SIOR prepares for largest Development Day in history

Hundreds of professionals will flock to Kansas City’s premier commercial real estate networking event on Thursday as organizers prepare for this year’s SIOR Development Day. The event, which is free for attendees, will bring together more than 1,000 real estate developers, brokers, engineers, architects and more to mingle and learn more about the roughly 80 companies scheduled to present that day.

The 25-year-old event has a strong history, and it’s only getting bigger. To accommodate that growth, event organizers this year have moved Development Day to the Kansas City Convention Center. The Grand Ballroom is double the space and allows for 25 percent more booths.

Richard Wetzel, partner of Centric Projects, will be participating in the SIOR Development Day fun.

Richard Wetzel, partner of Centric Projects, will be participating in the SIOR Development Day fun.

So why should you carve out a couple hours of your Thursday evening?

“SIOR Development Day is the one day a year all commercial real estate professionals come together, so it’s a great opportunity to catch-up with colleagues and meet new ones,” said Richard Wetzel, partner of Centric Projects. “Most companies that surround the commercial real estate world, like architects, engineers, contractors, banks, title companies, appraisal firms, economic development agencies, etc. take part. It’s a fun evening and something I look forward to every year.”

Be sure to check out Centric Projects’ booth that day, where the company will be highlighting some of its recent work.

Joseph Platt, Grandbridge Real Estate Capital

Joseph Platt, Grandbridge Real Estate Capital

It’s the diverse group that really makes the difference for Grandbridge Real Estate Capital. The company is continuing its streak of presenting at Development Day every year. That’s where it gets the best bang for its buck, as the company considers it the most well-attended event on the commercial real estate calendar.

“Not only is it a very fun event, but it also provides for perhaps the most diverse range of professionals under one roof,” said Joseph Platt, senior vice president at Grandbridge. “From that aspect, our exposure as a company is very wide due to our relationships with (those) professionals.”

For Platt, the soiree highlights one of the biggest keys to navigating the industry.

“Thankfully, the commercial real estate industry remains a relationship business,” Platt said. “Forums and events such as SIOR Development Day are ideal for professionals to gather and network, whether it’s meeting someone for the first time – which always seems to happen at Development Day – or bumping into a client or friend you see at similar events.”

Marty Hoffey, MW Builders

Marty Hoffey, MW Builders

But be prepared, said Marty Hoffey of MW Builders.

“Expect to visit with a large number of people in a limited amount of time,” Hoffey warns. “I typically have a couple weeks of follow up meetings with individuals and companies that I meet at the event, where we share information and discuss teaming opportunities on upcoming projects.  Deals typically don’t get done at the event, but relationships are either developed or solidified throughout the evening.”

At SIOR Development Day, MW Builders will be highlighting the recently completed Kansas State University basketball training facility.

At SIOR Development Day, MW Builders will be highlighting the recently completed Kansas State University basketball training facility.

As an exhibitor, MW Builders will be highlighting a few of its recently completed projects, including the Kansas State University basketball training facility and Woodend Office and Distribution Facility I, as well as Woodend Office and Distribution Facility II, which is currently under construction.

It all goes down Thursday, Sept. 18 in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center. Find more information on the free event, check out SIOR’s website, or click here.


Smart Warehousing
hints at expansion in LPKC

Smart Warehousing takes up 575,000 square feet at Logistics Park Kansas City -- but that number could soon double.

Smart Warehousing takes up 575,000 square feet at Logistics Park Kansas City — but that number could soon double.

Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corp. hosted a breakfast Tuesday morning at Logistics Park Kansas City in Edgerton, Kan., where the group showcased Smart Warehousing’s newly-finished 575,000-square-foot distribution facility.

Smart Warehousing has grown from a 5,000-square-foot operation in Olathe to more than 5 million square feet across 25 U.S. locations.

Smart Warehousing has grown from a 5,000-square-foot operation in Olathe to more than 5 million square feet across 25 U.S. locations.

Carl Wasinger, founder and CEO of Smart Warehousing, shared the story of his company’s formation. Twelve years ago, Smart Warehousing was a 5,000-square-foot operation in Olathe. Today, the company has expanded and sits on 5 million square feet of space across 25 facilities in the United States.

Carl Wasinger (pictured here speaking as part of the Kansas Exports forum) says his company's clients include LEGO, Campbell's Soup, and SeaWorld.

Carl Wasinger (pictured here speaking as part of the Kansas Exports forum) says his company’s clients include LEGO, Campbell’s Soup, and SeaWorld.

Smart Warehousing has attracted more than 800 clients to its proprietary web-based system, which manages clients’ inventory flow. Wasinger says the company adds, on average, another client every day to a list that includes LEGO, Campbell’s Soup, Russell Stover, and SeaWorld.

