Jones Lang LaSalle Expanding

Property management services firm Jones Lang LaSalle said Tuesday that it would double its staff in Russia and the CIS to 600 by the end of 2010 and open two new offices in Russia, possibly in Sochi and Novosibirsk.

"We are a barometer, a direct reflection," Mark Jagger, the firm's managing director in Russia and the CIS, said in an interview. "If the economy is growing, the real estate market is growing, we are growing. … We need the boots on the ground. But we are emphasizing quality as well as quantity."

Currently JLL employs about 300 people in offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev.

Staff would rise to 500 in Russia, with the remainder divided between Ukraine and Kazakhstan, Jagger said.

The firm may open offices in Sochi and Novosibirsk in the next 18 months, though no final decisions have been made, Jagger said.

The increase will make JLL's Moscow office its largest in Europe after London, which currently employees 1,300 people.

Other leading real estate firms, like Cushman & Wakefield Stiles & Riabokobylko, CB Richard Ellis Noble Gibbons, Colliers International and Knight Frank also plan to expand.

"We could easily add 40 or 50 people right now in Moscow," said Jeremy Oates, the managing director of Knight Frank in Russia and the CIS. "The biggest problem is finding the right staff. We will add a minimum of 600 people throughout the country by 2010."

Sergei Riabokobylko, the Russia director of Cushman & Wakefield Stiles & Riabokobylko, said his office also planned to grow, but at a more measured pace, since it is a privately owned company, unlike CBRE and JLL, which are publicly traded.

"We have offices in Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. But our presence in the regions depends on client demand," he said. "We are not going to have an office just for the sake of having one."

"Today, it would make a lot more sense for us to manage existing projects from Moscow," he said.