Historic Redevelopment

Avenue Logistics moves to KC Crossroads

Avenue Logistics, a Chicago-based freight brokerage logistics company, will soon be relocating from Overland Park, KS to the Crossroads in Kansas City, Missouri.

Avenue Logistics is the latest in a growing list of “new-to-downtown” companies attracted to developments like 3D Development, whose tenants include Hollis + Miller, Holmes Murphy, Card Connect, and WeWork.

The firm will be moving in the fourth quarter of 2019 into the recently completed historic renovation at 215 E 18th Street, now named 18McGee.

Formally known as the Interstate Securities Building, it was originally built in the 1950’s to finance automobile purchases in the automotive district in the Crossroads. After Interstate Securities, it was owned and operated by the Kansas City Star, which was headquartered across the street.

“When we were looking for our new offices, we wanted a vibrant environment that appeals to our team,” said Brad Jerwick, vice president at Avenue Logistics.

18McGee is part of a five-building renovation that includes the restoration and renovation of the Historic Kansas City Star properties. When finished, Grand Place will include a 30,000 SF European-style market, restaurants, coffee house, spa and approximately 250,000 SF of signature office space.

“With everything happening in the Crossroads and the renovation of this building and all the amenities planned across the street at Grand Place, we believe this is a strategic way to use real estate to attract and retain team members,” Jerwick said.

Joining Avenue Logistics at 18McGee is Working Spaces, an office interiors and contract furniture business with offices across the midwest. Working Spaces will use the entire first floor as a showroom and design studio.

The top floor at 18McGee is still available, with a total of 6,000 SF that can be divided in sections as small as 2,000 SF.

Among the amenities in the building is 3D Development’s signature roof top patio, which provides great views of Grand Place and downtown.

“The gravity of the Crossroads is moving east at a much quicker pace than we ever anticipated,” said Tim Schaffer, president of AREA Real Estate Advisors.

“The building is attracting interest because of its walkability to bars and restaurants that continue to proliferate East Crossroads; also (because of) the anticipated historic renovation of the Kansas City Star building and all the amenities that are planned for this block,” Schaffer said.

From offices to co-working spaces, restaurants and event spaces, 3D has attracted several new companies to the KC downtown market. Projects include On Broadway, The Creamery, Corrigan Station, 18 McGee and the historic renovation and repositioning of the former KC Star headquarters, now known as Grand Place.  To learn more visit: dream-design-develop.com.


Sunflower Development: Preserving the past, creating a new future

MARCIA CHARNEY

Sunflower Development Group, founded 13 years ago, has established a niche in redeveloping historic properties. Principal Jason Swords shared with attendees at the Kansas City CCIM Chapter Breakfast on Friday, May 17, 2019, the details of some of its recently completed and current redevelopment projects. Swords showcased The Grand, a transformation by Sunflower Development Group and its project partner, Block Real Estate Services, of the Traders on Grand building, located in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The property, purchased in April, 2016 from Van Trust Real Estate, now features 201 luxury apartment units with high end amenities.

The Grand also features 12,000 square feet of office and retail space. Sunflower Development Group recently relocated its offices to The Grand. Sunflower Development Group worked with the National Parks Service to designate the Traders on Grand building a historic building, making the project eligible for historic tax credits on both the state and federal levels.

Swords said that without the historic tax credits, the project would not work. With a total investment of $69 million, the quality of the amenities and The Grand’s prime location, Swords said he believes the building has another 40 to 50 years of life, “so we believe we’re positioned really, really well.”

Another recently completed historic renovation project is the Blenheim School Apartments, located at 2411 E. 70TH Terrace, Kansas City, Missouri.  Sunflower Development Group acquired the closed Blenheim School through the Kansas City Missouri Public Schools’ repurposing program and transformed the building into 52 affordable/restricted income apartments for seniors 55 years and older. 

