January 30, 2008

January 31, 2008

Contact: Mary S. Williams

734-769-8520 ext. 244

For Immediate Release

McKinley, Inc. has been appointed as Receiver for Embassy Manor Apartments in Detroit, Michigan. This 334 apartment home community is located near the St. John Medical Campus and close to many neighborhood amenities. The appointment was made by the Wayne County Circuit Court in Wayne County, Michigan.

We are pleased that we have been selected to help the residents in a distressed community states Ken Polsinelli, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Residential Real Estate. Im confident that by applying our teams passion and expertise, we will be able to enrich the quality of life and create value for all of the stakeholders.

This is McKinleys 32nd appointment as Receiver and Property Manager by various jurisdictions in the ten states in which we operate.

McKinley, founded in 1968, is a well respected national real estate investment firm that owns and operates $1.8 billion in assets in 103 properties for its own account and for select clientele. This includes 17,248 apartments and 5.0 million square feet of commercial space located in 9 states. Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Albert M. Berriz serves as Chief Executive Officer with 717full-time employees nationwide.


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January 9, 2008

Reprinted from Source: Greg Migliore | Ann Arbor Business Review

January 10, 2008 01:01AM

Note: This is an expanded and updated version of a story that first appeared Jan. 2 on

It took more than a year to assemble the six parcels of land for University Village, a proposed student housing complex that could rise as high as 26 stories and redefine Ann Arbor's South University district.

Developers Dan Ketelaar and Ron Hughes had to reach agreements with five separate property owners to control the site, which spans 2.05 acres and has an assessed value of $4.42 million.

Plans for University Village, a 582,390-square-foot structure with two connected towers, were submitted to the city Jan. 2. The towers are expected to be 26 and 21 stories high and have room for 1,700 students in 515 rooms. There would also be 16,000 square feet of retail.

If approved, the project will be among the largest and most ambitious in the city outside of Lower Town.

Letters on file with the city indicate the owners have agreed to sell the land or development rights to Ketelaar and Hughes.

The site is at the southeast corner of South Forest and South University, across from the University Towers apartment building.

Jim Chaconas, managing director of McKinley Commercial Brokerage, represented the developers and three of the sellers in the transactions of the University Village assemblage. He didn't disclose the prices, but the collective market value of the site, based on assessments, is $8.84 million.

"It's tremendous for both sides," he said.

By comparison, land for Zaragon Place, a 10-story apartment complex two blocks to the west at 619 E. University, sold for $5.45 million, according to county records. It's 0.35 acres.

Complex project raises bar on South University

The scope and complexity of University Village eclipses that project, though both would set a new tone for the South University corridor.

"We're very excited about the potential that this project would have," said Ketelaar, of Omena Real Estate Investments in Ann Arbor. Hughes' entity is Hughes Properties Inc. of Bingham Farms.

Beyond the housing on the site, University Village is also expected to include a 14,000-square-foot green roof and a 20,000-square-foot raised courtyard.

The location will qualify as a brownfield site, prompting a cleanup effort. It's also aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and would include passive solar technology, advanced water systems and air quality monitoring.

"This is a very unique, exciting, and noteworthy project - we are committed to building a state-of-the-art residential complex on a brownfield infill site that incorporates sustainability best practice," Hughes said in a statement immediately after the filing with the city.

He also expects the environmentally friendly practices will find a niche among University of Michigan students.

"Everyday, students will see how green systems work through live exhibits installed throughout the building, and they will come to understand how their actions impact the environment as we post monthly energy consumption and recycling reports on the intranet and in the cafe," Hughes said.

The land deal

The most valuable parcel is owned by Philip Sotiroff, of 1320 South University Ltd. Its assessed value is $1.85 million, and an apartment complex is currently there. It's also the largest parcel, at 0.81 acres.

The second-most-valuable parcel is owned by Thomas and Fred Gruber. It's worth $897,800 and sits on 0.44 acres. There is a three-story apartment building and a two-and-a-half-level house on the site.

The Grubers are giving Ketelaar and Hughes the development rights to the property, but aren't actually selling it and say they don't plan to. Their buildings are expected to remain standing.

The Grubers are supportive of University Village and say their buildings will make a smooth transition from the high rise to the surrounding neighborhood. "I think its going to be a positive impact because it'll identify the neighborhood as a nice, new, clean area," Fred Gruber said.

A spokeswoman for the developers, Tracy Koe Wick, declined to comment.

