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Callie Jones of Cassidy Turley finds her rhythm as KC broker

Callie Jones, right, has followed in the footsteps of her father Rod Jones in becoming a broker.

Callie Jones, right, has followed in the footsteps of her father Rod Jones in becoming a broker.

Callie Jones, office broker with Cassidy Turley, always knew she wanted to go into finance – but it was seeing the excitement of her father Rod Jones’ career that attracted her to the industry. “There’s high risk, but there’s also high reward,” she said. Plus, she has the skin for it, her father has told her. We sat down with Callie to discuss the highs and lows of the industry, and what it’s like for a young broker to enter a competitive field.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN CASSIDY TURLEY?

I started as an intern at Cassidy Turley when I was still in college, and worked then with the team I work with now – Mike Mayer, Tom Houts and Jeff Winters,” she said. “When I came back from school, I interviewed at basically every company. A lot of the companies if there was a spot they would have offered it, but I’d be on my own. I wanted a senior mentor like mike that I have now. I wasn’t having luck, was maybe going to try something else. But Cassidy had a special situation.”

After learning that Callie was ready to take a position at RED Brokerage, the team put together a creative role for her.

“They found this hybrid role for me where I could start salaried, learn both the marketing side of the business and do a lot of their financial analysis, go to meetings, and get put into a lot of client contact,” she said. “I was there probably a year and a half in that role, and last fall decided that I wanted to go full-blown broker. So it’s been over 6 months, I’ll be approaching a year in the fall. It’s good to still have the support of that team.”

Callie-Jones-Cassidy-Turley-WPWHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A YOUNG WOMAN NEW TO THE INDUSTRY?

“I definitely don’t feel intimidated. I’d rather look at it as a non-event; This is business. Sometimes there’s an advantage to being a man, sometimes there’s advantages to being a woman. I think I’m a refreshing face. It’s not the norm. But overall, it doesn’t really bother me. I think it’s an excuse.”

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE BUSINESS?

“I do think the more fun side of the business is the tenant rep side, although you need to understand both sides in order to be successful, both to educate your landlord about tenants but also to know what tenants are thinking on that side of the deal. With a tenant, it’s dynamic and you can be creative. You’re getting lists, prospects, and putting out proposals and there’s always a 50/50 chance that it’s going to work out. You never know, but it’s likely there’s going to be a deal done so you can be more engaged. I think it’s more fun. You may have a tenant that thought they wanted to lease X amount of square feet of space until they get out and see some places and decide to buy a building – and then it’s a whole new deal. They’re both good learning experiences but I’ve learned a lot on the tenant side.”

ECCO Select will move into its new home at 4100 N. Mulberry Dr., at Briarcliff Village in November.

Callie says her most memorable deal was helping find ECCO Select a new home at 4100 N. Mulberry Dr., at Briarcliff Village. Read more about that deal by clicking here.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE DEAL SO FAR?

Callie helped ECCO Select, an local information technology firm run by President and CEO Jeanette Prenger, find a new home as it burst at the seams in its current downtown home. “Because I sourced it, I had more skin in the game, but it took its twists and turns and there were points at which I was always playing problem-solver.” With cost as the company’s primary driver, she found a 12,221-square-foot space in Briarcliff I that will accommodate the growing firm and its need for space for up to 50 employees. Read more about that deal here.

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST MENTOR?

As an intern, Callie began working with Mike Mayer, Tom Houts and Jeff Winters, and today the team still coaches her.

“Mike Mayer (is my mentor) on the macro level; He’s always looped in on everything we’re working on. We meet with him monthly, if not bi-weekly. He’s always critiquing and helping us; Right now, he’s having us give mock property tours to make sure we’re giving them as effective as possible. Tom is the deal-driver, being at the right point in his career where he’s had enough experience to where he can walk the walk, talk the talk, and carry out business.”

"The Plaza is my playground," Callie says.

“The Plaza is my playground,” Callie says. Photo courtesy of VisitKC.

WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE YOUR PEERS TO GO INTO THIS INDUSTRY?

“Yes and no. Part of what’s really hard about it is the risk you take on, and as a young person that’s growing it’s a struggle, because you won’t immediately have recurring fees, deals, clients, that you can touch. You have to build your business and you don’t have a guaranteed paycheck. Sometimes they’re few and far between, other times they hit all at once. You have to be smart. You have to have the mindset that just because you get a paycheck doesn’t mean you get to go buy a new car. You have to be conscious of that. But the upside is so great. I think that our clients are getting more sophisticated, and they’re tending to sometimes be younger. I think a young person can bring a refreshing aspect to the business. It’s important to be conscious of the risk and the reward but live a lifestyle that makes sense. It’s knowing that if you’re working hard and doing the right things, it won’t always be a struggle. But for someone our age, that can be tough.”

