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#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.

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. 

 

 

Wanted in Edgerton: Restaurant and residential development

With almost 11 million square feet of industrial space under construction and 3,400 new jobs created in three years, the City of Edgerton is scrambling to attract retail, restaurant and residential development activity.

“Our projects went extremely fast. The amount of traffic and number of employees we are seeing here and the desire to have amenities and housing options nearby just continues to increase,” said Edgerton Mayor Don Roberts.

NorthPoint Development’s Logistics Park Kansas City in Edgerton is among the most successful industrial park buildouts in the nation in recent memory, both in terms of total square footage and speed to market. But attracting and building ancillary development to support the burgeoning workforce has a longer runway, and that’s one reason the city launched its own economic development partnership, ElevateEdgerton!, earlier this year.

“There is a lot of development happening in the KC area right now, and we are trying to compete with other more established areas and trying to get people to come to Edgerton,” said Edgerton City Administrator Beth Linn. “Once people are at (LPKC), it sells itself, but getting them here can be a challenge because we are kind of an unknown in the market.”

The basic message ElevateEdgerton! wants to send is that the market is ripe and ready for additional investment beyond industrial warehouse and distribution projects. The influx of thousands of new Amazon and UPS workers requiring places to eat and spend money before, during and after their workdays has changed the conversation.

“We have the numbers, and we have to bring these other sectors,” Roberts said. “Two years ago, things were different, but a fast service restaurant will make it in Edgerton today.”

Russell Pearson with NAI Heartland is on the team marketing the Midwest Gateway speculative industrial project in Edgerton and agrees that the time is right for more development: "The industrial growth in Edgerton has been dramatic in the past few years, and this creates a real opportunity for developers to deliver commercial and residential product to support the employee base in that area.”

In addition to restaurant and residential housing, the city is working to attract a large, full-service truck stop to accommodate commercial vehicles and possibly provide additional quick service dining. Roberts believes that a dramatic rise in traffic counts over the past three years will help make the case.

“Homestead Lane wasn't even open 3 ½ years ago. To go from 0 to 10,000 vehicles a day is unheard of,” Roberts said.

Interested developers should contact Steve Hale at ElevateEdgerton! to identify top sites.

Retail finds stride as e-commerce builds momentum

Retail finds stride as e-commerce builds momentum

As the retail market climbs its way out of the recession. As it rebounds, retailers and property owners are cautiously optimistic as they look for ways to adapt to the rise of e-commerce. According to LANE4 Property Group's latest report, Kansas City experienced conservative growth as well as a few encouraging signs of growth and opportunity.