Insight: KC CRE pros use tech tools to improve outcomes

By Erik Dolan-Del Vecchio | Content Contributor

On the way to becoming an investment sales broker at CBRE, Holly Mills was a commercial appraiser for over a decade, which explains a lot.

Mills’ analytical background is integral to her approach to commercial property sales and leasing. Clients say her data-driven insights inform and equip them to understand the benefits of different alternatives, be it for an investment property to purchase, a corporate location to occupy or a space to lease.

State-of-the-art technology helps Mills, a CBRE vice president, collect, sift, sort and track voluminous amounts of data and information. She uses the firm’s proprietary commercial real estate relationship management software to track spaces, tenants, properties, owners, buyers and milestone dates of opportunities coming up… “things I need to track to make me more productive,” she says.

Mills also makes frequent use of mapping tools to help clients visualize data points. She tells the story of helping a physical therapy medical practice plan an expansion involving as many as 10 locations in three years. Mapping tools with demographic information overlaying locations and radius maps helped her provide points of comparison for the client to determine the locations that would be accretive to their market.

Accessing Information from Anywhere on the Fly

Bob Galamba, senior vice president of Colliers in Kansas City, agrees that technology propels his business every day, accelerating transactions and reducing friction along the way.

Galamba’s focus primarily is multifamily, including existing assets and land with a multifamily component.

He and his team track people and prospects in Apto, the leading commercial real estate software for brokers, and use Smartsheet collaboration software to share information and facilitate communication so everyone’s on the same wavelength and has the benefit of the intelligence. Historical data on people, and shared documents such as letters of intent, can be accessed from anywhere on the fly.

For deal management with clients, Galamba uses Real Capital Market’s Deal Rooms, in which he can maintain property marketing pieces, confidentiality agreements, offering memorandums and more.

 “As a property remains on the market or a deal progresses, you’re still updating financials each month and rent rolls, and able to share that information with buyers who have expressed interest. It also provides a reason to reach out and contact prospects, and a seamless way to keep all the [transaction] information updated and together.”

Notably, Apto and Real Capital Markets are software integration partners, which facilitates information sharing and reduces redundant data entry between the two services.

Blockchain and Predictive Analytics are Game-Changers for Real Estate

Laird Goldsborough is no stranger to information and technology either. Information is the chief currency of his business, which is determining the value of real estate and advising clients on all manner of real estate and investment decisions as senior managing director of the regional office of Valbridge Property Advisors.

Goldsborough relies on a variety of technology tools and services, including demographic information from CCIM’s Site to do Business. He sees technology as helping to make real estate information more transparent and properties faster to transact.

Goldsborough describes blockchain technology, fast evolving, as a game-changer for real estate. He calls blockchain “distributed ledger technology” that allows all participants in the chain (versus one person) to have access to information. With blockchain, Goldsborough says, everyone owns the information, which removes opacity and thus risk.

If information on real estate assets becomes more transparent, not only will sales happen faster, but more buyers will become attracted to the asset class, which would expand the market for investors.

The commercial real estate sales cycle is too long, Goldsborough says. If you want to accelerate the sales cycle, unmask the information, which would speed up and standardize the process of trading assets, akin to trading Apple shares in the stock market.

The other technology Goldsborough sees as on the verge of benefitting real estate professionals is predictive analytics, a form of artificial intelligence. 

“You have a huge pool of data on real estate and sales and markets — a lake with minnows and trout and sharks. If we allow a machine to go out and fish out what we need, we could make better predictions based on historic data and cycles,” he says.

The result: “As an appraiser I’ll be able to give you a value today and look back and with a much higher degree of accuracy suggest what the building may be worth three years from now.”

Launch Development prepares for liftoff of new mixed-use at former Loehmann's site

Construction is wrapping up on the first phase of The Promontory, a $98 million, 291-unit residential-over-retail redevelopment at 91st and Metcalf in Overland ParkLaunch Development Inc., in partnership with Jim Harpool and Evergreen Real Estate Services, plans a grand opening this spring.

“One of the big differences between this and any other project we have is that all the residential parking is separate from the retail parking,” Harpool said. “The units are wrapped around three sides of the parking garage, and you can park on the level that you live. So you just walk in and you’re home.”

All the Promontory’s one- and two-bedroom units include high-end finishes, 12-foot ceilings, balconies, and walk-in showers. Common spaces include a clubhouse with demonstration kitchen/bar, multiple flat-screen TVs, ample gathering space, and workstations.

Outdoor living spaces include a swimming pool/deck area and courtyard/green gathering area connected by a breezeway, or “cave,” that can be closed off depending on the weather. The breezeway features a big-screen TV, bar and fireplace. The indoor mezzanine area is home to a yoga studio and fitness center with treadmills overlooking the pool deck.

