MC Realty Group

KCP&L program lights up MC Realty's energy efficiency effort

With more than 3.5 million square feet of commercial property in downtown Kansas City, MC Realty Group is well-known for its success in revitalizing dozens of abandoned and obsolete buildings. But in recent years, the parent company of DST Realty Inc. and Financial Holding Corp. has quietly made energy efficiency a priority within its portfolio of historic, renovated properties.

“We were looking for ways to make our properties safer, more comfortable, and more energy efficient for our tenants,” MC Realty Vice President of Operations Tom Corso said. “We realized that one of the few costs we can control is energy.”

MC Realty has worked closely with KCP&L to identify, prioritize and complete 31 energy efficiency projects in recent years, taking advantage of the utility’s substantial rebate program. By improving HVAC and cooling towers and adding energy saving features like LED lighting to parking garages and elevators, the upgrades have earned MC Realty almost $2 million in rebates from KCP&L and saved its properties an estimated 4.2 million kWh a year.

In addition to cutting energy costs, MC Realty has saved money on maintenance and replacement expenses because LED lighting lasts longer than old lamp or ballast lighting.

“I’d highly recommend KCP&L’s rebate program to other property management firms,” Corso said. “It’s very simple, and they’re easy to work with. Projects that didn’t make sense beforehand make sense after the rebate.”

For more information about the rebate program, visit kcpl.com/mybusiness

ULI 2017 Developments of Distinction: 10th & Wyandotte Parking Garage

The 10th & Wyandotte Parking Garage replaced a blighted, 30-year old parking garage at a busy intersection in Downtown Kansas City. Because the structure was an integral part of the neighborhood with high visibility, BNIM enlisted the support of artist Andy Brayman to quite literally breathe art into the design of the parking garage. 

"(BNIM was) interested in having an artist work on the project and not have it be just sort of a piece made that would be tacked onto the garage at the end. The thought of (the art) kind of being integrated into the process early on seemed really different to me and really exciting," Brayman said.

The goal was to create a structure that contributes to the neighborhood and environment rather than merely serving as a placeholder. 

"It was just an opportunity within the garage to do something fun and unique and interesting," said BNIM Principal Craig Scranton. "The holes inside allow for ventilation within the garage so that allows us to be an open parking garage... it was a cost effective, low energy solution to a parking structure, so it’s very functional and also artistic."

According to BNIM Designer Elvis Achelpohl, BNIM sought an artistic yet functional solution to "puncture" the garage and create pattern to ensure air would flow through the structure. 

"The concept is just creating ornamentation with the rules inherent in precast garage typology," Achelpohl said. "I think there are about 5,000 or 6,000 holes in the piece, and Andy was able to make about 10 percent of those have a ceramic tiles that are embedded, and that’s the color you see (from the outside)."

Brayman worked to ensure movement of air within the facade while creating different panels with decorative ventilation holes in a variety of colors, shapes and patterns. 

"It wasn’t just a cookie-cutter thing where every panel was the same as the next," he said.

The result is a functional yet aesthetically pleasing community improvement, one that caught the attention and respect of ULI Kansas City's Developments of Distinction panel of judges. 

"We think this garage is a lot more interesting than before, and I hope it has a positive impact on the next door neighbors," Scranton said.

Project partners include: MC Realty Group, developer; BNIM, architect; Burns & McDonnell, general contractor; Bob D. Campbell, engineering services; Custom Engineering, engineering services; Taliaferro & Browne, engineering services; The Matter Factory/Andy Brayman, artistic services.