The Real Deal New York

JLL acquires development-consulting firm Merritt & Harris

Firm specializes in assessing projects like One Vanderbilt, Hudson Yards for investors

June 03, 2016 11:03AM
By Rich Bockmann

George Ladyman and Manny Kratsios

George Ladyman and Manny Kratsios

In the latest escalation in the arms race against rivals like CBRE, JLL’s project and development group has acquired a consulting firm to buff up its growing construction management business.

The real estate services firm will fully integrate Merritt & Harris, a construction-consulting firm that specializes in assessing properties for lenders and investors and monitoring construction as it progresses to ensure the projects stay on budget and schedule.

Merritt has offices in New York, South Florida and Los Angeles. Projects in New York have include SL Green Realty’s 1.6 million-square-foot Midtown East office tower One Vanderbilt, the office towers at Related’s Hudson Yards and Silverstein Properties’ World Trade Center towers 3 and 4.

“We have done property condition assessments, but it’s not our expertise,” said George Ladyman, director of JLL Projects, which currently advises clients on One Bryant Park and the Bank of America Tower. “Merritt and Harris will be adding great depth to our current platform.”

JLL declined to disclose the acquisition price. JLL will absorb Merritt’s 40 employees and drop the company’s name, fully integrating it into the projects group.

The deal will help JLL compete for clients in the sector with rivals like CBRE, which two years ago acquired the White Plains-based consulting company IVI International.

JLL ranked sixth among the nation’s top construction management firms last year with $1 billion in revenues, according to the website Engineering News-Record. CBRE ranked eighth, with $606 million in revenues.

Both JLL and CBRE, meanwhile, are looking to build their presence in Saudi Arabia, as the Gulf nation shifts its economy away from energy exports amid low oil prices.

Merritt & Harris president and CEO Manny Kratsios said the deal with JLL helps the firm expand its reach into other markets.

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