One of the world's biggest commercial real estate firms is expanding into South Carolina with an office in Charleston, drawn by the port and the diversifying economy.

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. said it's planting a stake in the Lowcountry "to serve the needs of its growing client base" in North Carolina and the Palmetto State.

In the past, the firm said it has handled most South Carolina sales, leases and other transactions from its offices in Raleigh and Charlotte. The Daniel Island outpost will offer industrial, office and retail brokerage services to business clients statewide.

"Charleston is a strategic location for commercial real estate services growth, particularly given its industrial port location," said Chase Monroe, the firm's market director for the Carolinas.

The new office will be staffed by industry veterans Mike White, a former vice president with CBRE's local office, and Lee Allen, who is relocating from the Jones Lang LaSalle branch in Charlotte.

"We're excited about the opportunity ... in Charleston, as this team is positioned to hit the ground running," Monroe said.

White, who's worked on previous deals with Jones Lang LaSalle, said it's notable that this will be the Chicago-based firm's smallest U.S. office.

"They see Charleston as an emerging market for growth in the commercial real estate in the years ahead," White said.

In addition to the port activity, Boeing Co.'s expansion plans for the region also helped put Charleston on the firm's radar screen.

"That continued investment is a sign to the aerospace industry and other industries that this is a place that Boeing has vetted and is committed to," White said Wednesday.

Jones Lang LaSalle is a publicly traded company with annual revenue of about $4 billion. It employs more than 40,000 people in 1,000 locations in 70 countries.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.