Harry Hawkins, the owner of a laundry facility, bicycle shop and party store on the site, is expected to get space in the new development under a condo arrangement, said Chaconas, his broker. Hawkins' land is assessed at $302,800.

Also on the site of University Village are Tom Clark Apartments, Village Corner and the Bagel Factory.

University Village is the second major project to be proposed after Ann Arbor rezoned the area near the border of the U-M's Central Campus to allow for taller buildings, joining Zaragon Place.

Rick Perlman, principal of Zaragon Holdings Inc. in Chicago, said there is room for another student development in that area, as the housing stock is aging. "I think it's great for the South U. side of town," he said.

Another local developer, Peter Allen of Peter Allen & Associates, said more options for students would increase pressure on landlords who haven't renovated their properties recently in other areas, including Burns Park and Kerrytown. Gruber said he had previously been approached by another developer, so the offer from Ketelaar and Hughes wasn't a surprise.

"We just took a cautious approach to it," he said.

Contact Greg Migliore at (734) 302-1721 or

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January 8, 2008

CEOs praise Ann Arbor area's talent, see challenges

Source: Posted by Nathan Bomey and Greg Migliore | Ann Arbor Business Review

January 03, 2008 02:22AM

There are few ways for local corporations to directly counterbalance daunting variables like the rising cost of materials and the ailing housing industry.

But finding the right people in a talented pool of Ann Arbor employees may be their best hope.

Six of the Ann Arbor area's top corporate executives interviewed by Business Review expect challenges in 2008 from sluggish economic growth in Michigan, the struggling housing industry and rising commodity prices. But they envision a year in which talented employees, sensible pricing solutions and reasonable national objectives will be key to their success.

The economic vitality of the region affects some local corporations more than others. But the executives agreed that in some sense their businesses are encapsulated by the economic environment here - including state tax rates and job growth.

However, a few of these executives said the success of their businesses is tied to the rising cost of commodities such as paper and goods such as food.

Their plans to address their circumstances center on what they can control: the cultivation of talent, structuring of their business plan and effective communication.

Ultimately, though, the health of the Michigan economy will play a significant role in their vitality.

"We're anticipating a fairly bearish [Michigan] economy where we would expect trying to keep our sales flat in this environment to be a challenge," said David Brandon, chief executive officer and chairman of Domino's Pizza. "We don't expect there to be significant growth for Michigan."

State economy poses challenges

Sluggish economic growth in Michigan is weighing on the minds of local corporate executives, although its impact on their businesses varies.

For John Busch, president of Busch's Markets, the grocery store chain, the state's economy looks murky in 2008.

"It's probably a very flat (market) to even down a little bit," Busch said.

Brian Wenzel, CEO of Brighton-based consulting and engineering firm Atwell-Hicks, said stimulating job growth is critical to revitalizing the economy.

"I think fundamentally, the biggest challenge facing Michigan today is job growth," Wenzel said. "Put everything else aside for the minute. Job growth in its heart of hearts is the most critical thing we can do because it drives activity. It creates demand. It creates the need for population. It creates the need for people to look here and to be willing to make investments and do those kinds of things."

For companies like Ann Arbor-based real estate firm McKinley Inc., a sluggish economy can mean opportunity. McKinley experienced considerable growth opportunities as the residential market softened in 2007.

The largest apartment company in Washtenaw County was able to attract back many of the tenants who had left its properties to buy homes, and increased its institutional work on Wall Street.

The weakened market also allows McKinley to acquire new properties at better prices, spurring additional growth.

"We can expand in down markets more than we can in up markets," said Albert Berriz, CEO of McKinley.

He said his company expects to expand in Virginia, Florida, the Carolinas and Georgia, and said it's critical Michigan remakes its economic structure to become more competitive with other states. "We've have seen significant grown in our Eastern Seaboard states," he said.

The Michigan economy, meanwhile, didn't keep Con-way Freight Inc. from deciding to locate its consolidated headquarters in Ann Arbor Township.

The company considered establishing its corporate headquarters somewhere outside of the Ann Arbor region after parent firm Con-way Inc. combined three of its subsidiaries into one in summer 2006.

But the talented pool of "knowledge workers" available in the Ann Arbor area kept the company - which already had an operation here, Con-way Freight Central - in the area.

The $3 billion firm, which has about 21,000 employees throughout North America, is consolidating its operations at the Earhart Corporate Center in Ann Arbor Township - where it will occupy 120,000 square feet of space. The company is also adding 120 workers to its operation here.

