WeWork

BacklotCars shifts downtown to KC's Lightwell Building

BacklotCars, a wholesale auto inventory service provider currently located in the Crossroads, will be moving to the the newly rebranded Lightwell Building at 12th and Main in August.

With the recent signing of the 20,000 SF full-floor lease agreement, Somera Road and their partner AREA Real Estate Advisors, added the second major tenant following a landmark lease agreement with WeWork.

Lightwell currently boasts 180,000 SF of contiguous availability, the largest existing block of space in downtown Kansas City.

“When we saw the vision Somera Road and AREA Real Estate Advisors had for the Lightwell project, we knew it was something we had to be a part of,” said Josh Parsons, BacklotCars founder/ COO.

“The location, design and amenities of the project are exactly what is needed to attract the top tech talent to Kansas City. We are very excited to be moving into the new Lightwell Building and feel that it will be a great place for our ever-growing team to call home,” Parsons said.

BacklotCars is a significant disrupter of the wholesale automotive space, and recently closed a $25 million Series B funding round. The company seeks to ease pain points for automotive dealers though building one wholesale platform for all dealers to transact efficiently.

“BacklotCars is exactly the type of forward-thinking technology company that understands what we’re creating at the Lightwell. They’re a major contributor to Kansas City’s growing technology ecosystem and we’re excited to provide them with a home that’ll enable their next phase of growth.” said Basel Bataineh, Somera Road vice president.

“With its fantastic bones and premier location, we believed that Lightwell would attract the fastest-growing segments of employment including tech, marketing, and creative-driven companies. BacklotCars is certainly a great example of what we thought would happen,” said Tim Schaffer, AREA Real Estate Advisors president.

HOK and JE Dunn joined AREA and Somera Road on the renovation.

'Resmercial,' blurred lines between office and home dominate Big KC Office Trend discussion

Office efficiencies and the blending of boundaries between home and work were among trends tackled by panelists at MetroWire Media's Big KC Office Trends event on March 29 at WeWork.

Check out a snapshot of talking points from the panel discussion led by JE Dunn Vice President Jon Dandurand

"Efficiency is the game now. When you have a market that is really tight like this one is, you have rents increasing. Companies are always looking for ways to keep their costs down, so I would say they are getting a lot more efficient. It used to be an average of 200-250 square feet per person, and we are now seeing 150-200 square feet per person, and I see that trend continuing as companies get a lot smarter with their space going forward." -Rollie Fors, Colliers

"Creating a living room and a more residential feeling in the office environment is completely on trend and where things are going. That living room-style space really supports workers and their activities. Sometimes those common spaces are almost an afterthought. We spend so much time thinking about the workspace and then get to the end and think, 'let's throw a sofa and couple chairs in there' ... If we start planning those common spaces and shared amenities first, then you can really create dynamic spaces." -Stacey Roth, Scott Rice

"Engagement is one of the biggest topics we discuss with clients these days. It's interesting how space really can affect positively or negatively the connection you have with people on your team and clients. So what we find is the more we can create spaces within your place and give people the choice and control of how they work and when they work then we find the engagement level can be improved." -Trevor Hoiland, Burns & McDonnell

"The demographics are not changing how we work. The difference is coming from technology. that it is proliferating the hours We work from 5 am when we wake up to midnight when we go to bed, and It means our office space is becoming more like home and our home is becoming more like office space. It's creating a different type of product." -Aaron Schlagel, Ryan Companies

"Workspace efficiency has really changed the way companies look for space. From a development landowner perspective, we try to build amenities like rooftop patios into all of our projects as well as plenty of unique spaces outside the usual tenant footprint, so for example employees can enjoy getting away from their offices with shared conference rooms versus dedicated conference rooms." -Vince Bryant, 3D Development

Check out an event slideshow below. Photos by ArchPhotoKC.

Downtown reuse, suburban build-to-suit and coworking trend dominate MWM Office Summit

Downtown adaptive reuse projects, suburban build-to-suit, and the explosive coworking trend are among bright spots in the Kansas City regional office market, according to panelists at MetroWireMedia's 2017 Office Summit on June 6 at The Grand Hall at Power & Light.

The redeveloped Corrigan Station project along the new Downtown streetcar line is considered the poster child for successful adaptive reuse projects in the region. Developed on a speculative basis by Copaken Brooks, Corrigan Station reached full occupancy within months of opening with the announcement that national coworking company WeWork would join Hollis + Miller Architects in the historic Crossroads building.

“Downtown is very authentic, and that’s the kind of environment that people want,” said Copaken Brooks Principal Jon Copaken. “So we will continue to be focused on the city center where people can move and use nearby amenities.”

While the tech-friendly vibe of Downtown and the Crossroads Arts District continue to attract creative relocation and expansion projects, the suburban office market-- driven by medical office demand-- is gaining momentum of its own.

“The interesting phenomena here is that we are all excited about what’s going on Downtown and the coworking opportunities, but demand for office space in the suburbs is still robust,” said Suzanne Dimmel, director at Cushman & Wakefield. “There’s up to 4 million square feet of planned office space in the suburbs currently on the horizon.”

Rick Baier, principal with CBC Real Estate Group, also sees opportunity in suburban office market development because of speed to market: “It’s hard for me to invest three or four years in a redevelopment project in the urban core," Baier said.

Whether urban core redevelopment or suburban build-to-suit, a key driver for companies continues to be access to amenities and technology investments demanded by the Millennial workforce.

“Millennials want a sense of place and a sense of culture. A lot of us just coming out of college want a campus environment. Being in a place where that is available is huge,” said JE Dunn Construction’s Jon Dandurand, the panel’s self-proclaimed resident Millennial.

Helix Architecture + Design Principal Erika Moody agreed that the rising Millennial workforce continues to drive design trends, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“What they are charging us with is a better work environment. They want the ability to take a break from work but also have a place for private focus. These aren’t necessarily things that relate to one generation or another. It is about how we each recharge,” Moody said. “And with a lot of the trends that we are seeing, if the Millennials are getting us outside and offering more access to amenities, I am all for that.”

Gerald Smith, founder of Kansas City coworking company Plexpod, served as guest speaker for the 2017 Office Summit. Matt Eckert of CBRE also served as a panelist.  

Check out the event slideshow below. All photos courtesy of Jacia Phillips, ArchPhotoKC