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How citizen planning is building a bustling Gladstone

Before the city of Gladstone existed as it does today, it was merely a collection of real estate developments with no real cohesive vision. So when the city became incorporated in 1952, one of its first priorities of its residents was to downtown center – a “community gathering place that would help give us a sense of identity in this city,” says Gladstone City Council member Carol Suter, who spoke to members of KC CREW recently.

Then in 2003, the city turned over its downtown vision to its residents, who set forth the idea of a community center.

“The council completely backed away from this, so it was a strategic planning effort that was completely citizen-based,” council member Jean Moore said. “About 300 of us met over a period of two years and came up with a plan. When our citizens are involved in projects, that planning document doesn’t go on the shelf; We take action.”

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Jackie Carlson of the City of Riverside, Jason Glasrud of CBC Real Estate Group, Ryan Cronk of Flaherty + Collins, and Gladstone city council members Jean Moore and Carol Suter.

But in order to executive that vision, the city had to begin consolidating ownership of properties surrounding its city hall. The city also increased property taxes for the first time since 1952, and hiked sales taxes as well.

Today, the area along 70th street in Gladstone’s new downtown is completely transformed, and there sits an almost completed 222-unit luxury apartment project by Flaherty + Collins, an amphitheater, an ice skating rink, new restaurants, a professional building, and a community center that houses a number of programs for the North Kansas City school district.

Gladstone's new city center includes a professional building and rec center, ice skating rink, ampitheater, new retail and a 222-unit luxury apartment project.
Gladstone’s new city center includes a professional building and rec center, ice skating rink, ampitheater, new retail and a 222-unit luxury apartment project.

The next piece of the puzzle is developing quickly. Jason Glasrud of CBC Real Estate explained the partnership that formed between the city and his firm to develop the Northland Innovation Center. It’s a project that consists of a 90,000-square-foot Class A office building in its first phase, and a 50,000-square-foot Class A office building. Ultimately, the NIC will host the Northland CAPS, or Center for Advanced Professional Studies, and the North Kansas City School District’s SAGE program. The city helped finance the project by using Chapter 100 bonds, which provide a 20-year tax abatement.

“From the partnership standpoint, the city was fantastic. That’s partly what attracted us – that the city leadership, staff, and community as a whole were all marching in the same direction,” Glasrud said. “As a developer, you don’t always get that from a community.”

Plans for Northland Innovation Center include 140,000 square feet of Class A office space across two buildings.
Plans for Northland Innovation Center include 140,000 square feet of Class A office space across two buildings.

Glasrud and his team are still looking for Class A office users. In the meantime, CBC is dealing with the site’s challenging topography and looking for ways to incorporate nature trails and other creative features. The project team includes BHC RHODES and Hoefer Wysocki Architects.

Meanwhile, in about two weeks, residents of the luxury apartment project will begin moving into The Heights of Linden Square, which also incorporates 10,000 square feet of ground-level retail. And according to Ryan Cronk, vice president of development at Flaherty + Collins, the firm is already planning subsequent phases of the project.

Residents will begin moving into The Heights at Linden Square, a new luxury product, in mid-February.
Residents will begin moving into The Heights at Linden Square, a new luxury product, in mid-February.

“The goal was to provide new housing stock because there hadn’t been new stock in 20 to 30 years in Gladstone,” he said. “This product will be the best the Northland has to offer. I’d even put it up against some downtown properties as well – and that was the goal of the city when we built this: to provide a first-class stock of living. I’m looking forward to talks after we open next month to do another phase in Gladstone.”

Moving forward, the City of Gladstone is exploring potential redevelopment opportunities for properties it owns. According to Moore, the city is looking for an area of town to build an arts incubator, and encouraging further redevelopment of the shopping corridor along North Oak Trafficway.

Interested in attending a KCCREW event? Check out their upcoming programs here.


McCownGordon announces complete employee ownership

McCownGordon Construction is now completely employee-owned.
McCownGordon Construction is now completely employee-owned.