The trucking services company has 440 service centers throughout North America, so the success of its business isn't directly tied to the Michigan economy.

In fact, national economic statistics are a better indication of how the company's business will perform, said Con-way Freight President John Labrie.

"Our business is very leveraged to GDP. As GDP and the U.S. goes, typically our company goes as well," Labrie said. "The outlook for 2008 is obviously somewhat gloomy depending on the economic forecast that you look at. But we are expecting ... that we will make it a good year."

Broader economic issues hit home

In a sense, the rest of the country has been insulated from Michigan's economic troubles. The state's shrinking manufacturing sector is reflective of a national trend, but it hasn't levied a sizable impact on the national unemployment rate, for example.

But Michigan is not insulated from trends throughout the rest of the country.

Increasing pressures in various commodities and the declining housing market have added to the worries of local companies.

Brandon said Domino's expects its growth in 2008 to come from its international markets, including Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, France and South Korea.

Domestically, the company is forced to deal with major increases in the price of cheese - which represents 35 percent to 40 percent of the cost of a pizza - and other food. The prices of cheese, tomatoes and meat toppings are at or near 10-year highs, he said, while "wheat prices have fundamentally tripled in the last year to 18 months."

"Just about every commodity that we buy in large quantities is having a detrimental impact on our business," Brandon said.

The price of food has been driven up by various factors - including the nation's increasing focus on the development of corn-based ethanol.

Busch said the economic indicator he watches most is the "Food at Home Index." But in general, he said utility costs and the rising price of health-care insurance have a significant impact on his business, as well.

"You've got runaway utility costs. Medical costs continue to spiral. They're nothing new," Busch said.

John J. Edwards, CEO of Ann Arbor-based book manufacturer Edwards Brothers, closely watches the fluctuating cost of paper.

Edwards said his company experienced a 5 percent increase in revenue in its 2007 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. But the number of books the company manufactured increased by 10 percent.

"In 2007 we were very busy, but we're feeling intense price pressure, so while the top line was up, the bottom line wasn't improved at all," he said. "So we're doing more for no more money."

Con-way Freight's revenue is tightly connected to the price of oil. The spike in diesel fuel prices has caused the company to adjust the "governor" speed of its trucks from 65 miles per hour to 62 mph. That saves 116,000 gallons per month, which equals savings of about $350,000, officials said.

Increasing material costs have presented challenges to these companies - while the struggles in the housing industry have had an uneven effect.

Atwell-Hicks expected the downturn in the housing industry, Wenzel said. But the shift in the housing market has altered the composition of the firm's business anyway.

"We're certainly doing less residential work today than what we were doing last year. And we expect we will do less next year than we did this year," Wenzel said. "From a learning experience, and a position experience, I think the company did a great job in terms of understanding where it was going, making some of the changes it had to do."

Brandon suggested consumer confidence has weakened because of the decline in housing prices.

"I think as people understand that the value of their home is going down, people [are feeling] the pressure of having mortgaged their home to a certain expected market value and finding out that the value has been sent below the cost of the mortgage," Brandon said. "I think that creates a lack of confidence."

For McKinley, the downturn in the housing industry has meant opportunity.

Berriz said rising material costs haven't had a major impact on his business, but the struggling housing industry has provided windows of opportunity.

"In the subprime mortgage environment, there were a lot of McKinley residential tenants who were lured away to go buy homes. Now when we see the black-and-white of what's really happened in the credit markets, a lot of those renters should've never become homeowners," Berriz said. "And now a lot of those people have come back to us as renters again."

Taxes loom large

A few of the executives said the cost of doing business in Michigan remains an issue.

Brandon, Edwards and Labrie said the tax climate in Michigan presents a challenge for their companies.

In 2006, Michigan's single business tax expired, but it was replaced by the Michigan Business Tax - which lawmakers said encouraged entrepreneurialism and economic growth.

But Edwards, whose company has a plant in North Carolina, said the differences between Michigan and North Carolina are hard to miss. This year Edwards Brothers received a tax abatement from the city of Ann Arbor for capital investment of more than $2 million.

But Michigan is still an expensive place to do business, Edwards said.

"We have operations in North Carolina, so I can compare tax rates, and the cost of doing business is significantly higher here," Edwards said.

Berriz said Michigan needs to improve its efforts to attract companies.

