Staples Lease Fills NorthPoint Spec

With a 400,000 square foot building fully leased and pads for two additional buildings under construction, NorthPoint Development sees a bright future for its newest business park in Kansas City.

Staples will lease 260,000 square feet in NorthPoint’s first speculative industrial building in Northland Park, filling most of a building that already had lease agreements with Ford supplier Delaco Steel Corp. and Pathfinder Systems Inc., a local manufacturer. Now undergoing vertical construction, it is the first of three buildings comprising phase 1 of the 240-acre business park off of MO-210.

"We think the bones of the site are really good,” said Brent Miles, NorthPoint vice president of economic development. "It was a little surprising to us that it hadn't developed faster before our involvement.”

Northland Park is finding success in an area with plenty of land, an intermodal facility and access to the nearby Ford Claycomo plant. When fully developed, the industrial park will include more than 4 million square feet of business space and is expected to employ up to 2,000 workers.

Northland Park is among several large business parks under development throughout the Kansas City region, a commercial real estate trend driven largely by consumers shifting to online shopping. Retailers like Amazon and Staples are increasingly choosing the center of the country for new, sprawling warehouse and distribution centers that can efficiently deliver products to consumers.

"You see a lot of e-commerce in Kansas City because you can get to 85 percent of the U.S. population in a two-day truck drive," said Joe Accurso, senior director at Cushman & Wakefield, the leasing firm for NorthPoint. "To have shovel-ready land that's with an excellent development group that can put together up to 4 million square feet of product within the I-435 loop is pretty special.”

With successful projects at Logistics Park Kansas City in Edgerton, Kan., and Central Industrial Park in Kansas City, Kan.’s Fairfax district, NorthPoint is among the region's most successful big box industrial developers. With the expertise of 15 engineers available to help overcome problems with tenant improvement, the developer prides itself on its ability to create spaces that fill customer needs in a timely manner.

"We have a good flow of capital, which means we can always have a spec development working -- we've always got product," Miles said. "You can't lease a building anymore unless they see something coming out of the ground."

New $60 Million Village South Development Breaks Ground in Edwardsville

Construction is underway at the 32-acre Village South Development in Edwardsville, Kan., a mixed-use project that will include a Holiday Inn and a LaQuinta hotel with a total of 181 rooms, plus 22,000 square feet of conference space and a 17,000-square-foot restaurant.

Emery Sapp & Sons is building infrastructure for the first phase of the project, and Lane 4 Property Group is assisting developer Minnesota-based Compass Commodity Group III with construction management.

“We are excited about building the infrastructure to support this project and the economic development potential it brings to Edwardsville and Wyandotte County,” said Tim Paulson, vice president of Emery Sapp & Sons. ESS will handle all excavation, storm water and sanitary sewer installation, curb and gutter work, as well as street lighting, signage, and landscape.

Located on the southeast corner of 110th Street and I-70, just south of Village West, Village South will have six additional pad sites available, which should enhance development in the area, according to Lane 4 Partner Hunter Harris.

"(Lack of) infrastructure has been the main reason development hasn’t occurred more quickly," Harris said. “Working with Emery Sapp & Sons to complete this process will allow companies to take advantage of these ‘pad-ready’ sites.”

The City of Edwardsville sees a significant economic boost resulting from the project, with projected visitor spending of more than $8 million a year, according to Edwardsville City Manager Michael Webb.

“The potential for more job opportunities for residents and home sales in our area is very welcome,” Webb said.

An official groundbreaking ceremony took place March 22. Additional members of the development team include: BHC Rhodes, development plan services and project engineer; Lamont Companies, hospitality developer; Base4 Architects and Engineers, design partner; and Polsinelli PC, legal counsel.

Industry Insight: GBA brings UAS to new CRE heights

The unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry suffers from an identity crisis. The term drone and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) often are used interchangeably. As the technology matures, however, it is more accurate to consider the integration of the pilot, controls, vehicle, sensors and the processing of the data as a system.  As a pioneer in this technology, GBA is utilizing an innovative approach for the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Beyond dull, dirty or dangerous

Peter W. Singer characterized UAS as appropriate for dull, dirty or dangerous missions. From an engineering standpoint, a UAS fulfills those purposes and more as they become part of the tool set in engineering.

In August of 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration introduced rules to acquire a remote pilot certification for commercial operations. Soon after, GBA conducted training for employees interested in operating Unmanned Aerial Systems to enhance their technical abilities on projects. The training focused on safe operations and guidance to follow FAA regulations. All participants passed the test and obtained certifications to operate UAVs. An intensive hands-on flight instruction program is now being conducted on a regular basis to GBA employees and others who plan to seek certification to fly UASs.

GBA has been providing innovative engineering and architectural solutions since 1969. GBA serves several market sectors including transportation, water environment, buildings, site development, commissioning, systems integration and construction management. When it comes to UAS use in engineering, the future is already here.    

Line of Sight Project

Sara Peters, P.E., a civil engineer, working on a line of sight project was the first of our certified employees to engineer/remote pilot a UAS in the field following our training. A line of sight study normally requires the coordination of bucket trucks and tower climbers. By deploying the UAS it significantly reduced risk and added value to the process.

