Alliance Residential has opened a new office in Chicago, marking the Phoenix-based firm’s entrance into the Midwest.

The company, which focuses mainly on Southern markets, said its foothold in the Midwest was driven by client requests for property management services in the Windy City.

“Several of our existing clients, institutional, and private owners are looking to move into the area,” says Glenn Rand, Alliance’s senior vice president of the region. “We’re willing to take this leap because we know that business is going to come our way.”

Rand, who came to Alliance earlier this year from the Milestone Group, will lead the Chicago office. And he’s no stranger to building up management portfolios from scratch. Prior to serving as acquisitions officer at Milestone, Rand founded Archstone Management Services, the third-party management arm of Archstone, and eventually managed the division’s sale to Gables Residential, for $6.5 million.

The Chicago office is currently staffed by just Rand and regional manager Julie Stewart, but the company said it would ramp up depending on how much business comes its way.

While the company says it’s starting from scratch, the word on the street is that Alliance is in negotiations with a financial institution to take on the management of REO assets in the Chicago market.

This is the second new office the firm has opened this year. Alliance opened an office in Orlando, Fla., coinciding with the opening of the company’s Jacksonville Beach House, a 228-unit community that came online in May. The company is also working to build up its presence in the Mid-Atlantic area.