KC CRE Events

Groundbreaking ceremony kicks off today for Charlotte Street Foundation

A groundbreaking ceremony will kick off at 5pm today to celebrate the soon-to-be start of construction for Charlotte Street Foundation’s new campus, located near Roanoke Park.

Charlotte Street Foundation was established in 1997 in response to a lack of creative, social and economic resources for Kansas City artists. The organization has steadily expanded its suite of services to include special commissions, free studio residencies, exhibition and performance space for artists, and advocacy with local and national philanthropic business and civic leaders. Charlotte Street is also the only organization in the region that grants artists direct monetary support.

The new campus – a two-building industrial complex – is located at 3333 Wyoming Street and will offer nearly 25,000 SF of operating space. Charlotte Street’s relocation will repurpose the closed, segregated buildings into a flexible, open, community-focused hub of activity.

The building concept starts with the idea of an artist’s village. Hufft, who leads the design, focused on connections: artists to other artists; artists to the greater community; artists to the Charlotte Street staff; and artists to the surrounding landscape.

The building opens up both vertically and horizontally, starting with inserting a main reception that connects the lower and upper terraces. As the new collective entrance to the building it ensures that everyone passes through the same space regardless of how they access the hilly site. It serves as a lobby, an incubator, a lecture hall with large cascading staircase, and the first space for a chance interaction. From here the building opens up vertically, so that from the reception you can see up to the artist’s studio levels, forming the next level of community interaction.

The final step is the insertion of large openings into the windowless industrial building, providing a glimpse to the outside and connecting the artists to both the surrounding community and lush landscape. The result is a continuous internal village streetscape, where artists step outside their studio to find themselves in an active continuous space, one that connects down to the reception, artist’s courtyard, and beyond.

The foundation moved its offices to the new campus in October and continues to operate their 2019 programming out of various metro area locations. With construction kicking off this summer, current project schedules have the transition of resources to the campus taking place in the first quarter of 2020.

Hufft leads the design along with the project team of Benson Method, who serves as the Owner Representative. Newkirk Novak is the general contractor, 40North is the landscape architect, and engineering support for the project is provided by Lankford Fendler as MEP.

The Charlotte Street Foundation Groundbreaking Ceremony is today, June 12 starting at 5pm at 3325-3335 Wyoming Street. There will be a guided tour and feature artists performing throughout the event.

EPC's McKeen sees stability in KC multifamily market

By Marcia Charney | MWM Contributing Writer

Stable. Steady. Cautious. Opportunity.

Those are the words Mike McKeen is using these days to describe the state of Kansas City’s apartment market. The principal and president of EPC Real Estate Group, LLC spoke to a record-breaking crowd of more than 150 brokers and real estate professionals at the April meeting of the Kansas City chapter of CCIM

Areas that will continue to succeed in the multifamily market will have “charm, character and are walkable, with jobs in good proximity,” McKeen said, noting that strong players currently include Lenexa City Center, downtown Overland Park, Olathe, Mission; and downtown Kansas City, Missouri, which leads the area in multifamily development. 

The living preferences of Millennials are driving the market. Some of EPC’s current products are Millennial-based, including Avenue 80 in downtown Overland Park, where Millennials comprise 70 percent of the tenant base. Empty nesters, who no longer want to maintain their homes and are seeking to live life a little differently, are another growing tenant segment.  

McKeen discussed how e-commerce is changing multifamily development. With the explosion of package delivery, developers are installing electronic parcel delivery systems, which allow tenants to retrieve packages by entering a security code. McKeen said that without these delivery systems, the buildings would need a massive storage room for delivered packages and staff to monitor receipt and storage.

McKeen said that developers now have to consider for the first time the amenities and unit size that Generation Z wants. He stated that studio apartments are the “quickest thing to fly off our lists right now because they hit a certain price point of affordability but they also cater to that lifestyle of people who spend most of their time playing video games.” McKeen added that the amenity most requested by Gen Z is blackout shades for better game screen visibility. 

McKeen discussed the challenges currently facing multifamily developers which include a decline in the number of skilled craftsmen; the threat of tariffs, causing suppliers to raise prices to offset the impact of possible future tariffs on costs; future tax treatment; the passage of city ordinances which impact the use of development incentives; aging infrastructure; low supply and high demand, particularly for precast concrete products; and rising operating costs.

McKeen also recognized new opportunities for multifamily developers such as the creation of new inventory to meet the demands of Millennials and empty nesters, affordable housing, and opportunity zones. In addition, new product types like micro-units, which range in size from 350 to 500 square feet, are in high demand with rising rents.  

Noting that “site selection is everything now,” McKeen said the average occupancy of multifamily properties in the Kansas City area has remained steady, staying between 93 and 95 percent.  

 

#FLEXKC Panel: Cold storage is next frontier for "on fire" Kansas City industrial market

Kansas City's industrial market remains strong, with more than 3 million square feet of speculative space currently under construction and 1.3 million SF completed in the first quarter.

But in order to succeed in the rapidly changing, omni-channel marketplace, communities and companies need to remain flexible on all fronts, ranging from operations to incentives to workforce development. That's the consensus of panelists at KC SmartPort's 2019 Industry Briefing, FLEXKC.

"While the economy and most indicators point to continued growth, the need for companies to increase flexibility in operations and hiring practices has never been greater. That is true of how companies build, use and occupy space as well,” said KC SmartPort President Chris Gutierrez.

One of the next waves in industrial development will be "Food on Demand" as consumers seek convenience and freedom from the kitchen. That means cold storage facilities are landing at the top of the shopping list for those scouting industrial locations.

"We are seeing an uptick in that sector," said Colby Tanner, BNSF Railway assistant vice president. "Over the last 18 months we have started to get a lot of inquiries from the cold storage sector asking how can we locate along the rail line or have rail access."

Although they come with significant investment and a subsequent boon to local coffers, cold storage facilities can present a challenge when it comes to incentives.

"These are really high-dollar projects, but they require a non-traditional workforce. So from an incentives perspective, you have a project with a huge investment but the challenge will always be workforce,” said Ann Petersen, Cushman & Wakefield managing director. 

Other barriers to entry include higher insurance costs, environmental impacts, and margins squeezed by waste.

"Food on demand is a challenging business, " observed longtime Amazon Site Selector and Keynote Speaker Mike Grella. "I think there’s room for growth there, but we are still in a period of experimentation and iteration." 

For a full event recap, click here.

KC SIOR Development Day moves to Union Station

Union Station in Downtown Kansas City on Thursday will play host to SIOR Development Day, the region's largest annual gathering of commercial real estate realtors and developers. Presented each year by the local chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), Development Day is considered by many to be the metro’s signature CRE networking event of the year.

“This event provides an unparalleled opportunity to network with industry leaders, highlight new projects, explore opportunities and celebrate successes - all in one setting. We are thrilled to be holding this year's event at Kansas City's historic Union Station and are looking forward to a great evening,” said 2018 Development Day Chair John StacyReece Commercial.

More than 80 exhibitors and hundreds of attendees are expected to attend the free event from 4:30-7:30 p.m. in Union Station's Grand Plaza. The event includes hors d’oeuvres from Jack Stack and cash bar. Free onsite parking will be available in the Union Station parking garage.

“We value the support and participation of those in the Kansas City commercial real estate industry that help develop the Kansas City community. It is an honor to chair the 29th annual SIOR Development Day,” Stacy added.