Vertical construction moves forward on Belton Gateway Phase Two

Infrastructure, pad site preparation and road reconstruction for the $63 million Phase Two of Belton Gateway are underway, with the first restaurant scheduled to open later this year and five new retailers on target to open in early 2018.

The future home of Kneaders Bakery is under construction at Christie Development Associates LLC's 47-acre, $136 million retail center just west of I-49 along Y Highway, and crews are preparing pad sites for Ross Dress for Less, MarshallsParty City, Petco, and Five Below.

“Belton Gateway is quickly becoming Cass County’s premier retail destination, thanks to its location just west of I-49 and Y Highway,” said Belton Community and Economic Development Director Jay Leipzig. “We are seeing a tremendous amount of activity in this corridor, which offers retailers great visibility and convenient highway access due to a new interchange.”

Relocation of Turner Road is on target for completion in the third quarter of 2017 and will improve traffic flow from Y Highway/163rd Street to Belton's North Scott Redevelopment Corridor. 

Developed by Christie Development, Belton Gateway’s two phases include more than 182,000 square feet of developable space adjacent to the recently constructed I-49/Y Highway interchange that carries an estimated 85,000 vehicles daily.

The project’s $70 million Phase One developed in conjunction with Block & Company, Inc. included a 58,000 square foot Academy Sports and Outdoors store, 55,000 square foot Hobby Lobby, and two multiple-tenant retail buildings that are home to Belton Family Dental Care, Fazoli’s, and Cricket Wireless. The project's master plan includes construction of a 20,000 square foot hotel.

SubTropolis emerges as leading logistics location for animal health industry

Hunt Midwest SubTropolis is carving out a niche in the animal health logistics space, growing its veterinary industry footprint to 250,000 square feet. Over the past 12 months, three animal health companies - French veterinary pharmaceutical company Virbac, Ceva Animal Health, and IodiTech - have announced new or expanded warehouse and distribution operations in SubTropolis, which offers commissioned facilities in a naturally cool underground environment.

“SubTropolis is the total package for animal health companies and their unique requirements for product safety and climate control, providing significant operational cost efficiencies,” said Hunt Midwest President and CEO Ora Reynolds.

Virbac is currently consolidating its North American product warehousing and distribution operations in the underground business complex. According to Virbac President and CEO Paul R. Hays, the SubTropolis location will help the 8th largest veterinary pharmaceutical company better align itself within the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, which churns out more than half of the sales generated by the global animal health industry.

“By bringing processes and people together at this Kansas City facility, we are boosting collaboration and efficiency within our manufacturing operations," Hays said. 

In addition, Ceva Animal Health and IodiTech Inc. both announced expansions in the Energy Star rated facility over the past year. Hunt Midwest Vice President Mike Bell attributes SubTropolis' success in the animal health space to a "compelling value proposition" for companies that must adhere to industry product standards by maintaining strict temperature and humidity levels.

“The underground’s protective layer of limestone essentially offers ‘natural’ cooling that saves companies between 70 and 80 percent on utilities and equipment compared to a building on the surface,” Bell said. “There’s an ‘Aha Moment’ when companies fully realize how a SubTropolis location can substantially improve their bottom line.”

Ceva Animal Health is a case in point. CEO Craig Wallace says that consistent conditions and the ability to easily expand underground were two key reasons Ceva chose SubTropolis for a new North American warehouse and distribution center in 2015. Within a year, Ceva had outgrown its space and was able to quickly scale up to meet ongoing demand. 

“The underground location is a great solution for Ceva’s current and future warehousing needs,” Wallace said. “As we add products and expand into new categories, we require scalable space and partners like Hunt Midwest who can accommodate our growth and evolve with us.”

Kansas City-based IodiTech Inc. opened a distribution operation in SubTropolis in 2016. The company manufactures and ships a variety of iodine derivatives – including animal feed minerals – throughout North America and the world.

“The ability to ship to up to 85 percent of the U.S. within two days was of critical importance,” IodiTech President Curtis Thomas said. “Our location in SubTropolis is the perfect complement to our nearby manufacturing facility.”

The growing collection of animal health assets within SubTropolis is creating an “industry cluster within a cluster” for Kansas City’s Animal Health Corridor, which will hold its annual Animal Health Investor Forum and Animal Health Homecoming Dinner August 28-29.

“Hunt Midwest SubTropolis is a valued strategic partner as we work on behalf of the Kansas City Area Development Council to attract global animal health companies to the Greater Kansas City region,” said Kimberly Young, president of the KC Animal Health Corridor.

Roll out the red carpet; New Urbanism project lands entertainment anchor

Construction officially began Wednesday on B&B Theatres New Longview 7, a boutique luxury cinema located in Lee's Summit's New Longview commercial district. The 'New Urbanism' project is being co-developed by Box Real Estate Development and Platform Ventures, both Kansas City-area based firms, and is yet another example of Lee's Summit's long list of recent exciting project announcements. 

"This has been three years in the making, which is often the case with mixed-use projects," said Developer Russ Pearson of Box Development. " 'New urbanism' design by nature produces more density, extends buildings to the street and offer limited parking, all in an effort to promote walkability and random interactions between people. We couldn't be more excited to have B&B Theatres anchor this project." 

The project took shape through collaboration of a design "charrette," an intensive planning session involving developers, designers, neighborhood leaders and civic stakeholders, according to Pearson. 

"This truly is a team effort and it's been a great process working with our design team that includes Hollis + Miller ArchitectsOlsson AssociatesConfluence and Henderson Engineers. The result is an exciting design and an amazing project," Pearson said.

The theaters will feature art deco design elements reminiscent of the early 1900's when Kansas City lumber baron R.A. Long was in his heyday, spearheading construction of Kansas City's World War I Memorial and building more than 60 structures at Longview Farms, the largest development project in the U.S. at the time. 

The 7-screen cinema will include more than 600 electric leather reclining chairs, reserve seating, a lounge and bar, as well as 30-foot-wide screens, and an outdoor seating experience that will include fireplaces and big screens. 

"We are looking forward to sharing the magic of the movies with Lee’s Summit early next year," B&B Theatres President Bob Bagby said. 

Several factors influenced B&B Theatres' decision to open in New Longview, including Cerner's new world headquarters in South Kansas City, residential and commercial development in Lee's Summit and the nearby location of Metropolitan Community College-Longview. 

The project adds momentum to Lee's Summit's flourishing west side along the View High Corridor, according to Lee's Summit Economic Development Council President Rick McDowell. 

"We call all of this new development along View High Drive our very own 'West Side Story' and are thrilled to see so much commercial and residential construction taking place between historic Longview Farms and extending north to I-470 with the Paragon Star Soccer Village. It is a very exciting time for Lee's Summit," McDowell said.

City of Lee's Summit Mayor Randall Rhoads said he looks forward to hearing movie themes played in the new theater, but the real music he loves "is the tractors you hear right now."

Developers are still seeking office, restaurant and retail tenants. Click here for more information. 

Rendering of B&B Theatres New Longview 7. 

Rendering of B&B Theatres New Longview 7. 

Corbion's new HQ project signals sweet success for Pine Ridge West Business Park

Food ingredient research company Corbion broke ground Wednesday on a new 58,000-square foot North American headquarters and advanced laboratory facility in Lenexa's Pine Ridge West Business Park, as the Dutch-owned company consolidates 200 employees into one regional operation. 

Developed by Block Real Estate Services, LLC, the building at Flint and 83rd streets will be located less than a mile from Corbion's existing Lenexa location at 79th and Quivira and will mark the completion of Pine Ridge West Business Park when it opens in August of 2018. 

“BRES is excited to be able to assist Corbion with their expansion at Pine Ridge Business Park,” said Kenneth G. Block, managing principal at BRES. “As a fellow industry leader, BRES admires Corbion’s commitment to quality and innovation because it reflects our own.”

Corbion's new facility will include research and application labs, a state-of-the-art bakery, as well as a new meat lab to support the company's growing role in the meat industry. The company formed in 2014 as a result of a merger between Caravan Ingredients and Purac and produces bio-based food ingredients-- such as enzymes for baked products and lactic acids-- to preserve consumer packaged beverages.

“Corbion’s tagline is ‘Keep Creating’ because we never stop looking for new and better ways to apply our technologies and experience to benefit our customers and the consumers who buy their products,” said Andy Muller, Corbion executive vice president.

“Each of us is a consumer, too, and we want that perspective to help shape everything we do. Combining that view with our technical expertise and our customers’ knowledge, we work side by side with them to create something better. It’s what we’re known for; it’s what we’re so good at. Our new facilities will support us in doing it even more.”

Rainen Companies' new senior living concept eyes '55 and better' niche

Liberty at Shoal Creek, a $25.8 million luxury senior rental housing development concept developed by Rainen Companies, recently opened in the Northland. Located on six acres at NE 82nd Terrace and Farley Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., the community is geared to active Baby Boomers and seniors. Longtime Kansas City developer Mike Rainen recently sat down with MetroWireMedia to share more about the project.

MWM: What inspired you to develop this lifestyle concept?

MR: We wanted to provide a business solution to the Baby Boomers that are historically a moving wave. It wasn’t a surprise that this age group and demographic is growing, but the anomaly was the fact that they are maybe seeking different housing solutions. In 2013, we saw there was an age bubble or wave coming through, and we wanted to ride the wave. So we teamed up with Carl Yaeger and Yaeger Architecture to bring this concept to reality.

MWM: Tell us more about the trends that informed your design decisions?

MR: We conducted years of research as to what this group would desire and need. We secured a trademark for the term ‘55 AND BETTER’ to clearly define our target market and then we worked to provide features that are specific to the needs, lifestyle and life stage of that market segment. The result is a product that meets requirements of seniors pretty much in lockstep, but then we’ve taken our own little twist on what we think this group wants. 

MWM: Describe what differentiates Liberty at Shoal Creek from other senior housing products on the market?

MR: Along with Yaeger Architecture, we have created amenity-rich community for active Boomers and seniors, with features such as a putting green, movie theater with luxury seating, outdoor living spaces, indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub, fitness center and business center, all of which are specific to the needs of that market segment. 

MWM: Clearly you’re expecting strong demand for amenity-rich senior housing geared to active lifestyles. How competitive is that market?

MR: People are excited about what we are doing. Most competitors in senior housing are changing up their product to respond to this active market, so our main competition is people choosing to stay in their existing homes. 

MWM: Are you planning to expand Liberty at Shoal Creek? What about additional locations?

MR: The property includes land for a planned second phase, which would add additional parking and 60 new units, for a total of 245 apartments. We are in the process of replicating the concept, both in the Kansas City area and outside the region. We have locations under contract, but we aren’t releasing details just yet.

Liberty at Shoal Creek is the seventh area development owned or co-owned by Michael Rainen, a native Kansas Citian, businessman and real estate developer.

Check out a slideshow of Liberty at Shoal Creek below or click here for additional photos.