At the beginning of 2015, McCownGordon Construction implemented an employee stock ownership plan as part of the company’s succession plans. According to McCownGordon, the move will position the company for future growth, create an entrepreneurial culture, and better serve its regional clients.

The Employee Stock Ownership Plan was fully implemented on January 1. According to CEO Pat McCown,” We always knew that company ownership would be broader than just a few people,” he said. “We have grown exponentially and we are excited for this transition to build upon our outstanding foundation as a company and drive performance for our clients.”

McCownGordon owners Ramin Cherafat, Pat McCown and Brett Gordon.
McCownGordon owners Ramin Cherafat, Pat McCown and Brett Gordon.

That growth would not have been possible without its associates. According to the ESOP Association, shared company ownership enhances worker performance and well-being even further.

“The decision to implement a 100 percent ESOP for the company was to ensure the entire team had the opportunity to share the company’s success and continue to drive the entrepreneurial spirit that has always been a part of McCownGordon,” President Brett Gordon said. “We have always made significant investments in our team over the years and this was a natural fit for our company.”

Recently, McCownGordon opened its first regional office in Manhattan, Kan., providing better service for its clients and giving its associates an opportunity to grow professionally. The company says its adoption of ESOP will not change the company’s current management or business strategy.


CBRE’s Deal of the Week

Wakarusa Corporate Centre, 4910 Corporate Center Drive, Lawrence, Kan.
Wakarusa Corporate Centre, 4910 Corporate Center Drive, Lawrence, Kan.

A team of CBRE brokers take home this week’s deal of the week with the sale of a Class A office building in Lawrence, Kan. Vice President Gina Anderson, Vice Chairman Gary Carr, Vice President Keith Baker and Senior Real Estate Manager Randy Goldsmith represented the seller, Bank Midwest. The buyers, TDG Wakarusa and BCL Alameda LLC, were self-represented.

Prominently located along Wakarusa Drive, the building features the highest level of tenant finishes in Lawrence, plus an impressive rent roll with the majority of tenants having investment grade credit. Financial details of the deal, which closed on Dec. 31, were not disclosed.

Wakarusa Corporate Centre, 4910 Corporate Center Drive, Lawrence, Kan., 66047
Wakarusa Corporate Centre, 4910 Corporate Center Drive, Lawrence, Kan., 66047

According to CBRE, “The Wakarusa offering presents investors with a well-timed, stabilized acquisition opportunity at a significant discount-to-replacement cost. Featuring a Class A office asset with a high-profile location, Wakarusa Corporate Centre also delivers the much sought-after attributes of quality, investment-grade cash flow security and a location in the affluent Alvamar & West submarket that consistently achieves above-market rental rates and occupancy statistics for the Lawrence office space market.”

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Briarcliff Development debuts new chairwoman, multifamily project

Briarcliff Development Company is finishing up the last phase of its latest multifamily project north of the river – a development 20 years in the making. With a completion he Landing at Briarcliff set for this summer, the project includes a one- and two-bedroom mix of 340 units across 9 buildings with a clubhouse and 3,500 square foot fitness center, along with a handful of impressive amenities.

According to Teresa Benson of EPC Property Group, which is the property manager at the Landing, “With a luxury apartment development, it’s important to people that if they’re going to pay higher rents, they have these amenities,” she said. “It’s more than living in an apartment – it’s living in a community.”

The development features a mix of one- and two-bedroom units with a slew of amenities.
The development features a mix of one- and two-bedroom units with a slew of amenities.

With a mix of one- and two-bedrooms, units range from 750 square feet to 1,364 square feet, and from $895 up to $1795. In addition to solar panel car ports and a community garden, the Landing also offers a theater room, free car service, an saltwater pool with an infinity edge overlooking the neighboring conservation land, as well as a fitness center with gym equipment, a yoga studio, a CrossFit training area, tanning room, sauna, and on-site massage therapist.

