JLL Pittsburgh

Explosive business growth dictated rapid expansion

Pittsburgh’s growing popularity and exploding talent pipeline have generated significant growth over the last 5 years—and rapid growth will likely continue. To address this the JLL team expanded space in their original location. The problem: these were non-adjoining spaces with inefficient furniture layouts. With lease expiration and a building ownership change looming, JLL made a strategic move to accommodate evolving firm and talent needs. JLL knew a well-designed, people-friendly workplace boosts productivity and collaboration, promotes health and happiness and helps attract and retain the top talent crucial in today’s competitive business arena.

The team explored multiple options, including a new current building lease. But after carefully considering business objectives and economic and market fundamentals, JLL decided the smartest decision would be a strategic move into Tower Two-Sixty. The newly-developed, mixed use building offered a favorable tenant improvement allowance and a significant branding and signage opportunity.

The new space



The first impression: the design reinforces this office as part of a worldwide—but also distinctly local—enterprise. Exposed ceilings reveal the striking steel frame superstructure; rough-hewn wood floors and a perforated metal accent wall signal that you’ve arrived at the JLL Pittsburgh office. This vibrant space reinforces brand through a distinctive palette and materials, providing an active, inter-connected environment supporting a range of office activities. Visitors can see small phone rooms within view of the reception area; a quick place to duck into for a phone call.


12th floor cafe

Multiple pantry areas—one per floor—become focal points, encouraging casual employee interaction while providing usable workspace. The pantry is a common area for so many activities—from a quick snack and coffee break to impromptu meetings and office events. Chance encounters for staff from various departments increase collaboration thanks to centralized floor placement.


Board room

The board room supports large, formal meetings with its technology-rich design and neutral palette. Large glass pivot doors open to reception and a client-facing center, increasing flexibility and break-out space for larger events. JLL equipped its conference rooms with digital signage and a room booking system to make them easier to find and to avoid booking conflicts, and to increase utilization.


Outdoor terrace

The amenity-rich environment includes a terrace that extends the workplace and accommodates employee and visitor gatherings, while providing expansive downtown views. JLL also held a “Patio Event Series” for client events and business networking opportunities.


Collaboration spaces

This casual and multi-modal client-facing space encourages a range of ways to meet and interact with clients—from lounge seating to private conference rooms and technology-driven impromptu areas—all within view of the popular 12th floor outdoor terrace. Themed neighborhood breakout spaces also provide a playful design detail and signify client commitment to the city and downtown connection.


Command center

Operations and communications greatly improve with the new JLL 24/7 property management command center —a collaborative space enhanced by natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows and outward views to office areas. JLL outfitted this space with various seating types for impromptu meetings and work sessions when Command Center functions aren’t used.


Open workspace

The open plan supports how today’s employees work, creating a more human workplace where people can shape rather than be shaped by the space. Enclosed focus rooms, technology-rich conference rooms and informal collaboration spaces are immediately adjacent to workstations, allowing individuals and teams to select the right environment for the task at hand. It exemplifies a new standard in workplace through “open address” work spaces. While aiding future growth strategy, adjustable, standing desks also promote flexibility, user comfort and wellness.


Strategic placement

The combination of open plan and strategic placement of focus rooms permits clear sight-lines, encouraging collaboration, chance encounters and the ability to determine availability of enclosed spaces without having to travel far from a workstation.

Why expand now

Pittsburgh’s national profile booms

Nationally recognized news sources are bringing new, well-deserved attention to Pittsburgh.

Along with recognition for the well-established energy sector and the announcement of the new Royal Dutch Shell cracker facility, Pittsburgh is also being recognized as a hot spot for big technology. With a thriving and growing talent pipeline from world-renowned universities, this city is called home by companies like Google, Uber and Argo Al.

Add competitive wages and an eager workforce, and the JLL Pittsburgh office was the obvious choice to host the firm’s national hub for Lease Administration and the national call center. The additions of these hubs grew JLL Pittsburgh from a 40-person to a 450+ person firm—making it the city’s largest commercial real estate firm.

