MetroWire Media

Sprint HQ buyer Occidental eyes acreage adjacent to OP campus

Wichita-based Occidental Management expects to close on the Sprint Campus in the next 30 days. CEO Gary Oborny and President Chad Stafford talked with MetroWire Media about what led to the acquisition and plans for the sprawling Overland Park campus and adjacent land.

MWM: When did you first become interested in buying the Sprint campus?

Oborny: We heard that Sprint was looking at divesting at some point, so we started following opportunities to get closer to the situation and look at how we might connect on a potential deal. We sat back while Sprint figured out what to do. Then we contacted Cushman & Wakefield when the property was placed with them for a national search last year.  

MWM: How did your 2014 purchase of the former Overland Park International Trade Center (OPx) adjacent to the Sprint campus play into the acquisition?

Oborny: OPx was our introduction into the market. It helped us build relationships in Kansas City and Overland Park, so the Sprint campus was a natural fit. 

MWM: What is your short-term game plan for the campus?

Oborny: We want to enhance existing amenities and bring additional amenities for tenants who want to be on the campus. There are a number of cafeterias and food venues, so we will look at bringing in guest chefs and maybe freshening those spaces. We’re also looking at conceptual ideas to improve the overall aesthetics of the campus, so we will be look at revitalizing existing buildings to make them a little more contemporary... Eventually we’ll undergo a full rebrand of the campus. 

MWM: What will Sprint’s ongoing presence be?

Stafford: Sprint will continue to be the largest tenant, and the company is making a commitment to Kansas City with a long-term lease situation, but that’s all we can say right now. Sprint and Occidental are both focused on recruitment and retention of associates and employees on the campus. 

MWM: What is the current tenant mix and how do you see that changing?

Stafford: There’s a good mix right now between health care and financial services companies. There is also good infrastructure for technology-related companies, so there is opportunity there. 

MWM: What additional opportunities do you see? 

Oborny: We are looking at the 60 acres near 119th and Nall that have never been opened to commercial development. We see an opportunity to bring amenities to that vacant land such as hotel, restaurants and retail, but for right now we have to close. 

MWM: This is a huge transaction. What’s next for Occidental?

Oborny: Yes, it’s a big opportunity. We see a natural progression for us in Midwest cities, so development opportunities in the $100-$300 million range are certainly always of interest.

Oggi Lofts redevelopment brings 25 market rate units to downtown KC

The former Oggi Modern Furnishings building at 600 Central St. in downtown Kansas City’s former Garment District has found new life as Oggi Lofts, a 25-unit market-rate apartment project.

Ted Murray of Colliers International teamed up with Andy Homoly of Homoly Construction on the $6.7 million redevelopment designed by architecture firm Clockwork Architecture + Design. Rosin Preservation helped secure historic tax credits for conversion of the 110-year old, five-story brick building located on the National Register of Historic Places.

As with any historic redevelopment, Oggi Lofts offered its share of surprises and conundrums.

“Anytime you get into an older building that needs to be gutted, there are always surprises,” said Murray, who pursued the project independent of his role as Co-CEO of Colliers’ Kansas City office. “This project was so different and really created a need for problem solving during the construction process.”

For example, the building’s entire stair tower required full replacement, yet historic preservation standards required that the original hardwood flooring remain. Another hurdle involved successfully obtaining approval from the National Park Service to add windows on the north side of the brick building. But perhaps the biggest challenge involved designing and constructing units around the building’s many columns, which could not be touched in the name of structural integrity.

“We had to conserve space, and Andy (Homoly) and the construction team really thought through how to integrate all the vertical columns into the various units,” Murray told MetroWire Media during a tour of the project.

A hallmark of Oggi Lofts is a rooftop deck with panoramic views of the Missouri River, and Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport. The property includes a basement fitness center and dedicated storage units as well as on-street parking and door locks and utilities with smartphone access. With rents between $1,000 to $2,265, each unit includes hardwood flooring, onyx countertops, and washer/dryer.

For Murray, the historic redevelopment was a refreshing departure from his work with Colliers, which involves primarily office, retail and industrial leasing and sales.

“This has been so much fun,” Murray said. “I love downtown and I’m just thrilled with how this turned out. It’s been a labor of love.”

Oggi Modern Furnishings vacated the property in 2007. Tax abatements were approved through Kansas City’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA).