Klover Architects

Lenexa's The District mixed-use offers case study on cold-formed steel construction

Construction has hit the midway point for the multifamily portion of The District at City Center, a mixed-use project that adds luxury apartments, retail and office space to the Lenexa City Center development area at 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard. 

The multifamily portion of The District includes 175 units and serves as the region’s first suburban apartment-over-retail project constructed of cold-formed steel. General Contractor Haren Laughlin Construction (HLC) is touting the benefits of the product, which uses prefabricated steel studs to shorten construction times and eliminate on-site labor while improving fire safety during construction and throughout the life of the building.

“The owners wanted to build something that they could sustain for longer than what a wood structure is going to give you, so they brought us to the table and we put together a proposal and really dove into what it was going to take - the parts and pieces - to get this built,” said Matt Fisher, pre-construction manager for HLC. 

HLC, along with design partner Klover Architects, met with potential subcontractors and chose Dahmer Contracting Group led by Dusty Dahmer because its bid was the most competitive and cost efficient. By using an "off-the-shelf" metal stud system, Dahmer said his team was able to tighten the margins so the project made financial sense for co-developers Copaken Brooks and EPC Real Estate Group. 

“The difference between wood and metal framing used to be a bigger spread, and the market’s gotten so much more efficient, so now the difference is a lot smaller,” Dahmer said. “There was a steep learning curve at the beginning of the project, but now we are cruising." 

Reuben Hamman, HLC project manager, said steel framing makes for a safer and cleaner construction site.

“It’s a lot safer product to install because everything we are building is off of a slab, so we are not three stories in the air in a multifamily area swinging stuff around,” Hamman said. “On the job site, it’s just metal and concrete, so there’s not much to clean up. The waste has been minimized and everything we do throw away is recyclable.”

Because cold-formed steel is still more expensive than wood, it isn’t likely to overtake traditional wood framing, but HLC Vice President Jeff Wasinger believes there’s plenty of potential for growth in higher-end multifamily construction.

“We think for a small premium, apartment developers get a longer lasting, better quality, safer structure,” Wasinger said. “The end result is going to be above everyone’s expectations.”

In additional to luxury residential apartments, The District adds 45,000 square feet of office and 35,000 square feet of retail space to the existing 800,000-square feet of developed space at Lenexa City Center. 

The full project team includes EPC Real Estate Group and Copaken Brooks, co-developers; Klover Architects, architect; Studio A Architecture, residential consultant; BSE, structural engineer; Latimer Sommers & Associates, mechanical design; Phelps Engineering, civil engineer- private; and GBA Architects + Engineers, civil engineering- public. John Coe and Ryan Biery of Copaken Brooks are handling the leasing for the District. 

The District at City Center seeks to fill void in Lenexa's office and retail market

Construction is officially underway for The District at City Center, a mixed-use project that brings additional luxury apartments, first-class retail and full-floor office space to the Lenexa City Center development area at 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard.

The District will add 175 luxury residential apartments, 45,000 square feet of office and 35,000 square feet of retail to the already successful Domain apartments and the recently opened Lenexa City Hall and Civic Campus.

Designed to complement the existing 800,000 square feet of retail, office and recreational mixed uses at Lenexa City Center, The District will fill a unique void in the Lenexa office and retail submarket with full floor offices for 5,000 square foot tenants plus much-needed first class retail space, according to Keith Copaken of Copaken Brooks.

“We are well underway with the District and City Center, as well as Lenexa as a whole, and are really hitting on all cylinders right now,” Copaken said.  “I’m not sure you could find a more exciting and active area in the Kansas City metro area right now.”

The District is scheduled to open in March of 2019 and is being co-developed by longtime Kansas City office and retail developer Copaken Brooks and residential lifestyle development firm EPC Real Estate Group.

“EPC is thrilled to create another development that provides convenience, connectivity and community. The District is located in a prime location adjacent to restaurants, office, the Public Market, and the Lenexa Civic Center just to name a few. People love the ability to be a short walk or drive away from an experience,” said Brendon O’Leary, EPC Real Estate Group vice president of development.

At the District's groundbreaking on Tuesday, Copaken thanked the City of Lenexa for serving as a valued partner: “None of this would be possible without the foresight, guidance and determination from the City...  Lenexa has been a great development partner in every sense of the word and every step of the way.”

Lenexa Mayor Michael Boehm said it is gratifying to watch a long-time dream take shape. 

