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Developer plans $5M project to convert downtown building to loft apartments

A Kansas City developer has a vision to bring more residents to downtown Kansas City by transforming a historic building. John Bennett Sr., the developer behind the Library Lofts, Soho Lofts, Freighthouse Lofts and more, has big plans for an old, vacant building on Broadway.

804-808 Broadway Blvd. in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

804-808 Broadway Blvd. in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Should Bennett’s plans be approved, he will turn 804-808 Broadway into 40 new market-rate loft-style apartments. It’s a project valued at $4.9 to $5 million. The project aims to redevelop the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Situated in the 11th street corridor TIF district, the project will use $1.6 million in federal and state historic tax credits on top of a $2.6 million loan from Equity Bank.

The location of John Bennett Sr.'s proposed Butler Lofts.

The location of John Bennett Sr.’s proposed Butler Lofts.

Constructed in 1909, the building currently sits empty on Broadway St. If Bennett’s redevelopment plan is approved, construction would begin in December 2014 and be complete by December of 2015.

The first floor of Butler Lofts, as designed by SWD Architects. Click the image above to see a larger version, or see the lower level, http://metrowiremedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SWD_Arch-Butler-Lofts-lower-level.jpg second level http://metrowiremedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SWD_Arch-Butler-Lofts-second-floor-plan.jpg, and third level. http://metrowiremedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SWD_Arch-Butler-Lofts-third-floor-plan.jpg

The first floor of Butler Lofts, as designed by SWD Architects. Click the image above to see a larger version, or see the lower levelsecond level, and third level.

“This project will provide more opportunities to attract new residents to downtown Kansas City, further enhancing the downtown area and supporting downtown businesses,” Bennett’s redevelopment application to LCRA reads.


New Overland Park Top Golf facility begins to take shape

ARCO Construction crews are hard at work on a new Topgolf location at 107th and Nall in Overland Park, Kan.

ARCO Construction crews are hard at work on a new Topgolf location at 107th and Nall in Overland Park, Kan.

ARCO Construction crews are busy at work on Overland Park’s newest entertainment facility, Topgolf. According to ARCO’s Sam Stahnke, crews are on schedule to wrap up construction of the project at 107th and Nall by late Spring 2015.

Tour other Topgolf facilities on the Topgolf website by clicking here. http://topgolf.com

Tour other Topgolf facilities on the Topgolf website by clicking here.

The Overland Park location is one of ten Topgolf facilities currently under construction around the country. Set in a sports bar type of atmosphere, the golf entertainment complex offers 240-yard outfields where friends can challenge each other to a round of golf using high-tech micro-chipped balls. Check out more information or take a virtual tour on Topgolf’s website by clicking here.


Colliers International’s
Deal of the Week

1136 Fayette St., North Kansas City, Mo.

1136 Fayette St., North Kansas City, Mo.

Colliers International takes home this week’s Deal of the Week with an industrial transaction in the Northland. Collers’ Cameron Duff, CCIM, negotiated on behalf of Valspar Corp., which sold a 107,858-square-foot industrial building to NPI 1136 Fayette LLC. The building is located at 1136 Fayette St. in North Kansas City, Mo. The buyer was not represented.

Did you recently negotiate a significant deal? Email us and we may feature it as our Deal of the Week!


Announcing the 2014 Kansas City Contractors Expo & Estimating Academy

2014 Kansas City Contractors Expo will be held Oct. 30 at the Marriott in downtown Kansas City.

2014 Kansas City Contractors Expo will be held Oct. 30 at the Marriott in downtown Kansas City.

Make room in your calendar tomorrow for Kansas City’s premier construction expo. The 2014 Kansas City Contractors’ Expo and Estimating Academy is hosting its annual event where it will showcase more than 50 different contractors, architects and engineers behind Kansas City’s best projects. The event is your chance to see a large array of products and services available from Kansas City’s top manufacturers, suppliers and service providers.

Event organizers – Kansas City American Subcontractors Association, The Builders Association, and The American Society of Professional Estimators – invite builders, remodelers, subcontractors, general contractors and any other interested industry commercial construction professional to attend the event tomorrow, Oct. 30, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Downtown Marriott Muehlebach Tower. Tickets can be purchased for $30, and pre-registration for the Expo gets you free parking, food and beverages for the evening.

For more information on attending, contact Robin Norris here or Elizabeth Palmer here.

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CenterPoint Properties’ Madelyn Montague on building industry & community

Madelyn Montague joined CenterPoint’s industrial team in 2010 to redevelop the former NNSA Campus in Kansas City. We sat down with her to discuss what she’s learned in the business so far and what she’s looking forward to in the next year.

How were you drawn to real estate?

I grew up knowing I liked to build things. I saw my dad, Don Montague, build his agency (MMGY Global) from the ground up from his basement, so I’ve always aspired to do the same. So whether it’s building industrial buildings or relationships with brokers, or even gaining the experience and building up knowledge, I really find interesting and engaging.

Going into industrial real estate was probably more an influence of the relationships I had growing up that drove me to industrial side more than any other sector. I grew up in Kansas City, but came back during my undergrad and interned Jones Development Company and with Block Real Estate Services.

That was my first introduction to the industrial real estate community here. Moving forward and going into real estate finance at Ole Miss, I got hired full-time right out of school by CenterPoint, where I was on the team to develop the national security campus. It was a bit of drinking out of a fire hose at first. I didn’t know anything about the NNSA initially, so I learned a lot from that experience within my first three years at CenterPoint.

Who has been your biggest mentor?

Jim Cross (CenterPoint SVP) really took me under his wing initially and I’m still under it today. He’s highly motivating and encouraging and he’s the smartest, busiest guy I know but he still takes the time to teach me what industrial development is, whether it’s learning different sprinkler systems to navigating the politics or the community outreach. So he’s been a great mentor.

Montague and a CenterPoint team is working on a new facility for a national retailer. Photo courtesy of CenterPoint.

Montague and a CenterPoint team is working on a new facility for a national retailer. Photo courtesy of CenterPoint.

What projects are you working on now?

SVP Brian McKiernan and his Kansas City team just brought in a new national retailer and are building them a 55,950 SF truck terminal facility with 100 dock doors, 400 trailer parking, and a 5,000 SF maintenance facility. I’m helping the team managing the construction of the project, and we’re led by CenterPoint’s VP Lance Skala.

I also am helping lease up the rest of our spec: 194,000 square feet that we’re delivering to the market at the end of December.  We’re pretty confident we’re close to getting a lease signed for an additional 130,000 square feet. We’ve gotten got more prospects within the last four months than the first four months of constructing the building, so we’re excited.

CenterPoint is close to a lease on the rest of its spec building

CenterPoint is close to a 130,000-square-foot lease on the rest of this spec building.

What changes, trends have you seen in Kansas City’s industrial market lately?

Obviously Kansas City is a pretty exciting place to be – not only because of the Royals – but the momentum in the industrial real estate sector. Specifically, we’ve seen a surge in spec development. There’s a lot going up and vacancy rates continue to go down. We’re continuing to see buildings delivered, tenants relocating to new Class a space, and new businesses entering the market.  Over the past year, we’ve seen these projects bring in 4,000 new jobs.

CenterPoint is continuing to become more opportunistic in the market, and potentially looking at joint ventures. We’ll definitely continue to have a long-term stance in Kansas City. We fall in love with the city more and more every year we’ve been here, and we’ve been here for 7 now. I don’t see us going anywhere anytime soon.

What challenges do you face in today’s market?

The more difficult parts are assessing risk in the market. We continually have to re-assess risk – and real estate is not exactly the most stable of industries. We always need to keep our ears perked up and look ahead and see where we’re going, not to forecast where we’re going to be, but more in line to find a way to stay competitively advantaged. We find the market is moving extremely fast and continuing to do so and so this re-assessment is not just happening annually, but on a month-to-month basis. We want to see where all of our chips are placed.

Sardinia et Corisca.

Montague’s favorite past time: travel.

What are your passions outside of work?

Hands-down travel. My dad’s company (MMGY Global) specializes in only travel and hospitality. I’ve been lucky and have been given the opportunity to travel lots of places with my family. Any chance I get I like to do so with friends and family. I’m an avid skier. My family spends every Christmas in the mountains in our condo in Vail Village, Colorado, which is nice because you can walk to the slopes, and to go get food and drinks.

My favorite place is I’ve traveled is probably Corsica et Sardinia. It’s got amazingly blue water and these caves that you can jet ski through and private beaches you can snorkel to. It’s a beautiful place with beautiful sunsets.


How Kansas City’s real estate sectors are shaping up for 2015

BNSF Intermodal

BNSF Intermodal

Each of the real estate sectors in Kansas City are evolving to a rapidly changing market. That was evident over the course of 2014, as illustrated by four key experts who spoke to new trends and their 2015 predictions at the KCRAR Commercial Forecast, hosted on Wednesday.

