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.”
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.
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.”
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.
“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
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.”
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
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.
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.”