Paragon Star rendering courtesy of Finkle + Williams.
Cerner has plugged into the Kansas City commercial real estate market, teaming up with Cushman & Wakefield to rebrand and launch the Lee’s Summit Integration Campus (LSIC), a 500,000-square foot tech hub at 777 NW Blue Parkway. Brokers were invited to a Feb. 14 luncheon and tour of the project, which comprises the north building of the former Summit Technology Campus (STC).
“We think it’s important that all of you know, as you bring prospects through, that this project carries with it quality ownership (Cerner) that is committed to providing a quality tenant experience and the promotion of health and wellness,” Cushman & Wakefield Director Suzanne Dimmel told brokers. “STC at one time was under one ownership, but the campus’ south building is now owned by a private group, and Cerner owns the north building, or LSIC.”
The rebranding effort includes brightly colored marketing materials and planned signage with the tagline, “The convergence of power, data, technology, people and community.” Current tenants include large data center and call center operations, with available space ranging from 5,000 to 147,000 square feet.
Recently added amenities include a remodeled cafeteria and employee lounge with flat-screen TVs, and a fitness track with “wayfinding corners” to track physical activity is in the works. Tenant signage options are available at LSIC’s various entrances, which are easily accessible to abundant surface parking.
“This campus has a bright future, and we have a lot of great space available here,” CushWake associate Leonard Popplewell said, adding that prospective tenants can receive smartphone-accessible 2D and 3D interactive conceptual floor plans tailored to their needs.
Jill McCarthy, vice president of corporate attraction for the Kansas City Area Development Council, told brokers that LSIC will be shared with site selectors and out-of-town companies scouting locations in the metro area.
“There’s a lot of project activity right now,” McCarthy said. “We are doing a lot to showcase buildings like this, and this type of product gives us something to talk about when speaking with clients and consultants.”
Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council President and CEO Rick McDowell reminded brokers of incentive options available, proximity to a strong workforce, and local education system that includes an award-winning K-12 school district, community college and 4-year college. Lee’s Summit Mayor Bill Baird thanked Cerner for its investment and presence in the community and reiterated the City’s pro-business environment.
CushWake is offering an incentive to brokers who bring the campus its first 20,000+ square foot deals: A free trip to Scottsdale or San Diego in the form of a $5,000 trip credit. The event included lunch catered by Third Street Social and guided tours.
About 100 economic developers from throughout the Midwest toured the City of Lee's Summit as part of a weeklong "Economic Development 101" course study on Tuesday, April 24.
Sanctioned by the International Economic Development Council, the week-long Heartland Economic Development Course (HEDC) is offered through the University of Northern Iowa. The 2018 program was held at Adams Pointe Conference Center in Blue Springs, Mo.
Each year, the program gives students a chance to "See What Works" by highlighting a community that has successfully implemented critical components of community and economic development. On April 24, students toured Lee's Summit where they experienced a "walking case study" of effective infrastructure, land use, site development and reuse/downtown revitalization.
"This year's tour focused on Lee's Summit's successful educational ecosystem that includes the Missouri Innovation Campus and Summit Technology Academy, as well as Historic Downtown Lee's Summit," said LSEDC President Rick McDowell. "Business owners and civic leaders served as volunteer tour guides and offered insight into what has led to Lee's Summit's successful development efforts."
For more than a decade, the HEDC has offered intensive training in the basic concepts, information, methods and strategies of local economic development. Graduation from HEDC fulfills one of the education prerequisites for those who wish to obtain Certified Economic Development (CEcD) designation.
“Our purpose was to come and hear about what has been going on in Lee’s Summit both from a workforce development and historic redevelopment standpoint. It is a powerful success story in the economic development world,” said James Hoelscher, course director. “In addition, our students are also very interested in all of the mixed-use activity taking place near the Missouri Innovation Campus.”
Over the course of a week, students receive expert instruction on economic development fundamentals such as business retention/expansion, workforce development, entrepreneurship, marketing, business attraction, real estate development/reuse and financing. Attendees work in a wide range of organizations, including cities, chambers of commerce, economic development groups, neighborhood organizations and incentive granting agencies.