INDUSTRIAL

By far, the most promising sector in 2014 was industrial. Even as skeptics voiced concerns that Kansas City was overbuilding spec space, the market ignored that caution and developers are working on building their second round of spec. Nathaniel Hagedorn of NorthPoint Development said spec is increasingly important because industrial users’ decision making process today is roughly 90 days.

“They don’t have time to wait around to get a building constructed,” Hagedorn said. “We at NorthPoint have certainly been aggressively building spec and I think that’s helped to free up the market and attract new users.”

The data:

  • Last year, Kansas City absorbed 3 million square feet of spec construction.
  • In 2014 year to date, Kansas City has built 2.3 million square feet of spec and absorbed 2.8 million square feet.
  • Hagedorn’s prediction: Kansas City will absorb 4 million square feet by year’s end.

Kansas City is thriving thanks to a key $300 million investment by BNSF in its new intermodal facility – a move that Hagedorn believes will drive 70 million square feet of demand locally over the next 10 to 20 years. “From Kansas City’s perspective as a market made of 250 million square feet, one investment decision by BNSF will expand our market by 25 to 30 percent.”

Nathaniel’s prediction? “I believe we’ll do north of 4 million square feet this year, which is a terrific absorption,” he said.

And that’s only one of many logistics parks taking off around the metro area. Considering Kansas City is the second large rail center in the country outside of Chicago, the industry is being pushed forward by manufacturers who realize that one gallon of gas can get a ton of freight 18 miles by truck, or 400 miles by rail.

Shameless plug: Hear more about new industrial trends from key experts at MetroWire’s 2014 Industrial Summit. More info here.

Lane Buckley of LANE4 Property Group speaks at the KCRAR 2014 Commercial Forecast.

Owen Buckley of LANE4 Property Group speaks at the KCRAR 2014 Commercial Forecast. Photo credit: Mia Katz/KCRAR

RETAIL

Retailers are struggling to adapt to a market that’s relying heavier than ever on e-commerce. Technology and its effects, coupled with a slump in suburban housing growth and a poor consumer outlook, is changing the landscape of retail across the country, evident in the hordes of massive retail space that now sit barren.

“The amount of retail space we built in this country was almost obscene,” LANE4 Property Group President Owen Buckley said. “If you’re a tenant rep broker representing Radio Shack, Payless, or Walmart, your life has changed. Instead of them wanting 8 or 9 stores a year, you’re lucky if they want 2.”

So how are retailers adapt to a changing market? Much like developers are: Looking back to properties in infill areas that have been overlooked, resizing and remodeling their stores, adding value, taking care of them, and not growing as fast.

The big trends now: pedestrian-friendly, walkable mixed-use spaces. Brick-and-mortar retailers must create the “experience,” Buckley says, or be pushed out by competition.

“A lot of them are sitting on their hands, waiting to see what their competition will do, and everyone is looking at one another,” Buckkley said. “With technology and the ability to deliver goods within a days’ notice, maybe a stock room doesn’t need to be as big as it used to be.”

Pinnacle Corporate Centre V. Rendering courtesy of Block Real Estate Services.

OFFICE

Larry Glaze of Jones Lang LaSalle says the recession is in the rearview mirror, and now Kansas City’s office market is seeing something it hasn’t seen in years: spec development. He outlined a few significant projects developers are looking to launch within the next year:

Johnson County leads the way in office space, Glaze said. Block Real Estate Services is embarking on the 68,000-square-foot Pinnacle Corporate Centre V at 4001 W. 114th Street in Leawood – the last remaining office development along the Tomahawk Creek Parkway Corridor. Block recently signed a 17,000-square-foot pre-lease for the building.

Looking to the moves of a few key players in the market, Ken Block is also looking to launch another 145,000 square foot office development southwest of Teva Pharmaceutical’s headquarters. Once the building is 30 to 40 percent lease, Block wants to begin construction.

Larry Glaze, Jones Lang LaSalle

Larry Glaze, Jones Lang LaSalle

VanTrust is also looking to build up to 145,000 square feet of office or medical space at its newly acquired site at 666 W. 110th Street facing I-435. The firm also recently purchased a complex at 49th and Main St. across from the new Board of Trade building. There, VanTrust would like to construct up to 150,000 square feet.

Other developments gaining momentum: The site next to Blue Cross Blue Shield fronting Washington Square Park is slated for either office or multifamily. Another 100,000 square foot site by JE Dunn’s east village.

