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Posted on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

Borders' former headquarters empty after ReCellular moves out

By Nathan Bomey

The former headquarters building of Ann Arbor-based bookstore chain Borders Group Inc. is now empty, following the departure of a tenant that was subleasing 13,000 square feet.

Cell phone recycling firm ReCellular Inc., which was leasing space in the 330,000-square-foot Borders building, has moved to Pittsfield Township.

ReCellular signed a lease for a 15,325-square-foot office at 1194 Oak Valley Drive, real estate firm Colliers International announced today.

The news marks the latest in a series of changes for ReCellular, which laid off about 70 workers six months ago and moved its corporate offices a year ago. The company also operates a 57,000-square-foot plant in Dexter.

ReCellular's move means that the former Borders headquarters property is vacant — which could make it more attractive to a prospective buyer or tenant.

Signature Associates brokers Steven Gordon and Jay Chavey are marketing the property on behalf of Oakland County-based Agree Realty Corp., which owns the three-story, 330,322-square-foot headquarters building at 100 Phoenix Dr. The property is listed for sale at a starting price of $10 million or lease at a "triple net" rate of $6 per square foot per year.

Chavey, reached by phone today, declined to discuss the marketing process except to say "we've had a lot of activity" from interested parties but there's "nothing imminent."

Agree acknowledged in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it had defaulted on a loan for the headquarters building. Agree owed $5.6 million in principal on the loan as of June 30.

Agree was collecting $769,000 in annualized rent at the building, which housed about 400 Borders employees at the time the company announced its plans to liquidate July 18. Because it defaulted on the loan, Agree acknowledged that it could lose the property — which would revert to ownership by the lender.

Borders' demise prompted ReCellular to move, said Joe McKeown, ReCellular's vice president for marketing and communications.

"From our perspective we were the last people there, more or less, and we wanted to get someplace where we could continue our growth and still be part of the scene here in Ann Arbor," McKeown said.

McKeown said ReCellular has added some employees since the layoffs in June and that it's now up to about 300 workers, including 225 at its Dexter operation. After the layoffs, he said the company had more than 250 employees.

ReCellular moved to a building owned by McMullen Properties and formerly occupied by defense technology firm Solidica, which recently moved to another facility in the Ann Arbor area. Colliers International brokers Patrich Jett and Randy Book represented ReCellular in the deal.

Jett said ReCellular strongly considered moving its headquarters to Dexter.

"Dexter has some light manufacturing space," Jett said. "But when it comes to looking for a big chunk of office space, it’s very challenging to find office space in Dexter."

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

maybe the are commission could rent it . Agree was collecting $769,000 in annualized rent at the building. they have 2mil in savings. they could rent it and have more people look for art projects. this building should hold their ego's.

Seasoned Cit

Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

Better yet... the City could buy it and turn it into another parking lot.. that could be used by commuters who will sign up to take the new helicopter shuttle service to downtown.. which is being set up to handle the throngs of art lovers who are expected to come to town to see the water sculpture.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

Well DON'T let U of M buy it or you'll lose the taxes for yet another chunk of AA property!


Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 3:53 a.m.

From their Health System, which is the group that actually made the purchase, from their leases to business incubators, etc. Clearly it wasn't purchased from the state proceeds the University receives in support of education or from tuition if that's what you are suggesting?

The Picker

Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

And where does the University get the money to pay these new 3000 employees and purchase real estate ?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

@Rob...I agree with you completely. The University brings in a lot of money in Washtenaw County, and AA in particular. They don't often buy up big office buildings on prime land so they can let it sit there and fall apart. Jacobson's left it, now Borders has left it. Why not the U? Oh, BTW, it's not just actual homeowners who pay property taxes. Every renter pays property tax (included in the rent), which goes to the landperson (heh-heh), and from there to the government coffers. So wheter the Pfizer workers buy or rent, they contribute to property taxes.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

Is anyone else lining up to buy it ? Nobody wanted Pfizer so they basically begged UM to buy it before the buildings fell into ruin and disrepair and now there will be 3,000 people working there, many of them new, bring new income to the city, spending to the city, if living here, probably property taxes, etc. Not to mention all of their spending in the city in our restaurants, grocery stores, malls, gas stations, etc., etc. such short sighted thinking always "hating" the UM.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 1:35 a.m.

so sell it or junk it


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 3:32 a.m.

Junk perfectly good Office space in AnnArbor? Why? How about leasing or selling it so that the tax base doesn't is appear forever?