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. 

Leawood mixed-use expected to kickstart activity along 135th Street corridor

Leawood leaders say a just-approved $135 million mixed-used project along 135th Street near State Line Road may be exactly what the city needs to energize development activity on the east end of the well-traveled corridor.

Lashbrook Cos. on Monday received city approval for its development south of 135th Street between Kenneth Road and Chadwick, which includes 117 high-end villas, 182 luxury apartments, and retail space. The project also includes plans for an 81-unit assisted living facility developed by Johnson County Management.

“I’ve said for a long time that this is a great corridor, but it just needs a kickstart. It needs something to happen to bring the momentum,” said Bob Regnier, president of Bank of Blue Valley and whose family owns the land. “Rick (Lashbrook) has great product and the timing is right.”

The development strays from 135th Street Corridor development guidelines adopted by the Leawood City Council in 2013, so securing approval required some give-and-take.

“This is a good compromise and allows for forward movement. Just since the announcement, I have received a couple phone calls from people interested in that area,” Regnier said. “A nice project like this is announced, and all the sudden people are talking about it. People see the possibility.”

In addition to filling strong demand for attached villa-type property in Leawood, the project will allow the City to connect 137th Street from Kenneth Road to Metcalf Avenue.

“That route, like 133rd on the north side of 135th, will become a major east-west connector for not only vehicles, but for pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well,” said Kevin Jeffries, president and CEO of the Leawood Chamber & Economic Development Council. “The office, retail, multifamily, and senior living components proposed for later phases will also be a welcome addition to the 135th Street Corridor.”

Construction on the unnamed project is set to begin in late 2019 with completion expected 2-3 years later.

Opus' mixed-use poised to trigger Westport Road redevelopment

The Opus Group's new six-story mixed-use apartment project at the corner of Westport Road and Broadway Boulevard is expected to serve as a catalyst for neighborhood redevelopment along Westport Road between Broadway and Main Street. 

Although it won't be completed until the spring of 2020, the 254-unit multifamily project with 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail already is attracting tenant interest.

"Westport hasn't seen a project of this size in 50 years. This redevelopment will revitalize the neighborhood," said Chris Kamberis, a Kansas City-based commercial developer who owns property adjacent to the multifamily project and is seeking tenants to add to the unique neighborhood feel and expansion.

With plans in the works to extend the Kansas City Streetcar to Westport, Kamberis added, the OPUS multifamily project is right on time.

"With the addition of OPUS' mixed-use apartment complex and new tenants, Westport will continue to be an attraction for both locals and city visitors," said Kamberis, owner and president of CTK Real Estate.

The Opus Group began construction of the mixed-use project this fall. Opus Development Company, LLC is the developer in partnership with CTK Real Estate; Opus Design Build, LLC is the design-builder; and Opus AE Group, LLC is the interior designer, architect and structural engineer of record. Financing for the project is provided by Central Bank of the Midwest.