CBRE

Insight: KC CRE pros use tech tools to improve outcomes

By Erik Dolan-Del Vecchio | Content Contributor

On the way to becoming an investment sales broker at CBRE, Holly Mills was a commercial appraiser for over a decade, which explains a lot.

Mills’ analytical background is integral to her approach to commercial property sales and leasing. Clients say her data-driven insights inform and equip them to understand the benefits of different alternatives, be it for an investment property to purchase, a corporate location to occupy or a space to lease.

State-of-the-art technology helps Mills, a CBRE vice president, collect, sift, sort and track voluminous amounts of data and information. She uses the firm’s proprietary commercial real estate relationship management software to track spaces, tenants, properties, owners, buyers and milestone dates of opportunities coming up… “things I need to track to make me more productive,” she says.

Mills also makes frequent use of mapping tools to help clients visualize data points. She tells the story of helping a physical therapy medical practice plan an expansion involving as many as 10 locations in three years. Mapping tools with demographic information overlaying locations and radius maps helped her provide points of comparison for the client to determine the locations that would be accretive to their market.

Accessing Information from Anywhere on the Fly

Bob Galamba, senior vice president of Colliers in Kansas City, agrees that technology propels his business every day, accelerating transactions and reducing friction along the way.

Galamba’s focus primarily is multifamily, including existing assets and land with a multifamily component.

He and his team track people and prospects in Apto, the leading commercial real estate software for brokers, and use Smartsheet collaboration software to share information and facilitate communication so everyone’s on the same wavelength and has the benefit of the intelligence. Historical data on people, and shared documents such as letters of intent, can be accessed from anywhere on the fly.

For deal management with clients, Galamba uses Real Capital Market’s Deal Rooms, in which he can maintain property marketing pieces, confidentiality agreements, offering memorandums and more.

 “As a property remains on the market or a deal progresses, you’re still updating financials each month and rent rolls, and able to share that information with buyers who have expressed interest. It also provides a reason to reach out and contact prospects, and a seamless way to keep all the [transaction] information updated and together.”

Notably, Apto and Real Capital Markets are software integration partners, which facilitates information sharing and reduces redundant data entry between the two services.

Blockchain and Predictive Analytics are Game-Changers for Real Estate

Laird Goldsborough is no stranger to information and technology either. Information is the chief currency of his business, which is determining the value of real estate and advising clients on all manner of real estate and investment decisions as senior managing director of the regional office of Valbridge Property Advisors.

Goldsborough relies on a variety of technology tools and services, including demographic information from CCIM’s Site to do Business. He sees technology as helping to make real estate information more transparent and properties faster to transact.

Goldsborough describes blockchain technology, fast evolving, as a game-changer for real estate. He calls blockchain “distributed ledger technology” that allows all participants in the chain (versus one person) to have access to information. With blockchain, Goldsborough says, everyone owns the information, which removes opacity and thus risk.

If information on real estate assets becomes more transparent, not only will sales happen faster, but more buyers will become attracted to the asset class, which would expand the market for investors.

The commercial real estate sales cycle is too long, Goldsborough says. If you want to accelerate the sales cycle, unmask the information, which would speed up and standardize the process of trading assets, akin to trading Apple shares in the stock market.

The other technology Goldsborough sees as on the verge of benefitting real estate professionals is predictive analytics, a form of artificial intelligence. 

“You have a huge pool of data on real estate and sales and markets — a lake with minnows and trout and sharks. If we allow a machine to go out and fish out what we need, we could make better predictions based on historic data and cycles,” he says.

The result: “As an appraiser I’ll be able to give you a value today and look back and with a much higher degree of accuracy suggest what the building may be worth three years from now.”

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.

Unique incentive, multi-tenant footprint attract companies to Hunt Midwest Business Center

Hunt Midwest is seeing strong leasing activity for two Class A industrial buildings at Hunt Midwest Business Center (HMBC), a 2,500-acre commercial development in Clay County at I-435 and Parvin Road.

Four new tenants totaling about 250,000 square feet are leasing space in HMBC Logistics I and II, including American Tire Distributors Inc.ORBIS CorporationSpartan Motors, Inc., as well as a leading supplier to the e-commerce industry set to open in April.

Each tenant qualified for a 100 percent, 25-year tax abatement. According to CBRE’s Austin Baier, who handles leasing for the buildings, the Enhanced Enterprise Zone incentive is helping close deals.

"The unique tax abatement available at HMBC really gets the attention of warehouse users. Once a tenant qualifies, then the whole building is qualified, so both HMBC Logistics I and II are solidified and locked in. That guarantees companies a true 100 percent tax abatement for 25 years," Baier said. 

Mike Bell, Hunt Midwest vice president of commercial real estate, agreed: "The EEZ is a game changer for companies looking to locate in HMBC. With the tax incentives offered, companies are benefiting greatly from substantial savings."

The robust leasing activity validates Hunt Midwest’s strategic decision to invest in multi-tenant facilities geared to tenants starting at 40,000 square feet, according to Hunt Midwest President and CEO Ora Reynolds. The strategy has been so successful, a third multi-tenant building is on the books.

"Phase 5 of the Hunt Midwest Business Center includes a third 200,000 SF multi-tenant building along with room for additional buildings ranging from 450,000 to 1.2 million square feet. As businesses grow, we will have the inventory to meet their growing demands within HMBC," Reynolds said.

Hunt Midwest co-developed the buildings with Chicago-based HSA Commercial

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