How we did it

Deploy the A Team

Spearheading the three-floor fit-out were project managers Shelley Boyle from JLL, Megan Corrie from Turner Construction, Patti Andritz from Franklin Interiors and Jennifer Askey from architect Perkins Eastman. Each of their stories chronicles a unique start in construction and architectural design. Andritz entered the field straight out of high school in the 1970s. Askey and Corrie dabbled in architecture and construction before finding the ideal pursuit. Askey earned a degree in architecture; Corrie went into construction. And Boyle admired her aunt’s work in interior design enough to follow in her footsteps. After stints in architecture firms, she entered project management. Together the team has nearly 75 years of experience.


Personalize the solution

The dreaded cubicle isn’t as scary as some assume. In fact, some workers are at their most productive behind a desk, within private space. That’s why JLL designed a space with the perfect balance of collaborative, closed and free address space. This cross-discipline approach helped the project team deliver a flexible space for today’s needs and allows JLL to grow without taking more space in the future. JLL is even hopping on the hot-desking trend—allowing employees to switch up where they sit (or stand) daily. Bottom line: we designed our space for the ultimate flexibility in individual work styles.

Change from within

JLL knew employee feedback was critical to success and helping to drive change management. JLL organized focus groups representing 20 percent of the employee population across businesses. That exercise’s key themes drove the design process that ultimately revitalized the JLL work space.


Personify brand building

The new office building offered not only favorable tenant improvement allowance including an outdoor patio area, it also offered a significant branding and signage opportunity. Known now as JLL Center at Tower Two Sixty, two JLL logos adorn the western and eastern façades of the newly developed, mixed use building. Market Leader and Managing Director JC Pelusi said the signs reinforce JLL’s growing involvement in the region’s most prominent development projects. As an example, JLL is currently working with the Pittsburgh Penguins to develop 28 acres at the former Civic Arena site; and with Continental Real Estate Companies on leasing and continued North Shore office development.

“Having a visible presence locally reflects our dedication to the city’s growth,” said Pelusi. “We’re proud to be part of a community undergoing revitalization. And Market Square in particular continues to be a hub of activity for our region.”

JLL is confident the building signage will communicate its brand’s identity beyond the real estate industry, giving current and future employees a sense of pride and supporting recruiting efforts.

Building out Tower Two-Sixty

JLL’s new office environment had to deliver a workspace meeting a diverse workforce’s expressed needs –
while accommodating headcount growth and achieving better functionality and business value.
Reasonable enough, but look at the challenges and opportunities:

Three floors

JLL configured and infused function into three new floors. To promote flow between floors, several unique and desirable work spaces and social spaces were strategically placed on each floor.

450 people

In advance of the move, JLL employees voiced their thoughts and needs through our “Change Ambassadors.” The Change Ambassadors team was made up of representatives from all JLL Pittsburgh service lines.

Homage to the Steel City

With a blank canvas, the JLL Pittsburgh office wanted to pay tribute to some of the communities, people, and industries that helped put Pittsburgh on the map.

Aha moments

The reality of privacy

The perception of privacy (higher panels, cubicles) is not reality. Higher work panels won’t keep a conversation confidential. If you need privacy, a private room is the best solution. JLL scattered these rooms strategically throughout the workspace, giving everyone the ability to ensure quickly available privacy.

Is paperless possible?

With new technologies like dual screens at each desk and display screens in all conferencing areas, most groups significantly reduced their file needs, specifically at individual desks. One group reduced from roughly 1000 file drawers to 200!

JLL couldn’t predict all the thoughts, ideas and challenges facing the creation of a functional and engaging workspace. But it’s fun to share. So for your education, edification and enjoyment, check out some favorite Aha! Moments.

Lead by example

JLL’s team is known for office space thought leadership within the industry. The new space helps bring those best practices to life. This unique perspective is shared with partners, clients and prospects by conducting almost daily tours, and by hosting events, meetings and roundtables within the space.

Change ambassadors

By incorporating employees into the process with JLL’s “Change Ambassadors” program, decisions can be presented and discussed prior to implementation, allowing everyone’s voice to be heard.

Buy-in from senior leadership is key

Setting a strong tone at the top helps develop strong culture. When the Market Leader gives up his office, it’s noteworthy. And when your senior leadership leads the way by suggesting varying meeting locations, encouraging free addressing and hosting internal and external events onsite, the pieces fall into place much more easily.

Never miss an update from Office Renew.
Build a better workplace with new tips delivered straight to your inbox each week.