Wasinger speaks to the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corp. For more information on the group, click here. http://www.thinksouthwestjohnsoncounty.com/

Wasinger speaks to the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corp. For more information on the group, click here.

The company is preparing for a growth spurt, and could be looking to expand their presence at Logistics Park Kansas City to over 1 million square feet within the next two years, Wasinger hinted.

For more information on Smart Warehousing, visit the company’s website, or click here.


BRES’ Deal of the Week

4400 Corporate Center, 4400 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.

4400 Corporate Center, 4400 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.

Block Real Estate Services takes home this week’s Deal of the Week with an $11 million investment sale in Overland Park, Kan. Grant Reves, Brian Beggs, Ken Block and Aaron Mesmer teamed up for the sale of a 107,912-square-foot building office building at 4400 College Blvd., better known as 4400 Corporate Center.

With easy access to I-435, the Energy Star qualified 4400 Corporate Center has a number of suites ranging from 1,400 to 52,000 square feet, and numerous updates to the lobby, atrium, elevator cap, restrooms, and has a new roof and updated parking lot.

Susan Smith and Michael VanBuskirk of Newmark Grubb Zimmer represented the buyer.

Did you recently close a significant deal? Let us know and we may feature it as our deal of the week! Click here to email MetroWire Media’s managing editor.

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Death of the Shopping Mall: Metcalf South’s final days

Perched on the corner of one of Kansas City’s busiest intersections sits the shell of a once thriving shopping mall. Inside, walkers pace the shadowed halls and signs of clearance sales are strewn from dark store windows. But by September 19th, LANE4 Property Group recently announced, the doors to Metcalf South Mall will officially close to the public.

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In the last of Metcalf South’s final days, “sale” signs are written all across a littered storefront.

It’s hardly the first shopping mall in Kansas City to close its doors. Malls across the country have been shuttering to the tune of nearly 400 since 2007. The U.S. hasn’t seen a new mall completed since 2006. But just three miles down the road from Metcalf South, Oak Park Mall is bustling. Are we really witnessing the death of the American shopping mall? What does it take to survive as a mall in today’s changing times?

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Jerry White, senior retail advisor at Colliers International, was formerly head of leasing for Bannister Mall, a shopping mall his father Lewis White developed and opened in 1980. Over the 27-year life of the mall, White fought a shrinking customer base and struggled to overcome perceptual issues that haunted the mall, bringing it to its ultimate demise in 2007.

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LANE4 Property Group is consulting the surrounding community about what they’d like to see replace Metcalf South.

“We spent a lot of money hiring ad agencies and consulting agencies, trying to explain to people that Bannister was just as safe as any other mall in the city and that the statistics proved it,” White said. “We also had an economic research consultant tell us that we were basically getting squeezed by Independence on one side, Ward Parkway on the other, and stuff was starting to get going in Lee’s Summit. When were first there, there was not that competition. I-435 wasn’t a viable highway. People just started to pick apart that trade area.”

It’s a sector that has always kept him on his toes.

Jerry White is senior retail advisor at Colliers International. He was the former head of leasing for Bannister Mall, which his dad developed and opened in 1980.

Jerry White is senior retail advisor at Colliers International. He was the former head of leasing for Bannister Mall, which his dad developed and opened in 1980.

“Retail is always changing,” White said. “And it will continue to evolve. That’s what makes retail fun – trying to find out what the next curve is and staying ahead of it.”

The biggest difference he sees in malls at their peak versus now is that most larger malls are owned by public corporations with access to institutional capital.

“You need that because as tenants change constantly, you always have to provide more capital for them to come to your property,” he said. “Whereas an individual can’t do that in the same way an institution could.”

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Sears is one of many department stores that are fighting to stay alive. Many smaller malls which are anchored by stores like Sears and JC Penney have crumbled.

Back then, the mall’s target shopper was a woman between 18 and 35. Today, the life of that same woman looks very different, White said.

“Today, the 18 to 35-year-old woman may be living downtown, may not have a car, and may not be in the suburbs where they were before. The entire demographics have changed,” he said. “Who is living out in the suburbs near the malls today is often not the target customer that the mall is looking for. So when you go out to Metcalf South, it’s a good population of people, but they’re not the people that need to be in the shopping mall every 6 months.”

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The three-story mall sits largely vacant, except for a few walkers who pace its halls.

The malls also discovered what White calls the “kamikaze shopper.” Today, the average American is busy and doesn’t have the time to hunt down a parking spot, browse other stores, get distracted, and go to the food court.

“You want to go straight to the front door, run in and get what you need,” White said. Several retailers responded. Kohl’s, The Gap and The Limited still had their successful mall stores, but started to move closer to neighborhoods to make it easier on the shopper. “We’re all time stressed these days,” he said.

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Stores like The Limited are seeing the benefits in moving away from the malls and closer to the shopper’s neighborhood.

Are online retail sales to blame?

