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Posted on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 : 6:25 p.m.

Atwell-Hicks reorganizes into new entity, moves headquarters from Pittsfield Township after eviction order

By Paula Gardner

Atwell-Hicks - a 104-year-old Ann Arbor area company - is reorganizing under a new name and in three new Michigan offices, but company officials said it retains its 200-employee headcount.

The land development consulting company now operates as Atwell, according to state records and the company Web site.

It’s also now headquartered in Southfield, following an eviction order signed Dec. 16 that forced the company’s move from its longtime office at 500 Avis Drive in Pittsfield Township.

However, the new company already had leased a smaller office - reportedly about 5,000 square feet - at 4750 Venture Drive in Pittsfield Township in recent weeks.

The move from 500 Avis Drive was completed Thursday.

The new entity comes as officials “looked at changing brand as we moved into 2010 as we’re serving new clients,” said Dan McNulty, COO under both the former and current Atwell structures.

Also remaining in leadership is CEO Brian Wenzel, McNulty said.

McNulty would not comment on other aspects of company ownership behind the name and location switch.

“I’m not going to comment on ownership,” McNulty said.

“We’re moving forward in 2010 under the Atwell name with a solid business plan (and) employing 200 people,” he said.

State records indicate that Atwell LLC filed its articles of organization on Oct. 30. The entity is registered to Brian Wenzel, with an original address in Northville.

The address was switched with a document dated Dec. 15 to Two Towne Square, Suite 700. Southfield. The filing was made on Dec. 17, according to the state’s Web Site.

The company still operates a West Michigan office, which just moved from Grand Rapids to Lowell.

“We have changed facilities throughout … Michigan to reduce costs,” McNulty said.

Court records checked on Thursday indicate no recent corporate bankruptcy filings, no lawsuits related to corporate structure or ownership and no outstanding liens.

Atwell had been based at 500 Avis Drive, a 27,000-square-foot building sold in 2007 to California investors for $5.7 million.

An attorney for those investors filed a notice of eviction on Nov. 5, according to Washtenaw County Circuit Court records. Details on the circumstances were unavailable on deadline.

Atwell-Hicks made news in early 2009 when it was awarded a state tax credit to help finance its expansion. At the time, the company said it planned to invest $5 million in its power and energy department, adding 131 jobs over the next six years.

At the time, the company employed 70 at its Pittsfield Township office and operated four offices in Michigan.

Atwell had employed 450 in 2005, a number that fell to about 350 by mid-2008. At the time, Wenzel told Ann Arbor Business Review that the loss of residential development work as the housing slowdown took hold drove the cutbacks.

Company revenue was $9.2 million in 2008, according to published reports, down from $10.1 million in 2007.

Early in 2008, the company closed its Brighton office and consolidated that operation into the Ann Arbor facility.


Jenna Talls

Mon, Dec 21, 2009 : 1:39 p.m.

Did anyone notice the billboard on I-94 and Huron Street the other day? "Atwell-Hicks evicted, reorganizes into new company."

Jenna Talls

Fri, Dec 18, 2009 : 10:37 p.m.

It was only a matter of time until this happened. It looks like it's time to start another $100 million dash and attempt world domination again...


Fri, Dec 18, 2009 : 9:50 p.m.

I think many of the commenters on this article ( may consider this to be the least surprising news of 2009.