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SKOKIE, IL-The Alter Group, headquartered here, is launching a new division called Enterprise Solutions to focus on build to suit projects and other services, geared to help small and medium-sized businesses own their own buildings. Matthew Ward, senior vice president of the Alter Group, will head the new division. Brian Farquhar has been hired to spearhead the new group.

Enterprise Solutions will offer companies a variety of services including site selection, design and construction, the company says. The division can either help select a site or develop a building on a site the business owns or has selected. The division will offer management services and can assist the business with selling the building in the future, Ward says. The division can additionally assist the business with having a family trust own the building and lease it back to the company or establishing a limited liability corporation which would lease the property to the business. “It is a market that is not being served here in Chicago at all. We thought that we could bring kind of a one-stop, turn-key solution to these local entrepreneurs,” Ward says. Businesses can then choose what services they would like to use, he says.

Alter owns their own building, Ward says, and the company believes there are benefits and savings that could make ownership preferential and more cost-effective than leasing space in a building. Benefits to owning the building include having signage on the building and a dedicated entrance and lobby, as well as more control over expenses such as taxes and utilities and being better able to recruit and retain workers, Ward says. Businesses will have to decide if it is more cost-effective to own the property, taking into account taxes, operating expenses, depreciation and maintenance to the building, he says.

Ward says one good example of how the program will work was the deal with Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service Inc., which hired the Alter to develop its new corporate headquarters, a four-story, 100,000-sf building in Elmhurst. Superior used similar services to what Enterprise Solutions will offer and was kind of an impetus for starting the division, Ward says. The new division will enable the Alter Group to better serve small to medium sized businesses, like Superior, and will allow the firm to have the resources required to continue to also develop larger projects, he says.

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