Not really – at least not yet. Only about 6 percent of all retail sales are made online. For some stores, the customer’s option to browse merchandise online at their leisure has been beneficial. Shopping online is another time-driven commodity, White said, and those who got on board early are reaping the rewards.

One thing is for sure: The future Metcalf South won’t look like it does today.

LANE4, which purchased the 62-acre site with St. Louis billionaire Stan Kroenke in February, is still taking suggestions from the surrounding community on what they’d like to see. Owen Buckley, LANE4 president, said he expects to redevelop the area much like he did Corinth Square, adding in plenty of new restaurants such as Urban Table and SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza. (Read more from Buckley in this February article.)

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Metcalf South’s empty parking lot marks the last of its final days. The store officially closes Sept. 19.

White’s guess?

“Metcalf South will probably have a different format. It’ll be more than shopping, whether that’s multifamily housing, offices, or medical uses,” he said. “Once they redo it, and people see that there’s nice houses, big trees, good streets, nice people, and easy access to lots of Kansas City, this could be a whole new regeneration for the 95th and Metcalf corridor.”

What would you like to see happen at the Metcalf South site? Let us know – and check out more photos of Metcalf South – on our Facebook page!


KC Sports Commission CEO on
embracing economic opportunities

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Ever wonder what the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission does? Check out an overview in this video here.

How does Kansas City attract and retain sporting events and organizations? Kathy Nelson, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation will speak to IREM Kansas City next week as part of the group’s Leadership Empowerment Series. One of only three female sports commission presidents in the U.S., Nelson helps the bi-state region realize economic, social and community-building benefits of sports.

Interested in attending? The luncheon takes place Thursday, Sept. 18 at Milburn Country Club. Find more details and register by clicking here.

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Kemper Arena’s fate rests on one hell of a lease

There’s a giant sucking sound coming out of the West Bottoms.

“Why we haven’t all heard it,” Chase Simmons of Polsinelli PC said, “I have no idea.”

That’s the point that Simmons, who serves as counsel to the American Royal, made to KCRAR on Wednesday as he and Steve Foutch presented their two proposals for Kemper Arena. While the American Royal would like to see the city-owned Kemper Arena torn down and replaced by a smaller, more efficient arena, the Foutch Brothers have a $22 million plan to preserve the building using historic tax credits and convert it to a youth sports complex that would bring 1,000 kids to the West Bottoms every day.

Steve Foutch of Foutch Brothers, Bob Mayer of KCRAR, and Chase Simmons of Polsinelli PC joined forces to discuss the future of Kemper Arena.

Steve Foutch of Foutch Brothers, Bob Mayer of KCRAR, and Chase Simmons of Polsinelli PC joined forces to discuss the future of Kemper Arena.

And the main point of contention? The American Royal has 40-year (highly contested and confusing) lease on Kemper, which admittedly, “is not very well written if you’re the city,” Simmons said. “But if you’re the tenant, it’s a damn good lease.”

According to Simmons’ interpretation, the lease calls for minimal rent from the American Royal, and in exchange, the city provides all operations and maintenance, and promises to continuously improve it.

Simmons serves as counsel to the American Royal, and is pushing the group's concept for a newly constructed facility in the West Bottoms.

Simmons serves as counsel to the American Royal, and is pushing the group’s concept for a newly constructed facility in the West Bottoms.

“We’ve never even had the continuous improvement discussion with the city; We just want the bathrooms to work. We want the HVAC to work. And they don’t,” Simmons said. “So about 3 or 4 years ago, the leaders of the American Royal came to the city and said, ‘Look, this isn’t working out well.’”

Based on the numbers that the American Royal received and validated with the city, Simmons said, the city has $150 million worth of obligations to the organization, on top of the $2.5 million it’s losing on average each year. Repeated attempts by Global Spectrum and AEG to market the building to prospective tenants have failed, he said. Outside of the barbecue competition, “No one is going to go there,” Simmons said. “Why would we market it?”

Could both plans co-exist, as laid out in this aerial shot? Don't count on it, says the American Royal.

Could both plans co-exist, as laid out in this aerial shot? Don’t count on it, says the American Royal.

Here’s what the American Royal proposes: Their roughly $84 million plan – backed by the Kemper family and Cerner founders Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig – calls for a newly constructed smaller facility using $30 in public financing. It also calls for the demolition of Kemper Arena at a cost to Kansas City taxpayers of $6 million.

“That that $30 million is a fraction of what the city is spending now,” Simmons said. “There is an ongoing spend and obligation the city is legally required to make, and we’re reducing that.”

Steve Foutch plans to spend $22 million to convert Kemper Arena to a youth sports facility.

Steve Foutch plans to spend $22 million to convert Kemper Arena to a youth sports facility.

