JE Dunn Construction

VanTrust, JE Dunn, and HOK partnership takes flight with TIA deal

VanTrust Real Estate, JE Dunn Construction Co., and HOK have leveraged their collective strength in the Kansas City market land a large-scale office development project adjacent to Tampa International Airport (TIA).  

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (HCAA) awarded a contract to VanTrust to develop a 9-story, 270,000-square foot office building near TIA, which served 21 million passengers in 2018. The tower will be the first commercial structure linked to the airport by a people mover.

“This will be a Class A office building in an excellent location with unrivaled access to Tampa International Airport,” said TIA Executive Vice President Chris Minner. “With easy connectivity to the Airport, downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, this is really the ideal location for a wide range of companies.”

Located in a prime spot in the new SkyCenter development, the building will feature an elevated pedestrian walkway connecting its atrium to the SkyConnect station at the airport’s rental car center. Other amenities include a conference center, fitness center, café and access to multipurpose trails that will eventually join with Tampa Bay’s regional trail network.

 The building will serve as the primary home for HCAA employees and will comprise the nerve center for all airport operations. By relocating its in-terminal offices to the new building, HCAA is making way for expanded curbside service, with express lanes for passengers who aren’t checking bags.

Construction should be completed in 2021. VanTrust is leading development of the office building and adjacent parking garage; J.E. Dunn will provide construction services of the office building, and HOK will handle design. 

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.

Five minutes with JE Dunn MW President Paul Neidlein

Paul Neidlein stepped into the role of Midwest region president for JE Dunn Construction on January 1. The 22-year veteran of the Kansas City construction industry succeeded Dirk Schafer, who retired from Kansas City's top construction company in December. 

MetroWire Media caught up with Neidlein to take his pulse on the 2018 market and beyond:

MWM: What do you expect from the market in the next 18-24 months?

Neidlein: We feel good about 2018. In Kansas City, as well as in every market that we have an office, the arrow is pointed straight up. It will be a record year and 2019 will be as well. I'm not smart enough to predict after that.

MWM: Where does JE Dunn see the most short-term growth potential?

Neidlein: We feel bullish about federal work because we have done a fair amount of it, and JE Dunn has even started a separate federal group to manage those projects. Government facilities are a growth area for us. Part of that is strategic from a diversity standpoint because public work can help balance things out when the corporate side slows down. Anything and everything related to health care has been steady, including medical office. 

MWM: Historically, public projects have been JE Dunn's bread and butter. Do you expect that to continue?

Neidlein: Public projects remain a leading area for us. We still think there is a fairly large program being planned in Missouri with construction of state prisons and county jails. Municipal work on civic centers and community centers still looks pretty positive for us too.

MWM: What do you see as a market headwind?

Neidlein: There is a healthy skepticism about how long this boom is going to last. We will see major players get into trouble and get overextended. It goes back to the capacity side of things. Creditworthiness becomes more important when you think everything is good. 

MWM: What is the impact of all this activity on the trade contractors?

Neidlein: Contractor supply and workforce issues are real. The biggest issue is the capacity of individual companies and labor and what that does to pricing and availability.

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