Borders' former headquarters empty after ReCellular moves out
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.
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."