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Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor commercial real estate company moves into first floor of McKinley Towne Centre

By Lizzy Alfs


Colliers employees Jim Chaconas, Debi Maghes, Richard Timmons and Brendan Cavender, with Colliers managing director Paul Choukourian and McKinley Inc.'s Tom Gritter and Albert Berriz.

Chris Asadian |

Colliers International’s Ann Arbor branch recently moved its office from the Bay Design building on Detroit Street to the first-floor of the McKinley Towne Centre in downtown Ann Arbor.

Colliers now occupies the 2,480-square-foot space on the corner of Washington and Division streets next to Renaissance Clothing, filling the last vacant space in the building.

The space was most recently used as the Sterling 411 Lofts leasing center when the student high-rise was under construction.

Renovations created a large open office and a few separated conference rooms, making room for Colliers’ five full-time or part-time employees to work together in the same room.


The new Colliers International office in the McKinley Towne Centre was most recently a leasing center for the Sterling 411 Lofts on East Washington Street.

Chris Asadian |

“We all work together and are all partners, and the only way we can communicate is to keep the walls down,” explained Jim Chaconas, a Colliers commercial broker who also once worked for Ann Arbor-based real estate firm McKinley Inc.

The large windows and frontage on both Washington and Division streets also makes the company more accessible than at its old location, he said.

“We want people to see that we work in here,” he said. “We want them to feel comfortable if they have a question about real estate to come inside. We’ll also have information about our properties set up.”

He added: “This is great building. There is an interactive map system in the lobby, underground parking and it’s well maintained.”

McKinley Inc. bought the downtown building in 2005 and then completed extensive renovations. It has 21,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor, with 105,000 square feet of office space above, according to Tom Gritter, McKinley's vice president and managing director of commercial real estate.

McKinley CEO Albert Berriz called the recent Colliers move a “great use” for the last vacant space, rounding out the building’s various tenants. Other tenants include Google, Bodman law firm, Bar Louie, Tios, TCF Bank, AT&T and Ann Arbor SPARK's headquarters.

He said the tenants have a great "synergy," where employees in the offices can have business lunches at Bar Louie, or clients who visit Colliers might buy a suit from Renaissance.

He also nodded to the partnership between McKinley and Colliers: “They represent us and all of our buildings. Now they are a client in our building and a partner in business here in Washtenaw County.”

As a commercial real estate company that’s active in downtown Ann Arbor, the Colliers employees agreed: It’s important for the company to have a downtown presence.

“We can walk to half our listings,” said broker Brendan Cavender. “We’re in the center of downtown.”

Agent Richard Timmons added: “We were on the fringe before. Now we’re in the hub of activity for Ann Arbor.”

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Chaconas finally decides to move into a downtown property instead of using downtown to profit on the high lease rates he sets. Bravo! I'm curious to know if he is paying the obnoxious/prohibitive market rate he created - somewhere in the 40-50 per sq ft range, or if he negotiated a rate that is consistent with reality. I'm guessing the latter.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

Chaconas created the market? Wow, such flattering power bestowed. . . I'm sure he would have created much higher rates if that were the case. How about this instead: Market lease rates are formed when willing owners and willing tenants agree to lease terms. However, Chaconas does a great job creating opportunity, by consistently bringing parties together, facilitating many deals. Agreements by participants create the market, at whatever levels they may or may not be . . . and terms are always negotiable.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Congrats to the Colliers crew for those fine new digs. May the visibility and accessibility serve you and your customers well!