Jon Copaken

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.

KC developers and brokers weigh in after KC voters clear #NewKCI for takeoff

Kansas City, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved public financing for a new $1 billion single-terminal design for KCI. Local development leaders mounted a warrior-like effort to build the case for a new airport over the past month, educating voters about funding and regional business benefits.

Here’s what some of the region’s leading brokers and developers are saying about the vote:

"The new airport should be a big benefit to Kansas City in terms of business development in tourism. Right now connecting airlines are simply avoiding Kansas City, but in the future Kansas City will see increased connections and increased air traffic, and this will be great for new businesses that want to locate in our community." Ken Block, Managing Principal, Block Real Estate Services LLC

“The new KCI terminal is a very important step to for our metropolitan area to continue to compete and bring new business to the region.” Mike Klamm, Managing Director, CBRE

“A new airport will put us in a position to achieve better connections to other major cities. That’s a must if we expect to attract and sustain Fortune 1000 companies.” Owen Buckley, President, LANE4 Property Group, Inc.

"KCI airport is Kansas City’s 'front door' for both new companies considering a relocation or expansion of their operations. The convenience of direct flights to more destinations will result in more companies locating their central or regional distribution facilities in Kansas City.” -Ora Reynolds, President and CEO, Hunt Midwest

“The city government, civic and business communities put the time in to explain the importance of the vote, and the public responded.” -Jon Copaken, Principal, Copaken Brooks

“I am impressed by the effort of our Kansas City civic leaders. (This is similar to) bi-state or streetcar or other major big momentum changers, but this one is more important. Very big day for KC.” -Mark Long, Executive Managing Director/Principal, Newmark Grubb Zimmer

“This is a great day for the entire Kansas City metro area. The promise of a new KCI will have an immediate effect on our entire community, as we continue our steady ascent up the nationwide ladder of ‘best places to live and work’. Way to go KCMO voters!” -Nathan Anderson, NAI Heartland

“The new single terminal promises to usher in a wide array of new opportunities for the entire region. I’m excited for what that means for our city’s ability to grow and attract new businesses to the area.” –Russell Pearson, NAI Heartland

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

Corrigan welcomes top chef's new concept

Corrigan welcomes top chef's new concept

“We had hoped to find a chef-driven restaurant tenant that could really maximize the incredible first floor space, and having one with such a strong background that is locally owned and supported is very exciting,” said Jon Copaken, co-developer and principal at Copaken Brooks.