Editor's Picks

Populous helps lead national esports movement

In a nod to what is being called the “next generation consumer,” Kansas City-based Populous is teaming up with Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Companies to build Fusion Arena, a $50 million esports and entertainment venue in the heart of the Philadelphia Sports Complex. 

“Fusion Arena represents a watershed moment for the competitive gaming market,” said Populous Senior Principal Brian Mirakian. “We’re taking our 36 years of designing iconic experiences for traditional sports- settings like Yankee Stadium- and applying those same principles of design to the virtual world of gaming.”

The future home to the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise will have seating for up to 3,500 guests and will serve as the “western hemisphere’s largest ground-up, purpose-built esports venue,” according to a release. 

Earlier this month, Mirakian spoke at SXSW and discussed how esports venues can bring cities and sports teams new revenue streams, increased commerce and development and reinvigorated neighborhoods. 

The rise of esports development and design was a big topic for panelists at MetroWire Media’s Game On event covering sports and entertainment development and design on March 7.

“Esports is exploding as more universities starting to offer scholarships,” said James Dietz of Henderson Engineers, which served as the low-voltage engineering firm of record for the Esports Arlington Stadium. “These facilities require high connectivity and people are starting to look at a specific sport and turn it into more of a fan experience for video gamers out there.”

Overland Park-based Dimensional Innovations also is seeing more opportunity in esports, particularly on college campuses. “We are working on two university gaming/training facilities, so there is definitely a strong trend in that marketplace,” added DI co-founder Justin Wood

Populous’ Philadelphia venue will incorporate industrial materials that pay tribute to that city’s heritage as “workshop of the world” and will include a 6,000-square foot public entry and 2000 square feet of interactive media hovering 30 feet above. 

In addition to hosting competitive gaming events and elite training, the arena will be designed to host a variety of live entertainment programming and experiences, offering unique seating experiences such as balcony bars, club seats with USB ports, flexible loge boxes and exclusive suites. Additionally, nearly 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to a training facility, broadcast studio and team offices. 

“Fusion Arena will set the gold standard for competitive gaming and debut on one of the country’s most exciting platforms of sports and entertainment...” said Blake Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies, which also served as master developer of the Kansas City Power & Light District.  

Sprint HQ buyer Occidental eyes acreage adjacent to OP campus

Wichita-based Occidental Management expects to close on the Sprint Campus in the next 30 days. CEO Gary Oborny and President Chad Stafford talked with MetroWire Media about what led to the acquisition and plans for the sprawling Overland Park campus and adjacent land.

MWM: When did you first become interested in buying the Sprint campus?

Oborny: We heard that Sprint was looking at divesting at some point, so we started following opportunities to get closer to the situation and look at how we might connect on a potential deal. We sat back while Sprint figured out what to do. Then we contacted Cushman & Wakefield when the property was placed with them for a national search last year.  

MWM: How did your 2014 purchase of the former Overland Park International Trade Center (OPx) adjacent to the Sprint campus play into the acquisition?

Oborny: OPx was our introduction into the market. It helped us build relationships in Kansas City and Overland Park, so the Sprint campus was a natural fit. 

MWM: What is your short-term game plan for the campus?

Oborny: We want to enhance existing amenities and bring additional amenities for tenants who want to be on the campus. There are a number of cafeterias and food venues, so we will look at bringing in guest chefs and maybe freshening those spaces. We’re also looking at conceptual ideas to improve the overall aesthetics of the campus, so we will be look at revitalizing existing buildings to make them a little more contemporary... Eventually we’ll undergo a full rebrand of the campus. 

MWM: What will Sprint’s ongoing presence be?

Stafford: Sprint will continue to be the largest tenant, and the company is making a commitment to Kansas City with a long-term lease situation, but that’s all we can say right now. Sprint and Occidental are both focused on recruitment and retention of associates and employees on the campus. 

MWM: What is the current tenant mix and how do you see that changing?

Stafford: There’s a good mix right now between health care and financial services companies. There is also good infrastructure for technology-related companies, so there is opportunity there. 

MWM: What additional opportunities do you see? 

Oborny: We are looking at the 60 acres near 119th and Nall that have never been opened to commercial development. We see an opportunity to bring amenities to that vacant land such as hotel, restaurants and retail, but for right now we have to close. 

