EDC of Kansas City announces 2018 Cornerstone Award winners

The Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, (EDCKC) announced winners of its 2018 Cornerstone Awards, which recognize the city's top construction, redevelopment, capital investments and job creation or expansion projects.

A total of 11 projects were showcased at the EDCKC’s annual event on Tues., May 15, 2018 at Kansas City’s Union Station. Winners achieved a variety of economic development criteria, including job creation, global economic growth, capital investment, innovation, P3, entrepreneurship, sustainability, neighborhood improvement, tourism, workforce and education, and adaptive reuse. 

“The Cornerstone Awards celebrate the people and organizations that are building the future of Kansas City, Missouri,” said Bob Langenkamp, EDCKC president and CEO. “The 2018 award recipients have played a vital role in creating a thriving economy in our city, and we enthusiastically congratulate them on their efforts."

Winners of the annual development awards included: AutoAlertCable Dahmer Headquarters & Collision, Cerner Innovation Campus, Hotel Indigo and Fairfax Lofts Apartments, Hunt Midwest SubTropolis Animal Health Corridor, KC Urban Youth Baseball, Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter Sr. Community Center, NBKC Bank, Spring Venture Group, Urban Cafe, and Westport Commons/Plexpod.

EDCKC also recognized several organizations for work on regional projects such as the Amazon HQ2 proposal and the successful campaign for A Better KCI. Amazon HQ2 honorees included Barkley, VML and Xact Technologies, and A Better KCI partners included Platte County EDC, Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Area Development Council, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and The Dover Group.

KCP&L was applauded for its Clean Charge Network & KCP&L Connect initiatives. The Veterans Community Tiny House Project received EDCKC's People's Choice Award. 

The ceremony also honored UMKC Chancellor Emeritus Leo Morton for his tireless support of philanthropic, civic and economic progress in Kansas City. 

 

 

Unity Village CEO casts vision for holistic health campus

Unity Village CEO Jim Blake shared a vision for a holistic health and fitness community with tiny homes and natural amenities on its sprawling campus near U.S. 50 and Colbern Road. 

“Why not build a huge hotel and conference center here?” Blake said. “We can attract speakers here if we had greater inventory, and the business community would have whatever it wants in a conference center next to a 9-hole golf course, walking trails and fishing lakes.”

Blake shared his vision with Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council leaders at a recent luncheon, adding that Unity would like to pursue collaborative public/private partnerships to build a convention center and resort. 

Although no official plans have been drafted, Blake envisions a healthy lifestyle community that is home to a first-of-its-kind holistic medical facility staffed by a renowned naturopathic physician. The community would offer summer youth programs that take advantage of miles of trails, stocked lakes, golf course and tennis courts as well as a new tiny home development.

“Nature is built on collaboration. Ecosystems are built on collaboration. Survival is building upon how communities collaborate. We have the opportunity to collaborate and build something powerful in this community rather than build something separately,” Blake said. 

Any new development would complement existing facilities, which include an all-new golf clubhouse with food and beverage, 50-room LEED-certified hotel and conference center, banquet and dining hall, fitness center, 2.5 miles of walking trails, fleet of GPS-enabled bicycles, a community garden and apple barn, as well as Starbuck’s on-campus coffee shop.

Blake’s vision is purely conceptual at this point. However, commercial development already is taking shape on campus and in the Summit Village development just south across Colbern Road at I-470 and 50 Highway. A new public road has been extended off the recently constructed Blue Parkway, and Summit Eye Center has completed construction on the first phase of its new medical office building.

At buildout, phase one of Summit Village will accommodate up to 500,000-square feet of office, medical office, hotel and other commercial users requiring between 5,000 to 50,000 square feet, according to Michael VanBuskirk, principal of Newmark Grubb Zimmer, which is handling development of the project on behalf of Unity Realty.

Preliminary approval is in place for an already constructed pad site adjacent to Summit Eye Center that will accommodate a 20,000-square foot building. In addition, nearby sites are available for sale or build-to-suit opportunities. Phases two and three of Summit Village include an additional 175 acres to accommodate over 1.5 million square feet of various mixed-use development for a  potential major headquarters site or rail-served flex industrial park.

Meanwhile, on-campus leasing activity is robust, with multiple spaces available. Current tenants include Almeda Labs, Healthcare Solutions Team, JSC Engineering, Transit Pros, Gardens at Unity Village, Unity Village Chapel, as well as Unity Worldwide ministries.   

“We started rolling out on-campus leasing about a year ago, and right now there is 30,000 square feet of third-party tenants already occupying space,” VanBuskirk said.

Lenexa's The District mixed-use offers case study on cold-formed steel construction

Construction has hit the midway point for the multifamily portion of The District at City Center, a mixed-use project that adds luxury apartments, retail and office space to the Lenexa City Center development area at 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard. 

The multifamily portion of The District includes 175 units and serves as the region’s first suburban apartment-over-retail project constructed of cold-formed steel. General Contractor Haren Laughlin Construction (HLC) is touting the benefits of the product, which uses prefabricated steel studs to shorten construction times and eliminate on-site labor while improving fire safety during construction and throughout the life of the building.

“The owners wanted to build something that they could sustain for longer than what a wood structure is going to give you, so they brought us to the table and we put together a proposal and really dove into what it was going to take - the parts and pieces - to get this built,” said Matt Fisher, pre-construction manager for HLC. 