OUTSIDE OF WORK, WHERE WOULD WE FIND YOU?

“I’m a very social person. I love sports – we’ve had season tickets to the Royals since I was born – so we go to a lot of Royals and Sporting Kansas City games. I live on the Plaza, and that area is my playground. I also work on a young advisory board for Operation Breakthrough. We try to get the attention of younger people in their early 20s right out of college that can’t afford to go to big ticket charity events, but would still like to raise awareness. We plan happy hours and Royals games, and though were not making huge donations it’s good to be a part of. Down the road, it’d be really great to grow within that role.”


KC Urban Core Group spotlights
River Market venue

River Market Event Space, 140 Walnut St. Photo courtesy of Cornerstone Photography.

River Market Event Space, 140 Walnut St. Photo courtesy of Cornerstone Photography.

A popular new destination in River Market is flourishing in its new life as an event space, but the property has deep, winding roots that have cemented it into the neighborhood since it was built almost 150 years ago. In 1872, the property was first constructed for use as the first Jackson County Courthouse, along the way also serving as mile marker 0 when Kansas City Southern was building its first lines, before being wiped out by a tornado in 1886. Rebuilt in 1910 by OC Evans and EH Peppers as a cold storage produce building for decades. Today, the building still sports the name of Robinson Potato Supply, who purchased the building in 1975.

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The Kansas City Urban Core group hosted its monthly event here at the River Market Event Space. Did you miss it? Stay in the loop here!

Fast forward to present day and it is owned by Chris Sally. He and his former partner, Johnathan Arnold, helped to complete a rehab on the building with help from Clockwork Architecture. After a brief stint as office space, during which it housed Arnold Imaging, it’s now functioning as primarily a wedding venue, but can cater to corporate events as well.

Did you miss this month’s Urban Core Group event? Check out details for its August program by visiting the group’s website.

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Chris Kuehl reveals his economic forecast for KC

Chris Kuehl is managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, and the featured speaker at this month's KC CREW luncheon.

Chris Kuehl is managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, and the featured speaker at this month’s KC CREW luncheon.

For better or for worse, Kansas City has a unique position in the United States’ rocky road to recovery. “It’s a very middle of the road city in a lot of good ways,” Chris Kuehl, managing director of Armada Corporate Intelligence said in his mid-year economic update for Kansas City Commercial Real Estate Women (KC CREW) on Tuesday. “It never really feels the high, and never really feels the lows. We don’t experience the big surges that the rest of the country goes through.”

But the United States business community is beginning to learn that what happens in other parts of the world has a reciprocal local effect. That was evident during the first quarter of the year when – as Kuehl put it – mother nature took her revenge. Winter hit transportation hardest, cancelling 12 percent of all commercial airline fights – a feat that will take the industry a year to recover. Other areas suffered as well: retail, housing, construction, and exports overall. But as economists began to dig deeper, they revealed that the issue was more than winter, Kuehl said, but rather the effects of other countries’ economic suffering.

Chris Kuehl gives an overview on the struggles the southern part of the country is going through when it comes to finding highly skilled labor.

Chris Kuehl gives an overview on the struggles the southern part of the country is going through when it comes to finding highly skilled labor.

“As we go forward we need to pay attention to the fact that what happens around the world matters to us,” he said. “Europe is a huge market for the U.S.; It used to be almost 25 percent of our imports and exports – but it’s half that now. Europe has been in dire straits now for close to 10 years and without that market, it affects us.”

So how exactly does that impact real estate? Interest rates have been low for years now and their inevitable rise is on the horizon. But Stanley Fisher, new vice chair of the Federal Reserve Bank, is paying close attention to hardships in international markets: He believes those struggling economies contributed to a 3 percent reduction in the U.S. economy in the first quarter – its biggest contraction in 5 years. (More from Bloomberg on that here.)  “Fisher is saying, ‘Your economy is starting to recover, but the rest of the world really hasn’t,’” Kuehl said.

Nearly a quarter of Kansas City's economy revolves around agriculture. Garmin's second largest part of its business is agricultural GPS, he says, which allows farmer to plow throughout the night using the device.

Nearly a quarter of Kansas City’s economy revolves around agriculture. Garmin’s second largest part of its business is agricultural GPS, he says, which allows farmer to plow throughout the night using the device.

Other industries – particularly construction, manufacturing and transportation – are currently struggling thanks to another issue that Kuehl calls an endemic. While these sectors used to share workers who could easily transfer from one area to another during hard times, those industries are becoming more sophisticated and as a result, aren’t seeing the mobility they used to. Small businesses in particular are having a tough time training workers who are then poached by larger, higher-paying employers looking for skilled workers.

