Tim Cowden

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.

Florida healthcare technology company expands to metro with new Lenexa distribution center

Convey Health Solutions has expanded into the Kansas City region with a new 38,000-square foot distribution facility at Lackman Business Center, 106th Street and Lackman Road, in Lenexa. The leased space will accommodate the company’s expected growth in the government sponsored healthcare market, allowing Convey to more than triple its shipping capacity.

“As we continue to provide end-to-end OTC solutions for major health plans in the Medicare and Medicaid markets, we want to operate in a central location to provide better service to our clients and their members,” Convey Executive Vice President Jonathan Starr said. 

Convey’s benefits program is designed to help members better manage their day-to-day health while at home. With volume projected to grow more than 50 percent in 2019, the company’s new location will include the latest logistics technology to increase efficiencies and streamline the distribution process.

Convey plans to hire 40 employees at its Lenexa facility. Phil Algrim of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Convey in the transaction; Joe Accurso and Rob Holland of Cushman & Wakefield represented the landlord. Additional partners included the State of KansasCity of LenexaKansas City Area Development Council, and KC SmartPort. 

“Kansas City continues to attract distribution centers due to our access to markets and customers throughout the U.S., and Convey recognized this locational advantage,” said KC SmartPort President Chris Gutierrez. “We expect to see another great year of locational decisions in KC with manufacturing, regional distribution and e-commerce facilities.”

“It is always exciting to welcome a fast-growing company like Convey Health Solutions to our region,” added KCADC President and CEO Tim Cowden. “The KC region continues to rise to the top of the list of cities that are ideal for logistics, supply chain and distribution operations and we’re honored to be the newest home for Convey.”

Additional comments from project partners:

“Our state’s central location always makes Kansas the prime choice for companies looking to locate a distribution center, and combined with the Kansas City area’s already strong concentration of healthcare service companies, Convey Health Solutions couldn’t have picked a better location for its new facility,” said Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. “We are excited to have this pioneering technology company expanding in Kansas and look forward to our continued partnership.”

“We are very pleased that Convey Health Solutions has chosen Lenexa for their new facility,” said Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm. “This operation will feature top of the line technology and will serve as a showcase for the industry. I think Convey will be a great addition to the region.”

TrialCard expansion caps off bi-state trifecta of customer service operations

TrialCard’s announcement that it will create 225 jobs at a new Northland client service center marks the third large-scale customer support operation for the Kansas City region in less than a month, bringing the total number of new jobs in that sector to just under 1,000.

The pharmaceutical solutions company’s expansion follows insurer EXL’s announcement that it will hire 250 at a new support hub in Lee’s Summit by the end of the year and auto insurer GEICO’s plan to add 500 new jobs at a new Lenexa operation over the next five years.

“The Kansas City region is quickly becoming a popular destination for companies looking for a central location in the U.S., employees with a strong work ethic, and highly efficient customer support operations,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO, Kansas City Area Development Council. “The entire KC region is attracting new jobs and talent, with companies locating in nearly every corner of the region so far in 2018.”

Cushman & Wakefield represented TrialCard in its 23,000-square foot operation in the Kansas City Business Center, 2001 NE 46th St. Keith Baker and Matt Eckert of CBRE represented the landlord in the transaction.  

"We’re excited to see an employer bring over 200 jobs to Kansas City, but the people that are aware of the entrepreneurial culture in this city aren’t surprised companies want to be here," said Cushman & Wakefield Managing Principal Mike Mayer.

"You look at the rapid growth of local companies like Spring Venture Group, Mediware, and Cerner, but also smaller startups like Blooom, C2FO, Lead Bank, Charlie Hustle, Orbis Biosciences-- and a lot of other companies that people might not have heard of but have certainly caught the interest of investors and major companies around the world-- and you recognize Kansas City is a great place to do business.  Part of that is the city, but a bigger part is the people and the culture," Mayer added.

Indeed, North Carolina-based TrialCard cited the region's diverse, highly-educated workforce, an affordable cost of living and numerous cultural amenities as reasons it found Kansas City to be a very desirable place to live and work.

“We are pleased to be expanding into Kansas City, a vibrant community made up of thousands of small businesses, tech start-ups, and top-notch health care," said TrialCard President and CEO Mark Bouck. 

Photo courtesy: TrialCard

Economist, leaders forecast steady 2017 real estate market

Economist, leaders forecast steady 2017 real estate market

Tweeting, Newton’s third law of motion and pumpkin spice Doritos aren’t exactly what you’d expect from an economic forecast, but all three were relevant subjects in a recent presentation by Ted Jones, chief economist and senior vice president of Stewart Title.  Jones offered his predictions for the real estate market in 2017 to members of KCRAR Commercial.