That’s where the Foutch Brothers come in. A historic preservation company, Foutch has roughly 200 employees and has done nearly $200 million worth of historic renovation work across the Midwest. Steve Foutch has proposed a $22 million plan that – at zero cost to taxpayers – would place the building on the National Register of Historic Places and turn it into a youth sports haven.

A rendering of the bottom bowl of Kemper Arena, as proposed by the Foutch Brothers.

A rendering of the bottom bowl of Kemper Arena, as proposed by the Foutch Brothers. [Click here to see a larger view.]

Newly unveiled concept renderings show an added 50,000-square-foot second floor to the building, and plans for basketball and volleyball courts, the largest indoor walking track in Kansas City, health clinics, restaurants and caterers, and other commercial space. Movie theaters will help kids learn to perfect their sport, batting cages and water therapy cages will be added, and the locker rooms will be renovated.

This rendering shows the new upper bowl of Kemper Arena. [Click here for a larger photo.]  http://metrowiremedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/kemper-new-upper-bowl-rendering.jpg

This rendering shows the new upper bowl of Kemper Arena. [Click here for a larger photo.]

The building currently has no insulation; Foutch’s plan would add insulation and smaller, more efficient systems that will cut utilities cost by about 25 percent.

The best part? “It’s all on my checkbook,” Foutch said. He’ll use a combination of private money coupled with state and federal tax credits, and is asking for a 10-year tax abatement.

Click here http://metrowiremedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/project-overview-kemper-foutch.jpg to see a larger version of Kemper Arena's main concourse, as proposed by the Foutch Brothers.

Click here to see a larger version of Kemper Arena’s main concourse, as proposed by the Foutch Brothers.

“This is about the development of the West Bottoms,” Foutch said. “We’re trying to repurpose the building the way we repurposed 20-something schools across the Midwest. We could save that $6 million chunk of tax payer money to tear it down. We’re talking about buying the building from the city for a nominal fee, and it’s totally off their books.”

But according to Simmons, the American Royal will not sign off on that plan – even if it allows both plans co-exist. It’s skeptical about Foutch’s numbers, but it does see the allure of a youth sports complex, Simmons said. That’s why the American Royal has added a sports component to their plans for a new facility, and has brought Sporting Kansas City to the mix to run that program. But its ultimate focus is to preserve the success of American Royal in the West Bottoms. However, the economic impact of the annual barbecue festivities has been waning.

This rendering shows Foutch's 5-lane indoor walking track (far left), which is a fifth of a mile long, running alongside retail space. [Click here for a larger image.] http://metrowiremedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/kemper-atriums-walking-track-WP1.jpg

This rendering shows Foutch’s 5-lane indoor walking track (far left), which is a fifth of a mile long, running alongside retail space. [Click here for a larger image.]

“Attendance and the economic impact of those events has been going down steadily over the last couple of years as the condition of the building goes down,” Simmons said. “But we feel very confident, and there’s a lot of private money counting on the fact that when we get a facility that makes more sense, it will go back up.”

So why can’t both plans exist? Currently, the American Royal turns down 50 teams per year for its barbecue competition. The new facility, if it were to sit alongside Kemper Arena, would cut into a 150 parking stalls.

Click here http://metrowiremedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/kemper-new-mezzanine.jpg to see a larger version of Kemper Arena's new mezzanine, as proposed by the Foutch Brothers.

Click here to see a larger version of Kemper Arena’s new mezzanine, as proposed by the Foutch Brothers.

 “The only way Steve’s proposal works is if the city runs the American Royal off and gets them to give up their rights for the next 40 years to Kemper Arena. That’s not been something on the table that the city has proposed. If it ever came to the table, there would be interesting discussions as to what would happen to Kemper Arena. Steve’s plan for Kemper is probably as good as any. It’s very impressive,” Simmons said. “But the fact is that the American Royal has an absolute veto over these major changes. The city agrees with that. No one has ever alleged otherwise. Quite frankly, if anyone ever did choose to break the lease or find an ‘out’ in it, and we’re going to give the building to Steve or anyone else, there would be immediate litigation. Steve’s plan cannot be financed under litigation or any other terms.”

One thing is for sure: The story is still unfolding. A council committee is currently looking at both plans and is hoping to make a recommendation by the end of the month. Stay tuned.


Kessinger/Hunter’s
Deal of the Week

10800 Lakeview Rd., Lenexa, Kan.

10800 Lakeview Rd., Lenexa, Kan.

A broker from Kessinger/Hunter takes home MetroWire’s deal of week with the sale of a Lenexa building. Represented by Matthew Severns, CCIM, of Kessinger/Hunter, SHAR Construction and Real Estate is the new owner of a 16,000-square-foot building at 10800 Lakeview.

John Stafford of Colliers International represented the seller.

Did you recently negotiate a significant sale or lease? Let us know and we’ll feature it as our Deal of the Week! Email our managing editor, Autumn MorningSky, by clicking here.

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