“We shortened the field investigation time by half and were able to report our findings in a more direct, clear manner supported by pictures and video. As a remote pilot, I not only have a full understanding of the technology and regulations, but I can deliver a rapid response to our clients," Peters said. 

Bridge Deck Delamination

Sean Baxter, E.I.T. /remote pilot, is part of the bridge inspection team. In his role, he is looking for deck delamination, which occurs when the surface concrete begins to separate from the base structure. The typical method for detecting delamination is chain dragging. The chain creates a hollow sound where delamination exists. Repairing delamination early saves money, but shutting down a roadway lane for inspectors to conduct chain dragging slows traffic and creates a safety issue for workers.

A UAS with an infrared sensor can spot delamination from the air. The aerial images can be downloaded into AutoCAD or MicroStation to produce “to-scale” repair plans. The UAS output allows for precise drawings to be produced.

“I don’t have to stand in traffic putting myself and drivers in danger. Traffic continues to flow and the results are easy to explain to our clients,” Baxter said. 

Land Surveys for Real Estate

Justin Oakley, survey crew chief/remote pilot, conducts land surveys and facility mapping. This is a time-consuming process that often includes methodical tasks, like counting parking spaces or measuring distances and angles between designated points.

To support a real estate transaction for a large shopping center in Independence, Mo., an ALTA survey was needed quickly to meet a tight closing schedule. The size of the site and amount of detailed field information required made it challenging for a traditional field crew to complete the survey on time.

Using the high quality camera to shoot overlapping images, GBA’s UAS team captured the field data and then used UAS software to complete a high-resolution, highly accurate ALTA survey.

Combining its UAS technology with office staff expertise, GBA produced a survey that contained more accurate, more complete information along with a high resolution low altitude aerial image, completed within the compressed schedule.

UAS is fully integrated into GBA’s overall practice. The firm regularly tests UAS technology side-by-side with the standard methodology to determine new applications that might create efficiencies and deliver superior results. GBA will remain at the forefront of the industry, continuing to explore new ways to use UASs while delivering access to ever-more-innovative possibilities to our clients.

GBA has been providing innovative engineering and architectural solutions since 1969, serving several market sectors including transportation, water environment, buildings, site development, commissioning, systems integration and construction management. 

United Excel returns to private sector work, beefs up KC presence

Since 1994, United Excel’s bread and butter has been in the health care market, building 130 projects for the University of Kansas Medical Center and dozens more for Shawnee Mission Medical Center. But about 8 years ago, the recession forced the company to branch out into design-build government health care projects.

United Excel is the only family of companies in the U.S. that incorporates design and construction-- as well as furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E)-- into its wheelhouse. That differentiation has paid off for the Kansas City-based general contractor, which currently rakes in roughly $130 million a year in government contracts alone, with projects lined up from New York to Hawaii.

But while steady and lucrative, government design-build is among the most difficult construction work a company can undertake, according to United Excel President Kevin Rogers. The government itself is a demanding client, and adding layers of oversight and input from various agencies makes for a grueling process.

“Doing work for KU Med or Shawnee Mission Medical Center is hard enough, and when you add in the Army Corps of Engineers and the Air Force on top of that, it’s very difficult.” Rogers said. “Plus when you’re working in a city where none of the contractors know you, it can get pretty tough, but the challenges have helped us create a team of amazing builders. They don’t even know how good they are.”

With architects in St. Louis under United Excel Design, most of the FF&E team in Denver, and the general contracting team in Kansas City, United Excel prides itself on taking a 3,000-page RFP and turning it into a project within 45 days.

“When we submit our proposals, they’re masterpieces,” Rogers said. “We don’t win every time, because the price isn’t always right, but it always comes back that our proposal is the best. We’ve become experts at understanding the government’s needs and submitting proposals, but it takes a lot of time.”

After two years as president, Rogers has observed a team approaching burnout. To reward all the hard work and success, he’s leading United Excel's charge back into private development. It’s a ripe market, and leadership believes the firm's highly capable and talented team will continue United Excel's winning streak as it expands into new strategic areas with significant potential. For example, Rogers believes United Excel's established health care design experience will set the stage for expansion into the assisted living sector.

United Excel is in the process of hiring a new business development professional to chase new business, ideally a Kansas City industry veteran with local and private sector experience who can complement Rogers’ background in government health care. Once that critical leadership piece is in place, United Excel will open a new Kansas City office—preferably in the Crossroads Arts District—later this year. 

“We don’t want to just do local work; we want to be part of Kansas City again,” Rogers said.

United Excel’s office at 5425 Antioch Dr. in Merriam, Kan. is listed for sale by CBRE.

Kevin Rogers, President of United Excel; and Jennifer Hansford, Vice President of Mill Creek

Kevin Rogers, President of United Excel; and Jennifer Hansford, Vice President of Mill Creek

Fogel-Anderson celebrates 100 years

The year 1917 was a big one for Kansas City. A cub reporter named Ernest Hemingway began working at The Kansas City Star, Rockhurst College opened its doors, and Martin Fogel- along with sons Paul and Lyle- officially launched and incorporated Fogel Construction Company.

