Shafer Kline & Warren

With Midwest Gateway, Copaken Brooks is Edgerton's new kid in town

Brokers were offered a sneak peak of Midwest Gateway, a 487,000-square foot warehouse and distribution center adjacent to the entrance of BNSF Railway's intermodal facility at 191st and Homestead in Edgerton, Kan.

“Edgerton is the hottest industrial submarket in the world right now. Fortunately, we are able to offer two state-of-the-art buildings at 32-foot clear here,” said Bucky Brooks, principal with project developer Copaken Brooks.

Midwest Gateway is one of a handful of facilities located along the heavy haul, I-35 corridor and allows shippers to send heavier loads to and from the 443-acre BNSF intermodal yard with significant reduction in drayage expenses. 

“Supply chain experts all agree there are huge cost savings here,” said Aaron Schlagel of Copaken Brooks. “ARCO knocked it out of the park with this facility. We are ready to make deals.”

Midwest Gateway was completed three months ahead of schedule. Features of the 301,000- and 186,000-square foot buildings include upgraded LED motion-sensor lighting, future trailer parking, and the ability for users to lease or own.

"Midwest Gateway can accommodate tenants fromt 50,000 square feet and up, creating a rare opportunity for tenants seeking smaller format distribution facilities who want proximity to the BNSF Intermodal,” said Russell Pearson of NAI Heartland, which is co-marketing the project with Copaken Brooks.

A variety of city and state tax incentives are available for up to 10 years for potential users, as well as Foreign Trade Zone benefits.   

Project partners include ARCO National ConstructionGMA ArchitectsShafer, Kline & WarrenKrudwig & Associates and Metro Air.

Click here to download a Midwest Gateway project brochure. 

Building 1 at  Midwest Gateway  includes a balcony that overlooks BNSF's intermodal operations.

Building 1 at Midwest Gateway includes a balcony that overlooks BNSF's intermodal operations.

Five minutes with new SKW President Brian Johanning

In July, Shafer, Kline & Warren announced that Brian Johanning would step in to lead the firm’s infrastructure and development business, replacing Larry Graham. The promotion is the culmination of a leadership succession plan two years in the making. MWM caught up with Johanning recently to find out more about his strategy for SKW’s future success.

MWM: What are your immediate goals?

Johanning: Right now, we are trying to build on a company that has a 67-year old foundation here in Kansas City-- with roots and survey records going back to the late 1800s-- and trying to maintain that strong brand while injecting a startup mentality back into the business and really trying to drive an entrepreneurial, performance based culture.

MWM: Clearly, SKW has a strong market presence and history. How do you preserve that while innovating growth?

Johanning: The leadership of old certainly was cognizant of the myriad of risks out there in the marketplace but their propensity to talk about it and be transparent about those risk analytics was a bit more reserved. In today’s world where information flows so quickly and freely, you have to be willing to “coach your people up” beyond the contract. We have partners who are dynamic, and at the end of the day it boils down to building good, solid relationships bonded in trust. That trust comes when the walls to difficult conversations come down, so we have to think strategically to soften some of those barriers.

MWM: SKW is mid-sized engineering firm. What are the advantages and disadvantages to that?

Johanning: It can be a tough spot, but it’s also fun to figure out your strategy. Some of the biggest engineering companies in the world are here in KC. Sometimes you’re going up against them and other days it’s a survey guy working out of the back of his pickup truck, and you find a way to compete accordingly. So we are trying to share more value, and that isn’t always about price; sometimes it is about expertise and local experience. Larry Graham, Tom Smith and others who have been here 45 plus years are walking CRMs. You can walk up to them and ask about any intersection in town and they have a story about it and probably have a record about it. The competition can’t say that. Having that walking encyclopedia down the hall is so valuable. 

MWM: As you work to grow SKW, what kind of team will you be building?   

Johanning: We see the market shifting to more integrated project delivery and where the entire project team is brought together sooner, if you will. Having talent that can support multiple business units is highly desirable. The utility player is sometimes looked at as a commodity, but Ben Zobrist changed that for the Royals, so for us it is about finding people like that who are capable of tackling different projects. On almost every land development project there’s a public component—whether it’s sewer line or land change or water main—so being able to straddle that fence and represent all the stakeholders is really important, and that’s what we are looking at going forward.

MWM: How will you use your business development background to grow SKW?

Johanning: The most effective business business development tool in the world is doing good work. I feel like the rainmaker of the next 21st century is the person who can attract the most skilled and entrepreneurial talent because if those folks come to an organization and focus on delivering a quality product, there’s no better business development tool than that.

Midwest Gateway groundbreaking signals new industrial product for booming Edgerton

The threat of a severe thunderstorm couldn't stop heavy equipment from firing up at Wednesday's official groundbreaking for Midwest GatewayCopaken Brooks' half-million square foot speculative industrial building in Edgerton. 

Midwest Gateway will be marketed to users seeking between 50,000 and 300,000 square feet, providing an alternative to the so-called "big bomber" industrial projects of over 500,000-1 million square feet that are the hallmark of NorthPoint Development's adjacent Logistics Park Kansas City, according to NAI Heartland's Russell Pearson.

"This is the first project of its kind in Edgerton that will be designed for 'smaller' users, small being relative, I suppose," said Pearson, who is co-brokering the project along with Nathan Anderson and Bucky Brooks. "We will be targeting distribution, manufacturing, and warehousing users who understand what drayage savings means for their businesses; as well as providing the opportunity to own or lease a custom-built facility in an irreplaceable location."

Located near the entrance to the BNSF Intermodal rail hub and virtually across the street from a newly announced UPS distribution hub, Midwest Gateway is poised to leverage the intermodal's advantages to help tenants reduce operating and drayage costs and maximize supply chain efficiencies thanks in part to proximity along I-35's heavy haul corridor.

"The supply and demand drivers for this size of building are unmet at the BNSF Intermodal," said Aaron Schlagel, vice president, development at Copaken Brooks. "The buildings allow flexibility for industrial users who need a more efficient building footprint and increased operational efficiencies due to Midwest Gateway's unique locational benefits."

Midwest Gateway marks Copaken Brooks first foray into speculative industrial development. Construction will be completed by early 2018.

"We are excited to deliver Midwest Gateway to the burgeoning Kansas City logistics and distribution market," said Bucky Brooks, principal at Copaken Brooks. "Midwest Gateway is an ideal project for us to extend our infill development expertise and deliver a state-of-the-art industrial project on a premiere site at the heart of the BNSF intermodal."

The buildings will feature tilt-up concrete walls and architectural glass, a minimum 32-foot clear height, 7” floor slab and T-5 motion sensor lighting. Accommodating multiple industrial uses, the buildings will have ample docks with the ability to expand, plus truck parking and trailer storage.

Project team members include GMA Architects, ARCO National Construction, Shafer, Kline & Warren, Krudwig & Associates, and Metro Air. Interested parties click here, or email for more information.

New Design-Build law will drive innovation, value in Missouri

New Design-Build law will drive innovation, value in Missouri

Missouri is the latest state in the nation to adopt alternative procurement legislation, thanks to a handful of local A/E/C professionals and organizations. The new law, which went into effect this week, allows public agencies to use the design-build procurement method for all types of design and construction. It’s a process that’s promising to drive innovation and value for those who use it correctly.