Although four more buildings have yet to be completed, the project is 25 percent leased currently. But the development team had to overcome a number of hurdles to get the project to where it is today, according to Richie Benninghoven, president of Briarcliff Development.

The Landing has an impressive fitness facility, complete with yoga studio, CrossFit training area, cardio and gym equipment, in-house massage therapist, tanning and a sauna.
The Landing has an impressive fitness facility, complete with yoga studio, CrossFit training area, cardio and gym equipment, in-house massage therapist, tanning and a sauna.

“One of the major parts of this overall development was creating ease of access,” he said. “Back in 2011 we partnered with MoDOT to build roundabouts where there was previously a four-way stop on one side with an off and on exit. When we put that there it created a full diamond interchange, and really opened up access to this site.”

One of those challenges also included building on a iste that was below the 100-year flood plain. “We put in 25 feet of fill, and now these 45 acres have become an asset to the city and made it a great place for residents to live,” Benninghoven said.

Julie Andrews is the newest chairwoman of the board at Briarcliff Development Company. She succeeds her father, Charles Garney.
Julie Andrews is the newest chairwoman of the board at Briarcliff Development Company. She succeeds her father, Charles Garney.

Briarcliff Development is seeing a few internal changes of its own. Julie Andrews, daughter of Charles Garney, succeeded him as chairman of the board at the beginning of 2015.

“My goal in coming into Briarcliff was to help my dad and my family to make sure I carried on my dad’s intentions and vision after he’s gone,” Andrews said. “We’re blessed that he’s still healthy, so now it’s a matter of helping him retire so he can do whatever he wants to do whenever he wants to do it. But now our banks, partners, tenants and everyone else knows that Briarcliff will continue to run under the vision he had.”

The clubhouse at The Landing at Briarcliff. For more photos, check out the gallery below.
The clubhouse at The Landing at Briarcliff. For more photos, check out the gallery below.

But it wasn’t an easy transition. First, Andrews had to convince her five sisters that the move was the right choice. Then came a year of being on the board without pay or voting rights. Meanwhile, she assumed the position of business development and began commuting from Des Moines to Kansas City as often as possible, and calling into weekly staff meetings. Now, as of 2015, she’s taken the helm as board chairwoman.

So what’s next in the works for Briarcliff? The company has added a new partner, Greg Galvin, formerly of Block Real Estate Services, who is helping lead a hunt for new deals.

“We’re out looking for new Briarcliff projects, to see how we can expand,” Andrews said, hinting that some of those projects could take place in Des Moines, where she lives. “That will be a highlight of ours for 2015: Taking care of what’s here but seeing what else is out there too.”

Interested in checking out the project for yourself? Stop by The Landing at Briarcliff, 1601 NW 38th St. in Kansas City, Mo., for an open house TODAY from 4 to 6 p.m.!

 


Newmark Grubb Zimmer’s
Deal of the Week

2405 Grand, Kansas City, Mo.
2405 Grand, Kansas City, Mo.

Newmark Grubb Zimmer takes home this week’s deal of the week with the signing of a lease near Crown Center. People to People International will soon move into the new home of its headquarters at 2405 Grand in Kansas City, Mo. The nonprofit organization will move into a 5,100-square-foot space in the Crown Center office building.

Nick Suarez of Newmark Grubb Zimmer represented the tenant, while Jeff Winters and Tom Houts of Cassidy Turley represented the landlord.

Did you recently close a significant deal? Tell us about it!

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Chris Kuehl’s 2015 economic forecast: Adapting to a new world

According to economist Chris Kuehl, managing director and co-founder of Armada Corporate Intelligence, the U.S. economy is currently the strongest in the world. Because of that, don’t expect interest rates to rise soon.

“That can be an advantage in some respects, but in some respects is a more of a disadvantage,” Kuehl told the Kansas City chapter of CCIM on Friday.

Here’s what he had to say about the regional economy, and what we can look forward to over the coming year.

