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CBRE's Jon Milonas Wrote The Book On Office Leasing. Literally!

CBRE FVP Jon Milonas has worked on more than 250 office projects in 25 countries and secured office space for high-profile tenants such as Morningstar, McGraw-Hill, Towers Watson, Prudential and Hewlett Packard during his nine years at the firm. Each of those deals presented challenges both unique to, and shared by, each client. Jon could have written a book about those lessons.


And he did. Jon spent 18 months researching and writing Kicking Off Your Office Lease, now on sale at booksellers and on Amazon, as a way to break down the office leasing process in simple terms for execs and entrepreneurs who may be unfamiliar or even afraid of where to start.

Jon says he found no unbiased resources on the subject when he decided to write the book, but couldn't settle on a hook when he sat down to draft an outline.


Then he found inspiration in “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan. Jon and his wife Melissa bought a bernedoodle puppy named Mr. Panda, and turned to Millan’s books to train Mr. Panda. Jon was impressed by the simple breakdown of the lessons in those books and decided his book needed a similar layout, but about office leasing.

Jon’s outline had grown to 30 steps, so he knew he had to scale it back. A lot. Jon eventually distilled the office leasing process into six essential steps: the office challenges keeping a company from growing; the goals set during an office lease to ensure success; the scenarios that best fit the needs of a company; selecting the perfect team to create the best office; setting a schedule to ensure the desired outcome; and establishing a budget before starting the leasing process. It seems simple on paper, but Jon says laying that foundation out in the right way is key so novices to the process can be confident when they begin their negotiations.


Jon honed his outline with feedback from clients and others who he helped with their office needs, eventually cutting the book down to the most essential factoids about leasing. In addition to Cesar Millan, Jon modeled the structure for his book on the books of Strategic Coach Dan Sullivan. After four drafts, Jon was finally ready to send the book to an editor.

Jon says the reception to the book from his peers, clients and people not involved in real estate has been rewarding. The framework Jon lays out in the book is based on proven best practices, he adds, but is presented in a way for readers to easily digest, can be continually referenced and gives clarity to readers and other CRE pros. One client, former LaSalle Bank COO and Cook County Health & Hospital System chair Hill Hammock, says he wished he had a book like this 25 years ago.