"I think for us as a state, we're certainly operating (against) very pro-business, pro-job growth, pro-capital states that are courting our investment very heavily," he said. "As a state we need to organize ourselves to be as aggressive in the courting of those kinds of businesses that I see in many other states as well."

Talent for a turnaround

Despite challenges, local executives said the talented pool of workers available in the Ann Arbor region remains a strong point.

In 2007, local companies announced that they would make investments over the next several years of $100 million, which would eventually create 2,248 jobs in this region, according to data from Ann Arbor SPARK.

Berriz said McKinley is growing so quickly that it is forced to develop "great leaders."

The $1.8 billion Ann Arbor-based company is focusing on strengthening itself internally, spending several million on training and leadership development.

"Our business continues to grow at a rate that creating a leadership machine within McKinley is a high priority for us," Berriz said.

Con-way, meanwhile, is adding 120 workers to its Ann Arbor operation. The firm says it is looking for knowledge workers.

"We're competing for all sorts of talent, and that's one of the reasons we selected Ann Arbor as the place to locate," Labrie said. "We need people with strong analytics backgrounds, finance backgrounds and really, problem-solving capabilities."

For Atwell-Hicks, developing strong leaders is a priority. The company has added about 100 people this year - mostly in other markets. It has positioned itself for growth with new offices in the Southwest, Nashville and South Korea.

"The best thing that we can do for the organization, which is also the hardest thing, is to go get the very best people in the company. Get them to a point where they can grow as fast as they can and as fast as they need to be able to capitalize on the opportunities that are created here," Wenzel said.

Contact Nathan Bomey at (734) 302-1725 and Greg Migliore at (734) 302-1721.

More about the CEOs

Albert Berriz
CEO, McKinley Inc. HQ: Ann Arbor 2007 revenue: $167.1 million Employees: 717 Properties: Manages 23,975,548 square feet

What one policy in Michigan would you change if you could?
I think for us as a state, we're certainly operating (against) very pro-business, pro-job growth, pro-capital states that are courting our investment very heavily. As a state we need to organize ourselves to be as aggressive in the courting of those kinds of businesses that I see in many other states as well.

What priorities are at the top of your plan of action for growth?
I think it's opportunistic expansion in pro-growth environments. And secondly, it's expansion of our workout business as these opportunities become available, and those are really across our 10-state platform.

John Busch

Busch's Markets
HQ: Ann Arbor
2007 revenue: Privately-held
Employees: 1,500
Stores: 14

What is your outlook for 2008?
The areas where we continue to grow ... in Ann Arbor, we have some new competition, another Whole Foods and a Plum Market coming to town.

What workplace issue is affecting your company the most?
Operating costs of the business. You've got runaway utility costs; medical costs continue to spiral. They're nothing new.

What is your forecast for Michigan's economy in 2008?
It's probably a very flat (market) to even down a little bit.

John Labrie

Con-way Freight Inc.
HQ: Ann Arbor
2007 revenue:
$3 billion
Employees: 21,000
Locations: About 440 service centers

What one policy in Michigan would you change if you could?
I think certainly that anything the state can do to make it more advantageous for companies to locate here from a tax point would be a beneficial.

What is your most-watched economic indicator?
We're very leveraged to real GDP, so if you look at GDP forecasts, they're a pretty good predictor of what our company is going to face.

David Brandon

CEO, Domino's Pizza LLC
HQ: Ann Arbor
2007 revenue: About $1.45 billion
Employees: 13,300 full-time
Locations: More than 8,300 worldwide

Summarize 2007 for your company. What is your outlook for 2008?
Our international business has been terrific for 2007. The domestic business hasn't been terrific. And I would expect that trend to continue in 2008.

What one policy in Michigan would you change if you could?
I would lower taxes.

How much do rising material costs impact your business?
Just about every commodity that we buy in large quantities is having a detrimental impact on our business.

John Edwards

CEO, Edwards Brothers
HQ: Ann Arbor
2007 revenue: $80 million
Employees: 700
Locations: Two plants, five satellite facilities

What one policy in Michigan would you change if you could?
Well the taxes are high. We have operations in North Carolina, so I can compare tax rates, and the cost of doing business is significantly higher here.

What impact have the housing woes had on your business?
If somebody is struggling to pay their mortgage, they're not going to buy a book. But you also can say, if someone can't go out to dinner and movies, they might just stay home and read a book. I don't really know.

Brian Wenzel

CEO, Atwell-Hicks
HQ: Brighton
2007 revenue: $65 million
Employees: 500
Locations: 15

What is your most-watched economic indicator?
Ultimately ... they all revolve around the investment in real estate.