Chris Kuehl speaks to the Kansas City chapter of CCIM on Friday.
Chris Kuehl speaks to the Kansas City chapter of CCIM on Friday.

ON LOCAL INDUSTRY

“Our unemployment rate sits in the middle, and growth is somewhere in the middle as well, depending on the region. Transportation is growing pretty aggressively, so Kansas City Southern and trucking companies here are doing well. The medical field is flourishing nationally, and we’ve got obvious connections to that which has been fueling growth in different parts of the city. We’ve been lucky when it comes to manufacturing in auto sector work, as the plants here never really did feel the recession and are still making vehicles in demand. With telecom, Sprint is still trying to figure out where it fits in the world today.

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“We’re still dealing with hangovers from the recession when it comes to agriculture and some of the support areas around construction. We had a boom ike everyone else, which became something of a bust, but now it’s regaining a footing. We didn’t fall as far as most, but we didn’t gain as much as most. The big issue when it comes to construction going forward is the public sector and commercial. The residential side is coming back in areas, but it’s very neighborhood driven and there may be radical differences from one part of the city to the other. The public sector side is dead in the water, because states and cities don’t have money.”

Outgoing CCIM president Gib Kerr of Cassidy Turley received recognition for his work with the group over the past year.
Outgoing CCIM president Gib Kerr of Cassidy Turley received recognition for his work with the group over the past year.

ON THE NEW ECONOMY

“Offices all over are struggling because a lot of the companies that used to make up the largest office holders are downsizing. Law and accounting firms are smaller; They don’t need as much space for people as they once did. Telecommuting is here. An awful lot of people don’t need an office at all., so companies are cutting back in that respect. But in the same token, new highly tech-oriented operations are coming in and looking for space but their demands are different from what they were ten years ago. Sometimes buildings are suited for their tech-driven world; Sometimes they’re not.”

The new economy has developers building everything differently -- even senior living centers, like this one by LANE4 Property Group going in at 61st and Metcalf.
The new economy has developers building everything differently — even senior living centers, which Kuehl says are looking more like a combination of “Club Med and ER.” Pictured above: LANE4 Property Group’s senior living center going in at 61st and Metcalf.

ON MILLENNIALS DRIVING CHANGE

“We’re all trying to figure out what to do with millennials. It’s the largest generation now and we don’t know where they want to live or what they want to do. We’re noticing finally that those on the top end of the millennial generation – those in their 30s – are starting to become more traditional, starting families and looking for homes in the suburbs. But this is a generation that up to now has been delayed 6 years compared to their previous cohorts. They’re slower to get drivers licenses and homes, and are taking more time to start families and make a career choice. All of that affects everything from recruiting to how we develop for that particular cohort. It’s a particularly transient generation – not a very patient group. If they’re looking for opportunities in the future, that means leaving their current employer. The average millennial works for their current employer for two years, on average.

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“We’re really getting that changing of the guard generationally, which is having a big effect economically,” Keuhl said. “A lot of what’s pre-occupying economists these days is what the new normal looks like, because we now know that we’re not going back to anything. Whatever we were experiencing prior to this recession, that’s not coming back. We’re in a new world.”


KC CREW names
Excellence Award winners

Diana Ennis of Stewart Title, Marcia Charney of Continental Title, and Debora FIeld, KC CREW outgoing president.
Diana Ennis of Stewart Title, Marcia Charney of Continental Title, and Debora FIeld, KC CREW outgoing president.

KC CREW doled out its annual Excellence Awards on Tuesday to two prominent local women in the commercial real estate scene. “They’ve been involved in our chapter and community for decades, working tirelessly,” outgoing KCCREW president and Newmark Grubb Zimmer (title) Debora Field said. “After a call for nominations, it was clear that we had two leaders to exemplify what it means to work to help women in commercial real estate be successful.”

