ft. of small space remains vacant because the traditional leasing policies cater to large tenants.

HiRise says its solution helps landlords with the needs of current tenants, including for smaller spaces, expedited leasing processes and flexible terms.

HiRise a JLL venture

The Washington Business Journal reported that HiRise is wholly own subsidiary of JLL and that a team from the company is directly involved.

Dave Adams, one of the co-founders of HiRise, is the leader of JLL’s Mid-Atlantic Property Management group, where he is responsible for new business development, client retention and client satisfaction initiatives. His previous experience includes work as a managing director of GVA Advantis, vice-president at Colliers Pinkard and principal at Tri Properties.

Adams said in a statement that the vacancy rates for small spaces in D.C. have increased 83 per cent since 2009. “We wanted to build a solution that lets landlords monetize that dormant space.”

Adams’ partners in the business are Andy O’Brien, a senior vice-president at JLL, and Alex Lassar, a JLL associate director.

“Whether you’re a founder of a high-growth start-up or an established business, we know you don’t want to waste time searching for office space,” O’Brien said in a statement. “That’s why we made the process quick, simple and pain-free.”

O’Brien told the Washington Business Journal that HiRise assists prospective tenants that need small blocks of space, many of whom are fast and nimble and don’t want to be locked into long-term leases.

CRE model is broken for start-ups

“The whole commercial real estate model for those types of groups was broken,” O’Brien said to the Journal.

O’Brien said as part of the team working with Startup America, a national network supporting start-ups across the United States, he met many companies that needed more flexibility than they could gain from landlords.

He told the Journal that many of the start-ups wanted leases between 18 and 36 months, something he said landlords rejected due to the cost and effort involved.


A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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