After signing the purchase contract, Swords said it took Sunflower Development Group three years to get the federal and state historic tax credits, the federal and state affordable housing credits and other financing in place.   During those three years, the gymnasium filled up with four feet of water creating a mold issue, recounted Swords, “so the building got less expensive the longer we were under contract.” 

The completed project opened in December, 2018 and is approximately 75% leased.   Swords noted that most of the tenants are from the neighborhood.  This is the second  Kansas City, Missouri school building that Sunflower Development Group has repurposed.  It completed a 48 unit affordable senior living project in 2017, the Faxon School Apartments, which is fully leased.

Within the next two months, Sunflower Development Group plans to begin the transformation of the former Valentine Shopping Center, located across the street from the Uptown Theater, into the Uptown Lofts, a 226 apartment unit project.  The project also will contain a retail component.  In addition, Swords noted, Sunflower Development Group is working with Sky Real Estate to convert the historic American Electric Building located in downtown  St. Joseph, Missouri into the American Electric Lofts, which will contain 137 market rate apartments.

Swords wanted to dispel the myth that it’s cheaper to buy an older building and convert it than undertaking new construction.  “Renovating an older property, you’re going to spend more per foot than you would building a new construction,” he said.

Oggi Lofts redevelopment brings 25 market rate units to downtown KC

The former Oggi Modern Furnishings building at 600 Central St. in downtown Kansas City’s former Garment District has found new life as Oggi Lofts, a 25-unit market-rate apartment project.

Ted Murray of Colliers International teamed up with Andy Homoly of Homoly Construction on the $6.7 million redevelopment designed by architecture firm Clockwork Architecture + Design. Rosin Preservation helped secure historic tax credits for conversion of the 110-year old, five-story brick building located on the National Register of Historic Places.

As with any historic redevelopment, Oggi Lofts offered its share of surprises and conundrums.

“Anytime you get into an older building that needs to be gutted, there are always surprises,” said Murray, who pursued the project independent of his role as Co-CEO of Colliers’ Kansas City office. “This project was so different and really created a need for problem solving during the construction process.”

For example, the building’s entire stair tower required full replacement, yet historic preservation standards required that the original hardwood flooring remain. Another hurdle involved successfully obtaining approval from the National Park Service to add windows on the north side of the brick building. But perhaps the biggest challenge involved designing and constructing units around the building’s many columns, which could not be touched in the name of structural integrity.

“We had to conserve space, and Andy (Homoly) and the construction team really thought through how to integrate all the vertical columns into the various units,” Murray told MetroWire Media during a tour of the project.

A hallmark of Oggi Lofts is a rooftop deck with panoramic views of the Missouri River, and Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport. The property includes a basement fitness center and dedicated storage units as well as on-street parking and door locks and utilities with smartphone access. With rents between $1,000 to $2,265, each unit includes hardwood flooring, onyx countertops, and washer/dryer.

For Murray, the historic redevelopment was a refreshing departure from his work with Colliers, which involves primarily office, retail and industrial leasing and sales.

“This has been so much fun,” Murray said. “I love downtown and I’m just thrilled with how this turned out. It’s been a labor of love.”

Oggi Modern Furnishings vacated the property in 2007. Tax abatements were approved through Kansas City’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA).

Rosin Preservation savors winning streak despite tax credit uncertainty

Rosin Preservation will close out 2018 with a string of high-profile projects despite uncertainty surrounding Missouri’s historic tax credit program. In October alone, four of the firm’s Downtown Kansas City historic preservation projects will open, beginning with Foutch Brothers LLC’s $39 million redevelopment of Kemper Arena into HyVee Arena, a youth and amateur sports hub.

With $1.6 billion in completed projects over the past 20 years, CEO Elizabeth Rosin said that securing a historic designation for the 1970’s-era venue was among the most challenging projects the firm has undertaken. Although construction took about a year, it took over three years to secure the arena's place on the National Registry of Historic Places.