In 2015, Jolynne Bartolotta, Roger Summers, Brad Kaestner and Greg Harrelson teamed up to purchase the closely held firm. Since then, Fogel-Anderson Construction has grown from 18 employees to 27 and is involved in high-profile projects including Price Brothers’ 300-acre BluHawk Development in south Overland Park and the Paragon Star Soccer Village in Lee’s Summit.

MetroWireMedia recently sat down with two of the company’s four owners-- Jolynne Bartolotta and Roger Summers-- to discuss the firm’s history, evolution and future.

MWM:  Share with us how Fogel-Anderson has grown and evolved as a successful family-owned business for 100 years?

Roger:  In 1923, Paul Fogel hired OT Anderson, a 16-yr-old baseball player from the local Shrine semi-pro team. OT helped build the firm for several decades and in 1953 his son, Ted, joined the firm.  That same year OT and Ted acquired the Fogels’ interest and thus Fogel-Anderson Construction Co. was born.

In 1974, Ted’s stepson Phil Bartolotta joined the firm, eventually becoming a partner and president in 1997. As Phil looked for a succession plan that would protect the people, preserve the Fogel-Anderson name, and secure a place for his daughter, a new partnership was formed to acquire the company.

Today’s ownership includes Jolynne Bartolotta, Roger Summers, Brad Kaestner and Greg Harrelson. Brad’s expertise is in project management and operations, while Greg’s is estimating and pre-construction.   

MWM: Tell us more about the importance of the family leadership dynamic at Fogel-Anderson and how that played into the firm’s succession plan.

Jolynne: It has always been a family-owned business, even though the families have changed. My roots go back to my great-grandfather, OT Anderson, who joined the company in 1923. Phil (my father) led us though some tough times while wearing many hats. As we moved toward a succession plan, I knew I wasn’t going to assume all of the leadership roles that Phil had, so we worked toward a team approach of complementary partners.  

That said, it was easier for my dad to give me away on my wedding day than it was for him to sell this company.  

MWM: How did Fogel-Anderson manage to weather the 2008 recession?

Jolynne: Construction management work got us through the recession. We started that around 2004-05, because Phil saw the coming downturn of retail. In 2008, we went from a staff of 33 down to 11.  We also lost my grandfather, Ted Anderson, along with two other key people.

Roger: Coming out of the recession, school construction slowed down, so we jumped back into the vertical markets the firm established in the past including grocery stores, retail, churches, K-12 projects, office, and hospitality. From a business standpoint, we’ve been opportunistic in going where the market has taken us.

MWM: What have been some of your challenges over the years --and more recently with the current ownership --and how have you overcome them?

Roger: We recognized a few challenges when we got here. One was: how do you take a 100-year-old company and rebrand it to appeal to young people in order to fuel future growth? Recognizing where we are and the story we have to tell, we undertook a deliberate rebranding/remarketing exercise to figure out how to tell that story.

Jolynne: Some individuals weren’t ready to embrace technology and procedural changes, and some of those individuals had been part of leadership before the acquisition. It’s one of those things where you lead by example. Once Brad came aboard, he and I worked together to begin that effort. IPads started flying out the door. Training started happening. For a company that at one point in time had been ahead of its time in technology, we had fallen behind the times. But with the new ownership, Brad and his drive to bring that tech to the table really helped.

MWW: What is Fogel-Anderson’s approach to handling workforce challenges?

At one point, we had an aging workforce, but as we’ve grown we have brought in some Millennials and Gen X’ers. One of the fears (pre-2015) was, you bring in these Millennials, what will it do to the workforce? What we’ve found is that they’re working together. There’s a Baby Boomer working back there that knows it all; he’s been through it, and you can’t teach him new tricks. But you bring in this Millennial and put them side by side, and you see them learning from one another. You see that cross-mentorship and it’s been a real morale booster to watch everyone work together as a team rather than one-on-one.

MWM: Tell us about some of your current projects.

Roger: Probably the biggest project going on right now is the first phase of the BluHawk Development by Price Brothers in south Overland Park. It’s a 300-acre development; we’re doing the first phase of retail and a new grocery store right now.  

The Paragon Star Soccer Village complex will be big and exciting for Lee’s Summit. We have an ongoing relationship with the Grain Valley School District. We’re about to build another branch for Frontier Justice, the Lee’s Summit indoor shooting range, in KCK at The Legends.

MWM: What is on the horizon for Fogel-Anderson?

Roger: We take a long-term approach to what the company will be. We have a mindset that Fogel-Anderson will be a contractor in Kansas City long after we’ve passed it on to the next generation.

The way this opportunity came together, and really Phil’s role in structuring this so it could happen with the four of us, is very unique. It was a great opportunity that just doesn’t come around everyday.

Jolynne: The fact that we found the right fit for a leadership team and put together a structure that allowed me to be that fourth generation of ownership-- it’s quite amazing. I’m grateful to my dad for that. He could have sold out, he could have closed up shop, but he didn't because of what this company meant to him. And quite honestly, what it meant for my future. That was important to him as well.