Harpool, a longtime proponent of Metcalf Avenue redevelopment efforts to the north and south of 95th Street, said the Loehmann’s project was not without challenges. Overland Park stormwater retention requirements added $1.3 million to site prep costs.

“We had to create a 12- to 14-foot high detention basin beneath the parking lot. You can park 17 semis under there,” he added.

The Promontory is part of multifamily redevelopment boomlet taking place between 95th and 80th streets along Metcalf Avenue. The residential projects aim to piggyback off about 1 million square feet of new or redeveloped office space taking shape in the corridor.

“You’re going to have between 800 and 900 units close to Downtown Overland Park opening in 2019,” Harpool said. “Between Tim Barton’s office building, Avenue 82 anchored by BRR Architecture, and Shamrock Industries across the street planning to hire 1,000 people, we have a little hub here.”

KC Wine & Liquors opened a new store at The Promontory in December, and additional leased space is available for retail stores and restaurants. At full buildout, The Promontory will include a total of 490 retail units and more than 150,00 square feet of retail space.

For retail leasing at The Promontory, email Ryan Robertshaw at Ryan@KCEvergreen.com

View a promotional video of The Promontory.

Check out a gallery of The Promontory clubhouse and residences below.

Sprint campus sale, new DT office tower among most anticipated CRE events of 2019

The expected sale of Sprint's 4 million square foot Overland Park campus will be a bellwether event for the Kansas City regional commercial real estate market in 2019. That's the consensus from panelists at MetroWire Media's KC Market Forecast held Jan. 8, at Johnson County Community College. The event was moderated by Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) President and CEO Tim Cowden.

"It's going to have a monumental impact. We're talking about 25 percent of the KC office market trading hands in 2019," said Mike Klamm, Managing Director for CBRE's Kansas City office. "The new owner will have new objectives, motivations and strategies to put tenants on that campus."

The sale could bring an estimated 1 million to 1.5 million square feet of Class A office space up for lease in the historically strong Johnson County submarket by the middle of the year. 

Beyond Overland Park, Sprint's pending merger with T-Mobile will reverberate throughout the region's office market as communities seek creative ways to backfill the carrier's inventory of older office space.

"We have a lot of Class B space in Platte County," said Alicia Stephens, Executive Director of the Platte County Economic Development Council. "To see what Sprint did when it first opened and then when it downsized- and now with the merger-  I think it has a long-term impact for us."

As Sprint seeks suitors for its campus, Copaken Brooks will continue to build its case for a new, Class multi-tenant high-rise office building in Downtown Kansas City. The 250,000-square foot tower would be the first of its kind in about 30 years.

"We think people will pay a premium for something new and innovative in terms of layout, size and technology. The task is figuring out how deep is that market, and how much do people really want to pay?" said Jon Copaken, Principal of Copaken Brooks. "We feel the time is right to explore than and get that done."

Other top development stories to watch in 2019, according to MetroWire Media panelists:

*Construction of the new KCI (Alicia Stephens)

*Growth in Data Center, K-12 Educational projects (Randy Bredar, JE Dunn Construction)

*Fruition of several sports-themed mixed-use projects, such as Bluhawk in South Overland Park (Bart LowenPrice Brothers Development)

*KC Streetcar extension to UMKC (Jon Copaken)

*Access to Opportunity Zones (Mike Klamm, CBRE)

Check out a slideshow from the event here. Photos courtesy of Jacia Phillips, Arch Photo KC.

MetroWire Media's top themes of 2018: Push, Pivot, Preserve

Wichita developer sets sights on upscale office park near Lenexa City Center

Wichita-based Vantage Point Properties has entered the Kansas City market, announcing plans to develop Reflections at City Center, a sprawling Class A office complex in Lenexa.

"Our vision is to create an environment that is both aesthetically and functionally different from any other office park in the Kansas City area," said Paul Jackson, president and founder of Vantage Point Properties. "Every detail - walkable paths, architectural lighting, and sculptures - will come together to create a comfortable, enjoyable place to work."

The commercial real estate company just closed on 32 acres at I-435 and Renner Road and envisions a walkable, upscale 315,000-square foot campus featuring reflection pools and three restaurants. The Lenexa City Council has approved tax increment financing for the project, which will break ground pending identification of an anchor tenant. 

"The project will provide a unique opportunity for a company to come in and make the site their own," Jackson said. "They will really be able to create their own footprint here. We're ready to make a deal happen with the right partner."

Jackson, who co-founded Vantage Point Properties in 1992, sees opportunity in the relatively stable Kansas City market.

"It has a track record of steady growth," Jackson said. "And Lenexa is the perfect spot for our first project."

Matt Stover and Tracy Wilson of Colliers are marketing the property for lease.