@properties expands into Michigan, Indiana

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@properties’ new real estate office in New Buffalo, Mic., serving southwest Michigan and northwest Indiana, is already staffed with five brokers, and the company plans to add another 12 by summer. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

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@properties will serve vacation home markets in Southwest Michigan and Northwest Indiana with new Harbor Country real estate office.

The Chicago-based real estate company expanded with the opening of @properties’ Harbor Country in New Buffalo, Mich. The company purchased a new, 1,100-square-foot storefront retail space at 225 N. Whittaker St., part of the mixed-use BridgeWater Place development.

The office opened late last month, staffed by five brokers, all of whom came over from the Michigan office of Chicago-based Prudential Rubloff. The brokers include top producer Gail Lowrie, Debbie Jacobson, Will Schauble, Mario Zarantenello and Ron Zarantenello. The firm also hired Candy Freehling, another Prudential Rubloff alumna, as office manager. @properties plans to add another dozen brokers to the office by the start of summer according to company co-founders Thaddeus Wong and Michael Golden.

Wong and Golden said the move comes at a time when the housing market and economy are improving and @properties’ affluent client base in the city and North Shore are once again contemplating second-home purchases.

@properties is the largest residential broker in the city of Chicago by transactions and sales volume, and the second largest and fastest growing brokerage firm on the North Shore.

“Harbor Country is a natural progression for @properties,” said Golden. “A dozen years ago we started out by selling condominiums in downtown Chicago. Those clients eventually led us into the luxury market in the city and on the North Shore. And now they’re leading us into the second home market.”

Wong expects a healthy referral market to develop among @properties’ city, North Shore and Harbor Country offices.

“Our market share means we have access to a huge network of potential vacation-home buyers. We think we’ll be able to add value for Harbor Country sellers and bring some more fluidity to this market simply by engaging our existing client base,” said Wong.

According to Lowrie, @properties’ timing is good.

“The cottage market is starting to pick up again. Excess inventory has been cleared out, and prices have bottomed. It’s similar to what’s happening on the other side of the lake,” she said.

@properties Harbor Country has already landed its first assignment. First Bank of Illinois, which took over BridgeWater Place after the original developer defaulted, and sold @properties the retail space for its office, has hired the firm to sell the 11 remaining residential condominiums and 2 remaining commercial condominiums in the 47-unit development.

The residential units include 10 two-bedroom, two-bath floor plans and one three-bedroom, two-bath plan. The condos come with attached or detached garages. The project is located adjacent to the New Buffalo Amtrak station with trains running service to downtown Chicago.

“You hop on the train in Chicago, and in less than two hours you’re relaxing in a condominium on the Michigan shore. It’s pretty ideal,” said Wong.

Established in 2000, @properties is the top residential brokerage firm in the city of Chicago by market share, the fastest growing brokerage firm on Chicago’s North Shore, and one of the top 25 residential brokers in the U.S. @properties has offices in River North, Streeterville, Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Lakeview, Evanston, Winnetka, Lake Forest and Highland Park.

For more information, visit www.atproperties.com.