The stabilization of four historic buildings at Lee’s Summit’s Longview Farm has been completed, setting the stage for full restoration of several structures central to the former show farm’s future redevelopment.
“These buildings serve as a historic cornerstone for Lee’s Summit’s New Longview development area and its $80 million in ongoing housing and commercial projects,” said Mark Moberly, Director of Development with Sunflower Development Group.
The stabilization project included structural repairs and weatherization related work to prevent further deterioration of two red-roofed barns, a farm house, a dairy manger house, and the show farm’s signature arch on the north end of the property.
The City of Lee’s Summit, along with Mariner Real Estate Management, now called Platform Ventures, and Sunflower Development Group, used tax-increment financing to cover costs of the stabilization effort. Full restoration projects will be completed with assistance from TIF district revenues to fund the additional improvements.
The City of Lee’s Summit worked with developers to inspect, plan and design the stabilization work, which will help ensure responsible redevelopment of both Longview Farms and the New Longview area, according to Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads “Because historic redevelopment can be complicated and costly, the City was mindful of not over-investing in these structures. The goal was to stabilize, weatherize and shore up the buildings in anticipation of future investment,” said Mayor Rhoads.
In December, Sunflower Development Group announced it would complete $3 million in renovations to the 101-year-old Longview Mansion, 1200 SW Longview Park Dr., by late 2018.
Sunflower Development Group is known for historic restorations of several downtown Kansas City properties, including conversions to hotel, housing and other commercial uses.
Sunflower will secure private financing for the restorations, but public financial support is still needed to cover the extraordinary costs associated with stabilizing and rehabilitating the unique structures, according to Moberly.
“Working with the City of Lee’s Summit, State of Missouri and National Parks Service to secure the TIF and historic tax credits is extremely important due to the financial gap that exists with rehabilitating each property,” Moberly said.
While work on the Mansion began in February, the timeline for full rehabilitation of the remaining structures is uncertain due to the need for significant new construction commercial projects in the TIF, like a new theater, to happen first.
Sunflower Development Group maintains ownership of buildings it restores and leases them to tenants.
**Picture provided by Sunflower Development Group
The City of Lee’s Summit could support up to 2,300 additional market rate apartments over the next decade beyond existing supply or projects in the pipeline, according to a 2017 multi-family housing study commissioned by the Lee’s Summit City Council and conducted by Vogt Strategic Insights.
“Lee’s Summit continues to see strong activity and interest in multi-family construction, and this study will help inform the city’s economic development decisions as it considers future projects,” Ryan Elam, director of the Lee’s Summit Development Center, said in a release.
Multi-family construction in Lee’s Summit dried up after the 2008 housing crisis but saw signs of life in 2016 when NorthPoint Development opened The Residences at New Longview, a 309-unit, luxury apartment community that saw the developer’s fastest lease-up to date.
“New Longview’s success essentially became a proof-of-concept for Lee’s Summit multi-family development, leading to a sharp uptick in permits and proposed projects,” said Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council President Rick McDowell. “In 2016, the city approved five new apartment complexes, for a total of more than 1,400 living units.”
The study found that Lee’s Summit’s existing market is very strong with a 98.4 percent occupancy rate, with about 30 percent of renters coming from outside the area. In addition to identifying strong capacity for market-rate apartment development, the study found that Lee’s Summit could support up to 503 additional units of age-restricted housing, as well as up to 400 additional units of affordable apartments.
To conduct the study, Vogt Strategic Insights completed a field survey of 27 apartment projects in Lee’s Summit and 101 projects throughout the region, comparing rents and amenities among more than 22,000 rental units in Independence, Blue Springs, Grandview, Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, and Lee’s Summit.
The 200-page housing study considered factors such as demographics, population growth forecasts, household income and the regional suburban Kansas City apartment market, and used a conservative 4.4 percent predicted growth in households over the next 10 years.