Crossroads Arts District

BacklotCars shifts downtown to KC's Lightwell Building

BacklotCars, a wholesale auto inventory service provider currently located in the Crossroads, will be moving to the the newly rebranded Lightwell Building at 12th and Main in August.

With the recent signing of the 20,000 SF full-floor lease agreement, Somera Road and their partner AREA Real Estate Advisors, added the second major tenant following a landmark lease agreement with WeWork.

Lightwell currently boasts 180,000 SF of contiguous availability, the largest existing block of space in downtown Kansas City.

“When we saw the vision Somera Road and AREA Real Estate Advisors had for the Lightwell project, we knew it was something we had to be a part of,” said Josh Parsons, BacklotCars founder/ COO.

“The location, design and amenities of the project are exactly what is needed to attract the top tech talent to Kansas City. We are very excited to be moving into the new Lightwell Building and feel that it will be a great place for our ever-growing team to call home,” Parsons said.

BacklotCars is a significant disrupter of the wholesale automotive space, and recently closed a $25 million Series B funding round. The company seeks to ease pain points for automotive dealers though building one wholesale platform for all dealers to transact efficiently.

“BacklotCars is exactly the type of forward-thinking technology company that understands what we’re creating at the Lightwell. They’re a major contributor to Kansas City’s growing technology ecosystem and we’re excited to provide them with a home that’ll enable their next phase of growth.” said Basel Bataineh, Somera Road vice president.

“With its fantastic bones and premier location, we believed that Lightwell would attract the fastest-growing segments of employment including tech, marketing, and creative-driven companies. BacklotCars is certainly a great example of what we thought would happen,” said Tim Schaffer, AREA Real Estate Advisors president.

HOK and JE Dunn joined AREA and Somera Road on the renovation.

After Action Network plans community campus in Crossroads Arts District

CTK Real Estate is partnering with After Action Network to open a new community campus serving veterans and their families in the Crossroads Arts District. Located at 512 Southwest Boulevard, the campus will include The Garrison Café powered by The Roasterie and is the first physical location for the charity founded by Joey Williams, a local marine whose military career suddenly ended after a serious injury.

“My recovery was long and difficult. Although it was a dark time, my recovery ultimately led me into the Arts, which added a new purpose and direction to my life,” Williams said. “I founded After Action Network to help other veterans find their passion as well.”

Williams began his outreach with a website designed to bring Veterans and the community together, but the high level of traffic generated by the site led him to begin dreaming of opening a physical gathering place where veterans and civilians could make meaningful connections through a variety of programs and events. Williams shared his vision with Chris Kamberis, founder of CTK Real Estate, and the team worked together to bring the project from concept to campus.

“It has been gratifying to work with Joey as he takes After Action Network to the next level with a physical location,” said Kamberis, a national commercial and multifamily real estate developer based in Kansas City. “After Action Network will help countless veterans regain confidence and purpose as they assimilate back to civilian life.”

The Garrison Café powered by The Roasterie will serve the Reveille specialty blend coffee roasted exclusively for After Action Network. The Reveille blend will be sold by local retailers and online at TheRoasterie.com, with 10 percent of proceeds going directly to veterans and their families.

“The Roasterie is honored to be part of this very special collaboration,” said The Roasterie Founder Danny O’Neill. “Meaningful community involvement has been an integral cornerstone of our company since we opened in Kansas City 25 years ago. When I met Joey and heard his story and vision, I knew instantly the After Action Network campus aligns with our passion for serving a city we dearly love. The Roasterie Team is proud to have our coffee served in The Garrison Café.”

For more information, visit afteractionnetwork.org. To learn more about CTK Real Estate, visit ctkrealestate.com.

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