MWM: This is a huge transaction. What’s next for Occidental?

Oborny: Yes, it’s a big opportunity. We see a natural progression for us in Midwest cities, so development opportunities in the $100-$300 million range are certainly always of interest.

JPMorgan Chase will open full-service bank in former Dean & Deluca space

The former Dean & Deluca space at Town Center Plaza in Leawood, Kan. will find new life as a full-service retail bank, part of JPMorgan Chase's push into the Kansas City market and deeper into Bank of America markets.

The largest bank in the U.S. has signed a lease to expand into the 9,000-square foot former gourmet food purveyor located at the northwest corner of Roe Avenue and 119th Street. An exact opening date is unclear.

Scott K. Miller and Adam Blue of AREA Real Estate Advisors brokered the lease on behalf of the building's owner. The deal comes less than a year after the prime retail outparcel adjacent to Town Center Plaza hit the market.

"We had a lot of interest from premier retailers due to its high-profile location," Miller said. "Everything from restaurants to service retailers and soft goods retailers looked at the space. Ultimately the best fit for everybody ended up being JPMorgan Chase."

Jeff Berg and Coleby Henzlik of Colliers International represented JPMorgan Chase in the transaction.

Last week, JPMorgan Chase announced plans to open its first full-service Kansas City area locations in 2019, with up to 15 branches in the works, according to The Kansas City Business Journal.

McCarthy Building Companies celebrates WIC Week 2019

McCarthy Building Companies celebrated Women in Construction Week 2019 by highlighting four female professionals working on high-profile construction projects. Here are some career insights from McCarthy's KC female pros:


"I love seeing a project through. This is huge project and there are hundreds of little projects within it and being able to see all of your hard work transpire into something that makes the Tomahawk Creek water treatment plant function is - awesome." -Taylor Meulemans, project engineer, Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility Expansion project


"I've worked on healthcare jobs and schools and now wastewater treatment. There are still those same fundamentals that everyone learns but you can learn so much more. There's always something new to learn and someone to teach you." -Devon Murray-Mazany, Tomahawk Creek Wastewater project


"Not a lot of medical examiner facilities are being built so it's a unique experience. It's a mix between a lab and a hospital and it's a cool project." -Autumn Swinson, senior project engineer, Johnson County, Kansas Medical Examiner Facility


"Construction is always changing. You can go from one project to the next and have the same job but it's totally something new and you get to learn new things." -Cara Greenley, project engineer, Tomahawk Creek Wastewater project 


NAWIC initiative, the focus of WIC Week is to highlight women as a viable component of the construction industry.

Taylor

Taylor

Game On takeaway: 'Were all technology firms. We just don't know it yet'

The Kansas City region's internationally acclaimed sports construction and AEC industry was the topic of MetroWire Media's Game On Sports and Entertainment Event on Thurs., March 7 at Children's Mercy Park. 

Here are some highlights from our star-studded lineup:

"The conversations we used to have are so outdated, it's amazing. Every year the conversation changes... The stuff that Silicon Valley is developing now will hit the sports industry in a couple years and it will blow your mind." -Andy Heitmann, VP Construction, Turner Construction.

"We're all technology firms. We just don't know it yet... Technology is impacting everything we do... From security to fan engagement, it's driving the fan and athlete experience." -James Dietz, AVP, Henderson Engineers.

“We have spent a lot of time developing sponsorship integrations that create great fan experiences. The idea is that venues and teams have opportunities within the built environment to tell stories using sponsor dollars as opposed to team’s dollars.” -Justin Wood, Partner, Dimensional Innovations

"The most important thing we can do is to create adaptable frameworks for buildings... 5G is on the way and that will transform the experience." -Kelly Holton, senior designer, Populous

"Engaging people with the live experience is our focus and challenge." -Jeff Sittner, Burns & McDonnell Sports Design Build team leader

"How do we take what we know about the fans and deliver what they want? It begins with knowing who is in the building." -Jason Houseworth, President, FanThreeSixty.

Special thanks to Sporting KC Executive Vice President John Moncke for serving as guest speaker and to our Platinum Sponsor, Turner Construction.

Click here to view a slideshow of our Game On event!