What priorities are at the top of your plan of action for growth?
First and foremost we have to make sure we're making the right amount of investments at the right level at the right time.

What impact have the housing
woes had on your business?
We're certainly doing less residential work today than what we were doing last year. And we expect will do less next year than we did this year.

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January 7, 2008

Source:Tom Gantert | The Ann Arbor News

Date Posted: January 08, 2008 07:34AM

Related coverage:
Will Bar Louie serve as the new Midtown's magnet?
Downtown Ann Arbor hotel plans revealed
McKinley plans Town Centre expansion

The Ann Arbor News

With concerns about a downtown alley resolved, the Ann Arbor City Council cleared the way Monday for McKinley to continue its revitalization of the Liberty and Division streets corridor in the city's midtown area.

The council unanimously voted to approve a rezoning of a 1.15-acre site at 515 E. Liberty St. where McKinley wants to tear down a vacant one-story building that used to hold National City Bank and replace it with a two-story building. The council also approved the site plan and development agreement.

McKinley proposes to put retail all along Liberty Street from its McKinley Towne Centre eastward to the Michigan Theater. Some business owners on Monday said that was key to attracting customers to an area that has historically been a dead zone between the more popular State and Main streets.

The one holdup was the alley that goes from Washington Street to Liberty Street and runs along the west side of the Liberty Square. McKinley CEO Albert Berriz said it was co-owned by the city and McKinley. When the Planning Commission approved the project, McKinley had narrowed that alley way to 10-feet.

But Berriz told the council when he heard there was some community objection to it, he changed it back to its original 26 feet "in one minute."

"We are going to make a huge investment on this block," Berriz said. "We have been thoughtful. We have been very responsive."

Berriz said that he envisions having tables out there and people eating along the alley and the plan is to "make that space quiet usable."

Some residents spoke during the meeting of creating an alley like the Nickels Arcade, the popular glass-topped, atrium walkway between Maynard and State streets that is lined with businesses.

Council Member Chris Easthope, D-5th Ward, said that isn't in the plans for now, but the project was important.

"It is another huge step in revitalizing that area," said Easthope.

Mayor John Hieftje said he wanted that alley kept open.

"I think it (project) will be a very fine addition to our downtown," Hieftje said.

McKinley has aspirations to create a vital, thriving environment along Liberty Street, similar to Main Street. It bought the former TCF Bank building and transformed it into the McKinley Towne Centre, bringing in Google AdWords, the Bar Louie restaurant and other businesses.

Also in the vicinity of the Towne Centre is the planned Ann Arbor Hotel and 4 Eleven Lofts.

Tom Gantert can be reached at or 734-994-6701.

Note: This story has been adapted from material provided by from the Ann Arbor News.

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January 7, 2008

January 8, 2008

Contact: Mary S. Williams

734-769-8520 ext. 244

For Immediate Release

McKinley is pleased to announce the appointment of Greg Signer, CPM as Senior Vice President, Operations, Residential Real Estate. Mr. Signer joins McKinley following more than fifteen years of experience in residential real estate most recently, as Vice President with The Morgan Group.

We are very excited about the addition of Greg to the McKinley team, states Kenneth P. Polsinelli, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Residential Real Estate. In addition to his years of experience in the industry, Gregs strengths include a passion for quality operations and a focus on developing people. With our continued growth and expansion across our 10 state platform, Greg will provide the expertise and leverage needed to maintain our excellent performance.

During his career, Greg has been focused on training and development of his team as well as standardizing operations, implementing significant cost saving measures and improving quality throughout the organization. He has held numerous positions in regional property management and operations with several major residential real estate organizations including Archstone-Smith and Trammell Crow/Gables. He has a consistent track record of success at every assignment throughout his career.

Greg is a graduate of Florida State University in Tallahassee. He holds a Certified Property Manager designation and serves on the Board of the Florida State University Housing Program. He is also an active member with the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando. In his new role with McKinley, Mr. Signer will have oversight and responsibility for operations in the residential real estate portfolio with operations in 10 states.

McKinley, founded in 1968, is a well respected national real estate investment firm that owns and operates $1.8 billion in assets in 103 properties for its own account and for select clientele. This includes 17,248 apartments and more than 5 million square feet of commercial space located in 10 states. Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Albert M. Berriz serves as Chief Executive Officer with 717 full-time employees nationwide.


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