JLL’s New York City office

JLL’s New York business grew at a rate far faster than anticipated, and we found ourselves in a seat-constrained work environment that would not accommodate projected headcount growth. One of the better business challenges to manage, but a challenge nonetheless. The objective became finding a solution that would accommodate 100 additional seats while maintaining a productive and differentiated work environment.

We explored multiple options, including a new lease in our current building, a building in close proximity, a sublease coinciding with our current lease expiry and an evaluation of our existing space’s density. After carefully considering business objectives and economic and market fundamentals, we determined that the smartest decision for the immediate term would be to reconfigure our existing space envelope.

The intent here was achieving the seat count we required, while at the same time creating a more functional version of our office environment to enhance the work experience, and linking it to a broader occupancy strategy for the next two to four years.

The new space


Huddle rooms

An area previously occupied by casual seating (which no one ever sat in) was repurposed to build out small, huddle rooms. Employees can meet with one or two colleagues, review confidential documents or have a conversation without disturbing others.



Traditional cubicles were replaced with linear bench seating. All workstations are reconfigurable for endlessly customizable layouts.


Pod row

An assortment of drop-in pods bring a casual alternate work environment where a row of file cabinets used to sit.


Phone rooms

A blank hallway was transformed into three personal phone rooms. They’re even more secluded than the huddle rooms, and provide privacy and quiet time away from the rest of the office.



Employees now have access to a full galley kitchen with close to triple the amount of counter space than the previous small pantry. And an expansive walkway and multiple machines reduce crowding for coffee in the morning.

Why expand now

Responding to market shifts

As rental rates peaked and uncertainty entered the market, leasing new space became a less viable option, particularly given the real opportunity to densify in our existing space. The original configuration of our office provided for a generous 240+ s.f. per person. At the time, the project team had also developed alternate floor plans that could achieve a density of somewhere between 180-190 s.f. per person. It was time to consider putting into practice what we preach to our clients.

How we did it

Experts consulted

Why ponder quietly when we had a bevy of experts at our disposal? So, we “leaned in” and built a project team of operations, brokerage, project management and workplace strategies professionals to debate, discuss and determine our best course of action.

Make it a movement

Recognizing that if we wanted buy-in and acceptance our employees had to be involved in the process, we set out to create a momentum building campaign, driven by earnest information sharing. Part of that process included branding the exercise with a moniker that piqued curiosity, translated into a positive message and didn’t feel contrived. We called it Project Catbird.

Masses heard

We knew employee feedback would be critical to our success and help drive change management further into the process. We organized focus groups representing 20% of our Commented employee population across our businesses. The key themes of that exercise became the drivers of the design process that would ultimately revitalize our workspace.

Found in translation

Synthesizing the economic and operational realities of the business challenge with the loud voice of our employees became a design challenge that would impact the initiative’s broader success. The translation of the feedback into physical and service-based solutions resulted in a far more functional work environment.

Building out 330 Madison Avenue

The goal for JLL’s new New York office environment was to deliver a workplace
that met the needs expressed by a diverse workforce, while accommodating headcount growth
and achieving a higher level of functionality. Reasonable enough, but consider the challenges:

Two floors

JLL reconfigured and infused function into floors they actively occupied at 330 Madison Avenue

82, 795 sq ft

Employees had spoken and they had needs; needs that would enhance productivity—a win-win that required patience.

425 people

We did a complete restack, reorganizing business lines and shuffling employees across six 33,000 square-foot floor plates with minimal disruption.

Aha moments

It wasn’t possible to predict all the thoughts, ideas and challenges that would come up while creating a functional and engaging workspace. It is however fun to share; so for your education and enjoyment, check out some of our favorite Aha! moments.

Spaces for every employee need

It seems our people had been struggling to find a quiet place to converse with clients or even hear themselves think. Message received. Private spaces, functional pod furniture, acoustic treatments, white noise adjustments and a quiet room would help silence all the noise.

Improved temperature control

100 more seats means 100 more bodies. Could the HVAC handle it? A study of the system indicated balancing as opposed to supplemental units based on the temperature of the air the building was able to provide. A huge range from a budget standpoint, but an important element to the comfort delivered for employees.

Let there be light

Did you know that energy codes are ever evolving and compliance is a point in time kind of thing? An extensive study was done to determine whether the changes proposed for our space would trigger the need for the entire space to comply with new codes. Thankfully for our project, it did not and we avoided a sizable budget impact—but it could have happened. Something to think about.

The road to success is paved with fruit

When vending machines turn up empty on the regular, the last thing you would expect is a universal desire for healthier snacks. We get it—and applaud it! A broader selection of smart snack choices, fresh fruit, oatmeal and beverages with less sugar took over.

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