But with rising rental rates, developers need to get creative as it comes to office space, Glaze said. “There’s a real attempt to convert traditional office buildings to create fun, collaborative space where firms can get all the benefits of a traditional building but the collaborative spirit they’re looking for.”

A recently completed development is setting a high watermark for office product in Kansas City, according to Glaze. He says Plaza Vista, the newly opened site which houses Hotel Sorella and Polsinelli PC’s headquarters, is under contract for north of $400 a square foot.

Plaza Vista is up for sale at a listing price of more than $400 a square foot, according to Larry Glaze.

Plaza Vista is up for sale at a listing price of more than $400 a square foot, according to Larry Glaze.

MULTIFAMILY

The American Dream of owning a home isn’t the dream for everyone anymore, says Michael McKeen of EPC Real Estate Group. “Apartments aren’t just apartments anymore; It’s a way of living,” he said. Young professionals and empty-nesters are driving huge demand for more dense multifamily projects closer to the urban core of the city. That demand is driving a huge number of new units announced across the city.

New multifamily development in Kansas City, 2014-2016:

  • Lenexa: 1,300 units
  • South Overland Park: 4,500 units
  • Downtown: 2,800 units
  • Kansas City overall: 15,000+ units

Looking toward the future, McKeen said he thinks the industry is in its last phase of expansion before going into hypersupply and subsequently, recession.

“I’m not urging anyone to stay away from the products, but invest wisely,” he said.


Copaken Brooks’
Deal of the Week

204 West Linwood Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.

204 West Linwood Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.

Copaken Brooks takes home the Deal of the Week with the recent sale of the historic Linwood Law Building at 204 W. Linwood Blvd. in Kansas City, Mo. The 104-year-old, 9,214-square-foot office building with a 4,607-square-foot basement sits on a highly visible corner in midtown Kansas City and has unique original features and fixtures.

“Finding the right buyer that valued the historical aspects of the building was important,” said Copaken Brooks’ Molly Crawford, who represented the seller.

Ichabod Enterprises LLC purchased the building for an undisclosed amount, and has plans for future redevelopment/expansion on the north wing of the building for a Tapas restaurant.

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Bringing multifamily downtown: NorthPoint’s Power & Light plan

When Cordish Co. dropped its contract on the Power & Light Building in December 2012, Nathaniel Hagedorn of then one-year-old NorthPoint Development saw an opening. His purchase of the building would be the fifth time redevelopment of the 80-year old building went under contract.

Nathaniel Hagedorn calls the building's lobby one of the finest art deco spaces in the country.

Nathaniel Hagedorn calls the building’s lobby one of the finest art deco spaces in the country.

One email later, and NorthPoint VP of Operations Mark Pomerenke was drawing up plans for the building based off its information filed with the National Register of Historic Places. A pro-forma was ready by 4 a.m., that broke down how many units they’d be able to get with a certain efficiency, how much they could get for the units and what it all would cost. And by the time Hagedorn toured it, he instantly fell in love.

Built in 1931 as the headquarters of the Kansas City Power & Light Co. in an 18-month time frame, the building was at its completion the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, and retained that designation for the next 50 years.

Built in 1931 as the headquarters of the Kansas City Power & Light Co. in an 18-month time frame, the building was at its completion the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, and retained that designation for the next 50 years.

“The lobby with these beautiful barrel ceilings, all the marble, and these pewter with sun bursts over the elevator doors. Then you get up to the 32nd floor and you see the views,” he said. “I knew I had to buy it.”

The two-year-old firm closed Sept. 30 on its acquisition of the building and by fall of 2016, will unveil 213 apartments with the “the highest end finishes anyone has seen in Kansas City,” Hagedorn says. But knowing that one of many barriers to building downtown was the addition of parking space, NorthPoint also bought the lot to the north of the building, where 80 additional apartments will wrap a 509-stall garage.

In the 1930s, Kansas Citians came to the auditorium of the building - which has since been filled in - to learn how to use electricity.

In the 1930s, Kansas Citians came to the auditorium of the building – which has since been filled in – to learn how to use electricity.

“Our plan was to come in with a five-story garage that suits the parking needs for our project, and the Hotel President had a need for 100 stalls, so we cut a deal,” Pomerenke said. “The Hotel President is one of the most successful TIF projects in the Kansas City-area, so meeting with Ron Jury and understanding the finances of that TIF and what the capacity was to do more with it, we hatched a plan for this 5-story garage, with 400 stalls on floors 2 through 5 and Hotel President having the basement level. That allows us to capture existing TIF income to subsidize the infrastructure needs of project.”