“The building is less than 50 years old, so we had to figure out why it was historically significant other than its architecture and engineering,” Rosin said. “We ended up talking about its importance as a cultural and social icon for Kansas City because of the wide range of events held there for an entire generation. Everybody has a memory of Kemper Arena, whether it’s Big 12 Basketball, the American Royal, a concert, circus, convention or some other sporting event.”

The redevelopment of the iconic and beloved Savoy Hotel into the 21c Museum Hotel, replete with curated gallery spaced and art installations, was equally challenging. Rosin said the Savoy, which reopened in July, was in much rougher shape than most people realized.

“There are always surprises when you get into a building, and this one-- because of its age-- had a few more surprises so there were plenty of questions to deal with on the fly,” Rosin said. “A big part of our job was making sure that the elements that contributed to the Savoy’s sense of history and the character of the building were preserved.”

The hotel was constructed in five stages between the 1880’s and 1917, which meant it had several types of molding and doors that needed attention and preservation.

“The challenge was helping people understand what all those elements were and what needed to be protected and why-- and then figuring out how to meld that into the building,” Rosin said.

Additional Rosin Preservation projects completed this month include the renovation of the former Brookfield Building into Hotel Indigo, the former Pabst and Pendergast Buildings redeveloped into the Crossroads Hotel, and the old Jensen Salsbery Lab transformed into the new headquarters of Centric Projects and Superior Bowen.

This fall, the old Downtown Lee’s Summit Post Office reopened as the Bridge Space co-working facility, and Rosin also is working on renovating and restoring the Longview Mansion and barns. 

The good news for Rosin and those in the business of preserving historic buildings is that although lawmakers have scaled back funding for Missouri’s historic tax credit program from $140 million to $120 million a year, it remains intact for now. However, it’s unclear how new guidelines will affect the program.

“The bill also included a requirement that DED (Missouri Department of Economic Development) evaluate the ‘net fiscal benefit of applications,’ and we are still waiting to find out what that means,” Rosin said.

Rosin Preservation has completed over $1.6 billion in historic tax credit construction nationwide. Additional noteworthy projects include the Oklahoma State Capitol and the Empire State Building in New York City.

Photo Credit: Brad Finch, f-stop Photography

Delaware Street Project developer adds Plexpod, promises more announcements

The addition of co-working concept Plexpod to the Delaware Street Project in the River Market is central to Epoch Developments’ overall strategy as it builds a walkable, creative district along the KC Streetcar line just north of I-70.

“Plexpod’s unique collaborative co-working community is exactly the type of tenant we’re hoping to attract,” Epoch Developments Founder Craig Slawson explained. “You can’t just lay products on the table and expect someone to be sucked into the space. You have to have something interesting to help curate a better experience for everyone.”

Co-working is one leg of a three-legged stool required for successful community activation and livelihood, according to Slawson, who lives in Denver but has long-standing family ties to the River Market area. The other legs of the stool are bars/restaurants and merchants.

Epoch owns 10 of the 18 street-facing buildings on historic Delaware Street and is about halfway through the redevelopment process. Slawson expects to make several new announcements by the end of the year-including an occupant for a streetcar donated by the City and tenants for existing storefront space and new construction.

Plexpod's new 8,000+ square foot space located on the first and second floors of 510 Delaware will open in December and be the company's fourth metro-area location, according to a release. 

“We see River Market and namely Delaware Street as one of the leading emerging hot spots of amenities, which is ideal for our Plexpod member community,” said Gerald Smith, founder and CEO. "This new facility will be another great collaboration location for Plexpod member-companies across the metro to access and enjoy.”   

Plexpod facilities in The CrossroadsWestport and Lenexa offer 16 types of work styles ranging from open desks and collaborative workspaces to private offices and team spaces. The concept features meeting rooms, photography studios and performance theaters as well as personal amenities including outdoor space, social events and fitness options.