Bart Lowen

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.

Bluhawk Apartments prepare for blastoff

Work has blasted off at the Bluhawk Apartments located at 167th Street and Lowell Avenue in south Overland Park, with mass blasting taking place over the past month. 

Haupt Construction has been busy clearing the site of native limestone with the help of three surface drill rigs. A rock crusher then processes large chunks of limestone to be recycled as gravel filler for use throughout the entire project. In October, HarenLaughlin Construction will begin laying footings and foundations in preparation for vertical construction to begin.

“It’s rewarding to see this project move closer to vertical construction. Bluhawk Apartments are a critical component of the overall 300-acre Bluhawk mixed-use development,” said Bart Lowen, vice president of Price Brothers Development.

When completed in early 2020, Bluhawk Apartments will include eight buildings and a total of 201 apartment units ranging from one- to three-bedroom floor plans with higher-end interior features such as granite countertops. Each building will have garages as well as open-space parking.

The community will include a basketball court and convenient location adjacent to the Shawnee Mission Health-Blue Valley full-service hospital, Cosentino’s Market, and Bluhawk’s many shops and restaurants.

Changing retail trends drive shift in Price Brothers’ BluHawk plan

Price Brothers recently announced new plans for its $750 million, 277-acre mixed-use BluHawk development that includes a 300,000-square foot indoor multi-sport complex operated by Colorado-based Sport Stable. The $205 million, 59-acre first phase will launch with a new redesigned civic and community center and arena, indoor complex and hockey rink, as well as additional restaurant and retail.

Originally envisioned in 2006 as the home of Sporting KC, the project been modified to fit neighbors’ wishes.

“The key words here are evolve and adapt,” said Price Brothers President Doug Price. “The (professional soccer) plan didn’t pass the litmus test with taxpayers. They want only amateur sports here, and this is our response to that. It’s not a change of course, it’s more of a slight change in sporting components. It’s always been a family friendly sports, science and educational development.”

The new timeline moves the Cosmosphere project and retail outlet stores to Bluhawk’s second phase and is in response to changing consumer demands and retail shopping habits, according to Price Brothers VP of Development Bart Lowen.

“We recognize that retail has to evolve from what it was 10 years ago and can’t just be a shopping only experience. It has to move beyond that. It has to start at the periphery and offer other opportunities to experience when you are there,” Lowen said. “BluHawk will be a place where kids can go to practice, families can take in an event, visit the Cosmosphere, and enjoy the day.”

Bluhawk started going vertical in 2015 and has sold nearly all of its single-family home sites, according to a release. In addition, currently open are Shawnee Mission Health - South Overland Park, public safety administration building, Cosentino’s Market and other nearby retail, as well as the 159th & Antioch interchange.

"Bluhawk will be a place where active minds and energetic bodies can thrive. Some will call it home and some will visit frequently,” Price said. “To all, it will offer an intersection of health, knowledge and leisure. Bluhawk will be about well-being, learning and playing – a next generation destination designed for both today and tomorrow.”