The Power & Light project will include an extension to the north with a 509-space parking garage wrapped with floor-level retail and 80 additional units.

The Power & Light project will include an extension to the north with a 509-space parking garage wrapped with floor-level retail and 80 additional units.

Named after the utility company it formerly housed, the Power & Light Building building has sat largely vacant for years. BNIM, its last tenant, moved out and demolition has already begun. Crews are dealing with environmental issues: asbestos and dealing with the effects of the power plant that formerly sat in the northern lot. The building was also 59 percent efficient – much lower than the 80 to 85 percent range NorthPoint usually works with. The firm also had to get six code modifications from the city to allow it to do things like dead-end corridors, and to leave the stair towers as they were.

Gib Kerr of Cassidy Turley, who brokered the deal; Nathaniel Hagedorn, CEO of NorthPoint Development and Mark Pomerenke, NorthPoint VP of Operations.

Gib Kerr of Cassidy Turley, who brokered the deal; Nathaniel Hagedorn, CEO of NorthPoint Development and Mark Pomerenke, NorthPoint VP of Operations.

After a full-gut remodel, each unit will receive hardwood floors and travertine bathrooms. A 3,000-square-foot clubhouse on the 32nd floor will house a bar, piano, and sundeck as well as a 360-degree terrace with the most stunning views of Kansas City.

The view from the building looking south.

The view from the building looking south.

“We’ve also got this remarkable lobby space, one of the finest art deco spaces in the country. We could convert it to office, but it deserves to be a public space,” he said. That’s why he’s on the hunt for a 17,000-square-foot restaurant to go into the lobby. With a $6 net rent, “it will be a hell of a deal,” Hagedorn said.

The view from the building looking north.

The view from the building looking east.

With street-level retail, a full-size saltwater pool, and 400-square-feet private terraces, the Power & Light project’s north extension “will be the most unique product offering in Kansas City from a multifamily standpoint,” Pomerenke said. “The tower units are sexy, and they have the views, but this will be a really unique living experience.”

[Click here to see a floor plan.]

One environmental problem NorthPoint will have to deal with in the northern extension of its project: the effects of the power plant that was formerly on the site.

One environmental problem NorthPoint will have to deal with in the northern extension of its project: the effects of the power plant that was formerly on the site.

So why take on a project that’s failed so many times?

“We’ve seen absolutely great growth in the multifamily sector over the last few years. Demand in downtown has historically been 97 to 98 percent – and those are pretty lightly managed properties,” Pomerenke said. “The level of service we’ll bring will really change that landscape.”

NorthPoint will replace the lighting system of the building’s four-story lantern, but in the meantime had 8 LED lights installed and lit blue for the Kansas City Royals.

NorthPoint will replace the lighting system of the building’s four-story lantern, but in the meantime had 8 LED lights installed and lit blue for the Kansas City Royals.

 NorthPoint’s playing ground was principally in the suburban markets of Kansas City, but Hagedorn points out he’s concerned with oversaturation in those markets. “So we asked ourselves how we take our expertise in management and multifamily but utilize it in a place where there’s high barriers to entry,” Hagedorn said. “Land downtown is $80 to $100 a square foot, you’ve got to go vertical, and you’ve got to build parking structures. It’s difficult to build downtown, which is great, because that means you close the door behind you.”

The building's tube system would send correspondence from one floor to another and was a state of the art system in the 1930s.

The building’s tube system would send correspondence from one floor to another and was a state of the art system in the 1930s.

But Hagedorn believes the Power & Light Building, along with Cordish Company’s One Light 25-story apartment tower will “open the flood gates” on new supply.

“We had done really the first suburban upscale apartments at Briarcliff City Apartments and we started to achieve new rental rates that people didn’t know were possible. It’s taken off further from there. If we can hit $2 rents downtown, that’s certainly on the high side but it’s a possibility,” he said. “If both of our projects can achieve the success I think we’ll be able to, we can prove out there’s demand for institutional size projects of 250-plus units. We’ll set new high water marks for Kansas City’s multifamily market that I think will open the flood gates of new construction towers.”

PROJECT TEAM: Polsinelli PC, Lewis Rice & Fingerish, NSPJ Architects, Neighbors construction, Great Southern Bank.

Check out more stunning photos on our Facebook page!