Marcia Charney is an attorney that practiced commercial real estate law sine 1984, and currently serves as counsel in the commercial division of Continental Title. She has served a number of posts on the local CREW chapter’s board of directors as well as the national CREW Network. She’s also on the board for Zonta International and is on the alumni admissions counsel for Northwestern University.

Diana Ennis' fellow Stewart Title colleagues attended the KC CREW lunch on Tuesday to celebrate her retirement.
Diana Ennis’ fellow Stewart Title colleagues attended the KC CREW lunch on Tuesday to celebrate her retirement.

The second award went to Diana Ennis, who recently retired from her last post as commercial division branch manager for Stewart Title, where she oversaw staff that handled about 500 commercial transactions annually. She’s also held been a board member and past president of KCCREW and is involved in CCIM. She spends her free time as a programmer and engineer of a community radio station, KKFI 90.1 FM, where she hosts a weekly Americana roots music show on Tuesday mornings.

Congratulations to two well-deserved honors!


Hunt Midwest preps to host annual Groundhog Run at Subtropolis

The Groundhog Run, hosted at Hunt Midwest Subtropolis, is one of the most popular races in the country, with the tunnels staying a consistent 65 to 68 degrees. On-site registration is still open; Details here.
The Groundhog Run, hosted at Hunt Midwest Subtropolis, is one of the most popular races in the country, with the tunnels staying a consistent 65 to 68 degrees. On-site registration is still open; Details here.

It’s year number 33 for one of the most popular races in the country, held underground right here in Kansas City. This weekend, Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development will host the 33rd annual Groundhog Run at Subtropolis, the world’s largest underground business park. The park, which was created by mining its 270 million-year-old limestone, is a comfortable track for runners as it is consistently 65 to 68 degrees year round – a huge perk to its tenants.

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Photos courtesy of Hunt Midwest/Children’s TLC.

Proceeds of the event go to Children’s TLC, a local therapeutic preschool and outpatient therapy clinic serving children with disabilities, developmental disabilities and fragile medical conditions. The race serves as the organization’s largest fundraiser. In fact, since the race started in 1982, it’s raised more than $4.2 million for the cause. Interested in participating? On-site registration is still available. More details here.

Here’s what some of this year’s runners and race sponsors had to say:

Michael Scott, Block Real Estate Services
Michael Scott, Block Real Estate Services

Michael Scott, Block Real Estate Services: “The Groundhog Run back in 2011 was the first running event I’ve ever participated in… For the months leading up to the event, it helped motivate me to stay in shape. Since then, I’ve run the Jeff Taylor Race, Warrior Dash, Color Run, and last year I did the Tough Mudder. As far as the event itself, the caves are an interesting part of the region, which makes for a unique running experience. The overall vibe on the day of the race is very positive and energetic. The event staff is very friendly and positioned around the race course to cheer us on.”

Jim Hansen, H2B architects
Jim Hansen, H2B architects

Jim Hansen, H2B architects: “H2B architects is a small architectural firm who has been fortunate to provide Hunt Midwest with design services for some of their projects in the SubTropolis over the last several years, for such tenants as Leggett & Platt, Food Service Warehouse and Light Edge. It was important to us to do what we could to help support the Children’s TLC Groundhog Run and therefore all three of our partners, Bill Browning, Jeff Hall, myself and several of our family members are running the 5K. This will be the first organized run for Jeff Hall and myself, while Bill Browning, ran cross country in high school and continues to run regularly is expected to be our front runner.  I will be happy with just not being the last guy across the finish line. I’m hoping that my familiarity with the SubTropolis will give me the advantage over the last guy.”

Richard Wetzel, Centric Projects
Richard Wetzel, Centric Projects

Richard Wetzel, Centric Projects: “We’re participating first because it’s a great cause – Children’s TLC is an amazing organization – a second because it’s such a cool venue. The Hunt Midwest Subtropolis has a great story and atmosphere. And third because it’s a great team building opportunity for our firm’s associates and families.  We’re thrilled to be part of the race this year!”