Colliers

Oggi Lofts redevelopment brings 25 market rate units to downtown KC

The former Oggi Modern Furnishings building at 600 Central St. in downtown Kansas City’s former Garment District has found new life as Oggi Lofts, a 25-unit market-rate apartment project.

Ted Murray of Colliers International teamed up with Andy Homoly of Homoly Construction on the $6.7 million redevelopment designed by architecture firm Clockwork Architecture + Design. Rosin Preservation helped secure historic tax credits for conversion of the 110-year old, five-story brick building located on the National Register of Historic Places.

As with any historic redevelopment, Oggi Lofts offered its share of surprises and conundrums.

“Anytime you get into an older building that needs to be gutted, there are always surprises,” said Murray, who pursued the project independent of his role as Co-CEO of Colliers’ Kansas City office. “This project was so different and really created a need for problem solving during the construction process.”

For example, the building’s entire stair tower required full replacement, yet historic preservation standards required that the original hardwood flooring remain. Another hurdle involved successfully obtaining approval from the National Park Service to add windows on the north side of the brick building. But perhaps the biggest challenge involved designing and constructing units around the building’s many columns, which could not be touched in the name of structural integrity.

“We had to conserve space, and Andy (Homoly) and the construction team really thought through how to integrate all the vertical columns into the various units,” Murray told MetroWire Media during a tour of the project.

A hallmark of Oggi Lofts is a rooftop deck with panoramic views of the Missouri River, and Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport. The property includes a basement fitness center and dedicated storage units as well as on-street parking and door locks and utilities with smartphone access. With rents between $1,000 to $2,265, each unit includes hardwood flooring, onyx countertops, and washer/dryer.

For Murray, the historic redevelopment was a refreshing departure from his work with Colliers, which involves primarily office, retail and industrial leasing and sales.

“This has been so much fun,” Murray said. “I love downtown and I’m just thrilled with how this turned out. It’s been a labor of love.”

Oggi Modern Furnishings vacated the property in 2007. Tax abatements were approved through Kansas City’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA).

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.”

Wichita developer sets sights on upscale office park near Lenexa City Center

Wichita-based Vantage Point Properties has entered the Kansas City market, announcing plans to develop Reflections at City Center, a sprawling Class A office complex in Lenexa.

"Our vision is to create an environment that is both aesthetically and functionally different from any other office park in the Kansas City area," said Paul Jackson, president and founder of Vantage Point Properties. "Every detail - walkable paths, architectural lighting, and sculptures - will come together to create a comfortable, enjoyable place to work."

The commercial real estate company just closed on 32 acres at I-435 and Renner Road and envisions a walkable, upscale 315,000-square foot campus featuring reflection pools and three restaurants. The Lenexa City Council has approved tax increment financing for the project, which will break ground pending identification of an anchor tenant. 

"The project will provide a unique opportunity for a company to come in and make the site their own," Jackson said. "They will really be able to create their own footprint here. We're ready to make a deal happen with the right partner."

Jackson, who co-founded Vantage Point Properties in 1992, sees opportunity in the relatively stable Kansas City market.

"It has a track record of steady growth," Jackson said. "And Lenexa is the perfect spot for our first project."

Matt Stover and Tracy Wilson of Colliers are marketing the property for lease. 

'Resmercial,' blurred lines between office and home dominate Big KC Office Trend discussion

Office efficiencies and the blending of boundaries between home and work were among trends tackled by panelists at MetroWire Media's Big KC Office Trends event on March 29 at WeWork.

Check out a snapshot of talking points from the panel discussion led by JE Dunn Vice President Jon Dandurand

"Efficiency is the game now. When you have a market that is really tight like this one is, you have rents increasing. Companies are always looking for ways to keep their costs down, so I would say they are getting a lot more efficient. It used to be an average of 200-250 square feet per person, and we are now seeing 150-200 square feet per person, and I see that trend continuing as companies get a lot smarter with their space going forward." -Rollie Fors, Colliers

"Creating a living room and a more residential feeling in the office environment is completely on trend and where things are going. That living room-style space really supports workers and their activities. Sometimes those common spaces are almost an afterthought. We spend so much time thinking about the workspace and then get to the end and think, 'let's throw a sofa and couple chairs in there' ... If we start planning those common spaces and shared amenities first, then you can really create dynamic spaces." -Stacey Roth, Scott Rice

"Engagement is one of the biggest topics we discuss with clients these days. It's interesting how space really can affect positively or negatively the connection you have with people on your team and clients. So what we find is the more we can create spaces within your place and give people the choice and control of how they work and when they work then we find the engagement level can be improved." -Trevor Hoiland, Burns & McDonnell

"The demographics are not changing how we work. The difference is coming from technology. that it is proliferating the hours We work from 5 am when we wake up to midnight when we go to bed, and It means our office space is becoming more like home and our home is becoming more like office space. It's creating a different type of product." -Aaron Schlagel, Ryan Companies

"Workspace efficiency has really changed the way companies look for space. From a development landowner perspective, we try to build amenities like rooftop patios into all of our projects as well as plenty of unique spaces outside the usual tenant footprint, so for example employees can enjoy getting away from their offices with shared conference rooms versus dedicated conference rooms." -Vince Bryant, 3D Development

Check out an event slideshow below. Photos by ArchPhotoKC.