KCADC

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.

SubTropolis emerges as leading logistics location for animal health industry

Hunt Midwest SubTropolis is carving out a niche in the animal health logistics space, growing its veterinary industry footprint to 250,000 square feet. Over the past 12 months, three animal health companies - French veterinary pharmaceutical company Virbac, Ceva Animal Health, and IodiTech - have announced new or expanded warehouse and distribution operations in SubTropolis, which offers commissioned facilities in a naturally cool underground environment.

“SubTropolis is the total package for animal health companies and their unique requirements for product safety and climate control, providing significant operational cost efficiencies,” said Hunt Midwest President and CEO Ora Reynolds.

Virbac is currently consolidating its North American product warehousing and distribution operations in the underground business complex. According to Virbac President and CEO Paul R. Hays, the SubTropolis location will help the 8th largest veterinary pharmaceutical company better align itself within the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, which churns out more than half of the sales generated by the global animal health industry.

“By bringing processes and people together at this Kansas City facility, we are boosting collaboration and efficiency within our manufacturing operations," Hays said. 

In addition, Ceva Animal Health and IodiTech Inc. both announced expansions in the Energy Star rated facility over the past year. Hunt Midwest Vice President Mike Bell attributes SubTropolis' success in the animal health space to a "compelling value proposition" for companies that must adhere to industry product standards by maintaining strict temperature and humidity levels.

“The underground’s protective layer of limestone essentially offers ‘natural’ cooling that saves companies between 70 and 80 percent on utilities and equipment compared to a building on the surface,” Bell said. “There’s an ‘Aha Moment’ when companies fully realize how a SubTropolis location can substantially improve their bottom line.”

Ceva Animal Health is a case in point. CEO Craig Wallace says that consistent conditions and the ability to easily expand underground were two key reasons Ceva chose SubTropolis for a new North American warehouse and distribution center in 2015. Within a year, Ceva had outgrown its space and was able to quickly scale up to meet ongoing demand. 

“The underground location is a great solution for Ceva’s current and future warehousing needs,” Wallace said. “As we add products and expand into new categories, we require scalable space and partners like Hunt Midwest who can accommodate our growth and evolve with us.”

Kansas City-based IodiTech Inc. opened a distribution operation in SubTropolis in 2016. The company manufactures and ships a variety of iodine derivatives – including animal feed minerals – throughout North America and the world.

“The ability to ship to up to 85 percent of the U.S. within two days was of critical importance,” IodiTech President Curtis Thomas said. “Our location in SubTropolis is the perfect complement to our nearby manufacturing facility.”

The growing collection of animal health assets within SubTropolis is creating an “industry cluster within a cluster” for Kansas City’s Animal Health Corridor, which will hold its annual Animal Health Investor Forum and Animal Health Homecoming Dinner August 28-29.

“Hunt Midwest SubTropolis is a valued strategic partner as we work on behalf of the Kansas City Area Development Council to attract global animal health companies to the Greater Kansas City region,” said Kimberly Young, president of the KC Animal Health Corridor.