Using historic tax credits to bring
multifamily downtown

1-KC CREW October Panelists 10.22.14

Mark Pomerenke, NorthPoint Development; Jason Swords, Sunflower Development Group; Michael Knight, Commerce Tower Group; Courtney Kounkel, Centric Projects; Christine Johnston, Marsh & Co.

 Urban sprawl in Kansas City has left some incredible historic buildings as eyesores in the core of the city. Historic tax credits are one mechanism that’s helping developers take those blighted black holes and make projects work. KC CREW invited four experts to share their thoughts on historic tax credit process and how to best leverage it to make these projects viable. Here’s what they said.

The exterior of the Power & Light Building is clad with Indiana limestone.

The exterior of the Power & Light Building is clad with Indiana limestone.

Mark Pomerenke, whose firm is working to renovate the Power & Light Building, said NorthPoint Development wanted to use historic tax credits as a reduction of cost – not a source of equity – and giving those credits to their investment partners. The project is financed using $19 million raised in equity combined with small bridge loans and state tax credits, and with a $36 million permanent loan with Great Southern Bank,

“Those projects exist because you have these unique assets that are irreplaceable real estate. Without the passion and desire to bring those back, you really wouldn’t see these projects,” he said. “It’s a unique tool to keep our history intact.”

Michael Knight of Commerce Tower Group

Michael Knight of Commerce Tower Group

So how has Kansas City’s market evolved to now be able to support these projects? Michael Knight of Commerce Tower Group, said his firm looks toward a demographic that isn’t so cut and dry.

“Sure, the young people are the low-hanging fruit of the downtown urban core, but what we’re seeing here and in other cities is that those are the first people through the door because they’re the most risk-oblivious; They don’t think about the same things that a well-weathered individual would, someone that’s been out there before and had to do a little more thinking before rushing into it,” he said.

He also noted a general shift in society. After World War II, mobility was key; Residents could move farther out into neighborhoods and then jump in the car when they needed to drive to different services. Now, today’s market is after instant gratification.

“Mobility’s now gone, and ‘connectivity’ is the new word. I want it now; I don’t want to have to wait to go get it. Connectivity is access to resources like entertainment venues, food, arts, culture – being on the pulse of the city,” he said. “That mindset doesn’t fit well into a pie chart: it’s working professionals, new families, millennials, empty-nesters, and retirees.”

Sunflower Development Group was responsible for the conversion of the Ambassador Hotel at 11th and Grand downtown.

Sunflower Development Group was responsible for the conversion of the Ambassador Hotel at 11th and Grand downtown.

Jason Swords, owner of Sunflower Development Group, recently finished the Ambassador Hotel at 11th and Grand, a $10.5 million conversion using historic tad credits. His group is also working on its biggest project to date – converting 215 W. Pershing to a mixed-use building by adding 5 floors of high-end apartments, a $17 million project.

He said he has two concerns about the future of using these credits in downtown Kansas City. “At some point, we’re going to run out of building stock,” he said. He said he’s also concerned about “falseness” in the market when it comes to developers achieving rents of $1.75 to $1.80 a square foot. “To go up from $1.25 to $1.80 is a three-generation swing. I hope we can get there, but our numbers don’t prevail upon us making $1.75. We have to make it work with numbers that make sense.”

L to R: Mark Pomerenke, NorthPoint Development; Jason Swords, Sunflower Development Group; Michael Knight, Commerce Tower Group; and Courtney Kounkel, Centric Projects.

L to R: Mark Pomerenke, NorthPoint Development; Jason Swords, Sunflower Development Group; Michael Knight, Commerce Tower Group; and Courtney Kounkel, Centric Projects.

Courtney Kounkel, partner of Centric Projects, highlighted the challenges she sees in the design and construction of historic conversion projects. The most difficult, she said, is often the stringent MBE/WBE requirements.

“The workforce reporting – we’re now required to report on any projects were doing with incentives, every single person that works on the project we now have to report every month. They’re tracking minority women, an as you can imagine in construction,  it’s difficult. We’re actively out looking for bringing crafts people that are women onto our project to meet those requirements,” she said.

In fact, although she is one of three founding partners of Centric Projects, she can’t get certified because she doesn’t own 51 percent of the company.

“It’s harder to get women’s participation on the construction services and unfortunately I don’t see as many programs out there encouraging women into that sector, which is a bad thing,” she said. “A lot of programs and services bolster and promote minority side of things but we need to encourage women’s participation because it’s currently, there are so few people out there that can check those boxes.”

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