HLC, along with design partner Klover Architects, met with potential subcontractors and chose Dahmer Contracting Group led by Dusty Dahmer because its bid was the most competitive and cost efficient. By using an "off-the-shelf" metal stud system, Dahmer said his team was able to tighten the margins so the project made financial sense for co-developers Copaken Brooks and EPC Real Estate Group. 

“The difference between wood and metal framing used to be a bigger spread, and the market’s gotten so much more efficient, so now the difference is a lot smaller,” Dahmer said. “There was a steep learning curve at the beginning of the project, but now we are cruising." 

Reuben Hamman, HLC project manager, said steel framing makes for a safer and cleaner construction site.

“It’s a lot safer product to install because everything we are building is off of a slab, so we are not three stories in the air in a multifamily area swinging stuff around,” Hamman said. “On the job site, it’s just metal and concrete, so there’s not much to clean up. The waste has been minimized and everything we do throw away is recyclable.”

Because cold-formed steel is still more expensive than wood, it isn’t likely to overtake traditional wood framing, but HLC Vice President Jeff Wasinger believes there’s plenty of potential for growth in higher-end multifamily construction.

“We think for a small premium, apartment developers get a longer lasting, better quality, safer structure,” Wasinger said. “The end result is going to be above everyone’s expectations.”

In additional to luxury residential apartments, The District adds 45,000 square feet of office and 35,000 square feet of retail space to the existing 800,000-square feet of developed space at Lenexa City Center. 

The full project team includes EPC Real Estate Group and Copaken Brooks, co-developers; Klover Architects, architect; Studio A Architecture, residential consultant; BSE, structural engineer; Latimer Sommers & Associates, mechanical design; Phelps Engineering, civil engineer- private; and GBA Architects + Engineers, civil engineering- public. John Coe and Ryan Biery of Copaken Brooks are handling the leasing for the District. 

Lee's Summit rolls out red carpet for 100 economic developers

About 100 economic developers from throughout the Midwest toured the City of Lee's Summit as part of a weeklong "Economic Development 101" course study on Tuesday, April 24.

Sanctioned by the International Economic Development Council, the week-long Heartland Economic Development Course (HEDC) is offered through the University of Northern Iowa. The 2018 program was held at Adams Pointe Conference Center in Blue Springs, Mo.

Each year, the program gives students a chance to "See What Works" by highlighting a community that has successfully implemented critical components of community and economic development. On April 24, students toured Lee's Summit where they experienced a "walking case study" of effective infrastructure, land use, site development and reuse/downtown revitalization.

"This year's tour focused on Lee's Summit's successful educational ecosystem that includes the Missouri Innovation Campus and Summit Technology Academy, as well as Historic Downtown Lee's Summit," said LSEDC President Rick McDowell. "Business owners and civic leaders served as volunteer tour guides and offered insight into what has led to Lee's Summit's successful development efforts."

For more than a decade, the HEDC has offered intensive training in the basic concepts, information, methods and strategies of local economic development. Graduation from HEDC fulfills one of the education prerequisites for those who wish to obtain Certified Economic Development (CEcD) designation.

“Our purpose was to come and hear about what has been going on in Lee’s Summit both from a workforce development and historic redevelopment standpoint. It is a powerful success story in the economic development world,” said James Hoelscher, course director. “In addition, our students are also very interested in all of the mixed-use activity taking place near the Missouri Innovation Campus.”

Over the course of a week, students receive expert instruction on economic development fundamentals such as business retention/expansion, workforce development, entrepreneurship, marketing, business attraction, real estate development/reuse and financing. Attendees work in a wide range of organizations, including cities, chambers of commerce, economic development groups, neighborhood organizations and incentive granting agencies.

Catching up with 2018 CREW KC President Debbie Swearingen

Debbie Swearingen is approaching the midway point of her tenure as 2018 president of CREW KC, an organization that works to advance the success of women in commercial real estate. The VP of commercial banking for Community America Credit Union updated MetroWire Media on key initiatives and the year so far.

MWM: What kind of changes are taking place at CREW KC on your watch?

Swearingen: This year we did a true strategic plan. In our first meeting, we talked about vision and where we wanted the organization to go. We are focusing on four main areas of programming, membership, communications, and community connections. 

MWM: How are you changing CREW KC programming?

Swearingen: We want to resonate in the industry with great programs that bring value to our members but also support our community. In April, our quarterly luncheon covered development and history around the Troost corridor, so we are holding programs that elevate what our community is about by looking at our history, present day and future.

MWM: CREW KC is typically viewed as a networking organization for women. How do you see that changing?

Swearingen: Another goal for this year is to build and retain a diverse membership with an emphasis on key decision makers. We are working to increase diversity by gender, age and race while growing our presence throughout the community. A lot of people don't know what we are all about so we are working to improve our branding and become more well known in the community.

MWM: How do you measure success?

Swearingen: One of our strategic goals for this year is to build meaningful and purposeful relationships, both personal and professional. Being a member of CREW KC isn't necessarily about the business you get but also about personal growth and building relationships. That's important for achieving balance.

MWM: What do you hope people remember about your year as CREW KC president?

Swearingen: I wanted to put the fun back into CREW so we also remember what we are here for. When you do that, business comes. We've added lot of new activities for members and prospective members, including taking a party bus to FunkyTown, networking at Chicken N Pickle and a casino night hosted by BHC Rhodes for recruiting new members. We're doing things a bit differently to get to know people on a more personal level.