CBC Real Estate

Lenexa Civic Center is main dish at October CREW KC luncheon

Construction and project updates for Lenexa’s landmark $75 million, 200,000-square foot Civic Center development were on the menu at CREW KC’s quarterly luncheon, with project managers from the City of Lenexa, PGAV Architects, JE Dunn Construction and CBC Real Estate Group offering insight into everything from design challenges to project timelines.

Beccy Yocham, City of Lenexa director of community development, provided an overview of the multi-use project at 87th Street and Renner Blvd. In July, the new City Hall and Recreation Center opened, followed by the Lenexa Public Market in September. By the end of the year, construction will begin on a new branch of the Johnson County Library, as well as a $22 million Shawnee Mission School District aquatic facility and parking garage just north of the civic campus.

Jennifer Goeke, project manager for PGAV Architects, and Susan Schaefer, senior project manager for JE Dunn Construction, provided insight into the meticulous care and challenges involved in the design and construction process.

“Our goal was to create a unique sense of place for the City of Lenexa with pedestrian connectivity and really ‘activating the streets.' " Goeke said. “There was a lot of intent involved with the selection of materials and overall design to express the different components of the City Hall, Public Market and Recreation Center. One of the challenges was incorporating building services such as transformers, trash, utilities and loading docks because the buildings in this project don’t have a back side. They are all 360 degrees facing either public plazas or neighboring developments.”

Constructibility challenges included the 5-story, 500-space parking garage with a slight bend along 88th Street to maximize space within the project site. “This slight kink in the garage design added a month to the engineering process and at least a week to the erection process,” Schaefer said. "This was a 100 percent collaborative effort from beginning to end."

The collaborative spirit helped create friendships that made for a bittersweet conclusion to the massive three-year project, according to Michelle Kaiser, senior project manager for owner’s representative CBC Real Estate Group.

“The team spent a lot of time together over a two or three-year period, working all day and then bonding at Happy Hour ‘work sessions.' " Kaiser said. “It’s sad when you end such a great project after working with such a great team. There’s a bit of a let-down.”

Lenexa Civic Center is part of Lenexa City Center, a 200-acre, mixed-use development spanning all four corners of 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard. For more information, click here.

Lenexa Director of Dommunity Development Beccy Yocham teed up discussion of the Lenexa Civic Center project at  CREW KC 's quarterly luncheon at  Grand Street Cafe .

Lenexa Director of Dommunity Development Beccy Yocham teed up discussion of the Lenexa Civic Center project at CREW KC's quarterly luncheon at Grand Street Cafe.

Downtown reuse, suburban build-to-suit and coworking trend dominate MWM Office Summit

Downtown adaptive reuse projects, suburban build-to-suit, and the explosive coworking trend are among bright spots in the Kansas City regional office market, according to panelists at MetroWireMedia's 2017 Office Summit on June 6 at The Grand Hall at Power & Light.

The redeveloped Corrigan Station project along the new Downtown streetcar line is considered the poster child for successful adaptive reuse projects in the region. Developed on a speculative basis by Copaken Brooks, Corrigan Station reached full occupancy within months of opening with the announcement that national coworking company WeWork would join Hollis + Miller Architects in the historic Crossroads building.

“Downtown is very authentic, and that’s the kind of environment that people want,” said Copaken Brooks Principal Jon Copaken. “So we will continue to be focused on the city center where people can move and use nearby amenities.”

While the tech-friendly vibe of Downtown and the Crossroads Arts District continue to attract creative relocation and expansion projects, the suburban office market-- driven by medical office demand-- is gaining momentum of its own.

“The interesting phenomena here is that we are all excited about what’s going on Downtown and the coworking opportunities, but demand for office space in the suburbs is still robust,” said Suzanne Dimmel, director at Cushman & Wakefield. “There’s up to 4 million square feet of planned office space in the suburbs currently on the horizon.”

Rick Baier, principal with CBC Real Estate Group, also sees opportunity in suburban office market development because of speed to market: “It’s hard for me to invest three or four years in a redevelopment project in the urban core," Baier said.

Whether urban core redevelopment or suburban build-to-suit, a key driver for companies continues to be access to amenities and technology investments demanded by the Millennial workforce.

“Millennials want a sense of place and a sense of culture. A lot of us just coming out of college want a campus environment. Being in a place where that is available is huge,” said JE Dunn Construction’s Jon Dandurand, the panel’s self-proclaimed resident Millennial.

Helix Architecture + Design Principal Erika Moody agreed that the rising Millennial workforce continues to drive design trends, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“What they are charging us with is a better work environment. They want the ability to take a break from work but also have a place for private focus. These aren’t necessarily things that relate to one generation or another. It is about how we each recharge,” Moody said. “And with a lot of the trends that we are seeing, if the Millennials are getting us outside and offering more access to amenities, I am all for that.”

Gerald Smith, founder of Kansas City coworking company Plexpod, served as guest speaker for the 2017 Office Summit. Matt Eckert of CBRE also served as a panelist.  

Check out the event slideshow below. All photos courtesy of Jacia Phillips, ArchPhotoKC

Q&A with CBC Real Estate’s Rick Baier

Q&A with CBC Real Estate’s Rick Baier

Rick Baier is the “B” in CBC Real Estate Company and is one of the partners at US Federal Properties. Under these two companies, Baier has become one of the top medical and federal property developers in the country, developing 150 million square feet each year. Recently at a Kansas City chapter meeting of CCIM, Baier shared details on the companies’ latest activity and shared his insight on a host of local issues.