BANGALORE: LaSalle Investment Management, among the world's top five real estate investors and a unit of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), is entering India at a time when large global fund managers are warming up to country's rent yielding commercial assets.
LaSalle, managing assets worth $55 billion globally, is likely to start standalone operations here even as global investor action in real estate, especially in commercial assets, is topping peak levels seen in 2007. "We estimate that $750 billion of global capital will be invested this year and about $4-5 billion is expected to flow into India," Colin Dyer, president and CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle, told TOI. "Foreign capital always wanted to come here but was held back due to lack of quality assets and other local challenges. It's changing now," Dyer said.
LaSalle invests in public and private assets across real estate segments. The entry of big institutional investors and the development of large office parks riding on India's robust service sector are attracting global interest in the local commercial asset class.
Earlier this year, TOI estimated that big institutional investors Blackstone Group and Brookfield Asset Management pumped over $2 billion to buy tenanted office buildings last calendar. The momentum picked up further this year with Singapore's sovereign wealth manager GIC striking deals early this year.
Dyer said the NYSE-listed company's commitment to India was unwavering as it was investing into a long-term, probably 30-year growth story, unfolding in India. It was rolling out a few initiatives in India, which are possible pilots for rest of the world, he added.
JLL is also set to float an internet-powered retail broking company for residential real estate. "We haven't done anything like this for the housing market anywhere, though we have had an online market place for commercial real estate in Germany and some other markets," Dyer said. JLL will bring on board a senior e-commerce executive to drive the unit, which will combine internet-driven lead generation with offline services.
The real estate services giant will float a specialist infrastructure unit to advise private and state-run companies on monetizing real estate in capital intensive infra projects. JLL country head Anuj Puri said LaSalle Investment and new residential brokerage will function as independent entities, while the infra unit will be part of the company's existing operations, which is hiring 2,000 people this year taking its India count to 10,000 employees.