“We could not be more pleased with all the development activity in the City Center area. It really has become what we and the community originally envisioned - the city and civic hub of the City of Lenexa,” Boehm said in a release. 

The District at City Center officially broke ground on Tuesday, September 19.

The District at City Center officially broke ground on Tuesday, September 19.

The project team for The District at City Center Lenexa includes: Copaken Brooks (Co-developer, office leasing agent & property manager), EPC Real Estate Group (Co-developer, apartment leasing agent & property manager), Klover Architects (architect), Studio A Architecture (residential consultant), BSE (structural engineer), Latimer Sommers & Associates (mechanical design), Phelps Engineering (civil engineer - private), GBA Architects Engineers (civil engineer - public), HarenLaughlin Construction (general contractor), Richard Clayton Barrett (landscape design) and Lewis Rice (legal).

For more information about The District, email Ryan Biery at rbiery@copaken-brooks.com. Or check out more about the project here

Earth-moving moment in Lee's Summit as industrial spec moves ahead

For Lee's Summit development leaders, seeing industrial spec inventory come out of the ground has often felt akin to moving mountains. That's why seeing dirt finally move at The Grove at Lee's Summit mixed-use site near M-291 and Bailey Road on the south side of the city is so gratifying.

"The Grove will allow Lee's Summit to finally 'get in the game' and compete for industrial relocation and expansion projects," said Rick McDowellLee's Summit Economic Development Council president. "Lee's Summit has not even been able to submit proposals for dozens of projects through the years simply because the city lacked viable industrial buildings."

The project's timing is just right, according to Mark Long, executive managing director of Newmark Grubb Zimmer: "The Grove is coming to the market at the same time as some key infrastructure improvements including the Bailey Road overpass and more importantly the new interchange at Highway 50 and M-291. There is a lack of available Class A product in the area, and this project will fill that gap in supply."

On Friday, local dignitaries, city staff and project partners took their shovels to the dirt, signaling the beginning of land clearance for infrastructure to support construction of The Grove's first building, a 200,000 square spec industrial facility. 

"We are excited about beginning this new chapter of development in the city of Lee's Summit. The Grove will be the premiere mixed use destination for people to work, shop and play for years to come. We are grateful to the mayor, city council, city staff and the LSEDC for supporting our vision for the future," said Steve SinghCEO and managing partner of The Grove.

The mixed-use development will include an additional 200,000 square feet of light industrial space, as well as the donation of property to the City of Lee’s Summit for a future fire station. With an upscale design loosely based upon successful, world-class properties like The Grove at LA and Santana Row in San Jose, California, The Grove promises to transform Lee’s Summit's southern gateway.

Project partners include A.L. Huber, general contractor; BHC Rhodes, civil engineering services; Klover Architects, architectural design, Newmark Grubb Zimmer, real estate broker, and White Goss, legal services.

For more information about The Grove, contact Daren Fristoe, project manager. 

California developer plans 1M SF business park in Lee’s Summit


On March 31, the Lee’s Summit City Council will deliver its decision on whether to hand over the lead development role for an 85-acre tract of land to California-based Westcott Investment Group. The developer is planning a 1 million-square-foot business park, consisting of commercial office, warehouse, and light manufacturing space. If all goes as planned, Westcott would commence construction on the first phase of 200,000 square feet by the summer of 2017.

Last week, Westcott asked the Lee’s Summit City Council to approve the assignment of development rights granted to Exergonic LLC in 2011 through a public/private partnership development agreement. The City Council voted to direct staff to draft the documents necessary for the assignment to Westcott to take place; That assignment heads back to City Council on March 31 for approval.

Westcott is associated with Diede Construction Inc., a firm with 15 million square feet under management. The local team for Westcott includes Aaron March with White Goss, Daren Fristoe, Jon Plaas, Danny Potts of Klover Architects, and Ryan Elam of BHC Rhodes.

Westcott CEO Steve Singh said Lee’s Summit is a perfect development fit for his firm.

“Approximately two years ago, Westcott began the due diligence process on a potential site for a development in Lee’s Summit. We were drawn to the area by the city’s core strengths of premier health care, schools, parks, historic downtown and the need for additional locally-based employers,” Singh said. “Through our discussions with Exergonix, we determined this specific location as the optimum starting point to deliver the first step in an expansive mixed-use development, ultimately resulting in the creation of new jobs. With our proven development track record, we look forward to partnering with the City of Lee’s Summit and bringing The Grove at Lee’s Summit to fruition.”