“Within manufacturing, the estimate is there’s almost 100,000 jobs going unfilled right now – good paying, $70,000 to $90,000-a-year jobs going unfilled because no one has the right skills,” he said.

Skilled laborers are hard to find in the southern part of the United States, Kuehl said, leaving behind as much as 100,000 high-paying jobs.

Skilled laborers are hard to find in the southern part of the United States, Kuehl said, leaving behind as much as 100,000 high-paying jobs.

But there is some hope. Bankers are beginning to find their way out from under the “monstrosity” of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and are working with regulators to begin lending again. As the economist for the National Association of Credit Management, he’s beginning to see trade credit begin to opening up.

“We’re also beginning to see a lot of activity with manufacturers and service companies, pretty much across the board,” Kuehl said. “Part of this is that small banks are getting engaged again. The other part is that companies are feeling a little more comfortable giving each other credit, which had not been the case for several years. This is really good news for a lot of projects that are stuck.”

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For better or for worse, Kansas City doesn’t experience the same economic turbulence that the rest of the world does, Kuehl says.

One area that Kansas City is excelling tremendously in is transportation, Kuehl said, particularly as manufacturing makes its way back to the United States. On top of its advantageous position in the middle of the United States, sitting on both north-south routes and east-west routes, Kansas City has a concentration of companies like YRC Freight, TransSystems and Kansas City Southern that are facilitating the explosion of intermodals across the metro.

“The intermodal is something really growing in rail, as it is very expensive now to do cross-country trucking with new rules that have made it very difficult,” he said. “But the next thing that happens is a lot of warehouse space begins to follow that intermodal… You’re seeing a complete change in terms of the manufacturing mindset where we have got to start warehousing parts.”

Trammel Crow and Clarion Partners have nearly finished the first phase of LogisticsCentreII Distribution Center at the KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre.

Trammel Crow and Clarion Partners have nearly finished the first phase of LogisticsCentreII Distribution Center at the KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre near Kansas City International Airport. Kuehl says he expects to see new warehouses follow the development of intermodal systems.

So what would Keuhl like to see happen in Kansas City in the near future? “Kansas City could use investment,” he said. “We have airport modernization to discuss; It would be nice if more of that bill was being picked up by the government instead of locally.”

Did you miss this month’s KC CREW luncheon? Make sure to mark your calendar for the next presentation on August 19. For more information and to register for the event, click here.


CBRE’S Deal of the Week

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11005 Metcalf, Overland Park, Kan.

Brent Roberts of CBRE takes home this week’s Deal of the Week with the renewal of a lease in Overland Park. Roberts renewed the 14,233-square-foot lease at the Financial Plaza building for Partners Inc., DBA Keller Williams Realty.

Roberts represented the tenant, while Matt Spachman of Block Real Estate Services represented the landlord, Colony Realty Partners.

Did you recently help sign a significant lease or close a significant sale? Let us know and we may feature it as our Deal of the Week! Contact our managing editor for more information.

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Developer Bob Frye re-imagines urban living

Bob Frye stands outside the final phase of The Founders at Union Hill apartment project -- one of many pieces he's preparing to wrap up after 30 years of working on the neighborhood.

Bob Frye stands outside the final phase of The Founders at Union Hill apartment project — one of many pieces he’s preparing to wrap up after 30 years of working on the neighborhood.

A project that developer Bob Frye has had in the works for 30 years is finally emerging, becoming one of the very first multifamily projects to emerge in Kansas City’s urban core since the recession. But by taking a couple strategic steps, Frye says he’s positioned the Union Hill neighborhood to where “it doesn’t need us anymore,” he said. “And that feels good. It feels stable.” Here’s how he did it.

Kansas City officials celebrate the ribbon cutting of Union Hill's final phase of The Founders at Union Hill, which includes five new apartment buildings as well as 13 new single-family homes to the neighborhood.

Kansas City officials celebrate the ribbon cutting of Union Hill’s final phase of The Founders at Union Hill, which includes five new apartment buildings as well as 13 new single-family homes to the neighborhood. Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt Photography.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS AREA?

“In 1982, when I was still in college, a friend of my brother’s heard about a six-plex being sold on the courthouse steps for $6,000,” Frye said. “Our entire genius was that it’s close to Crown Center, so it can’t be all that bad. That was the entire thought process.”

By the time he tackled his college thesis, he knew he wanted to focus on the Union Hill neighborhood. In his research, he stumbled on original developer Jim Young’s plan for the area, and began buying pieces of ground from him until fully buying him out in 1986. Frye took Young’s plans for multi-family apartment buildings in the middle of the neighborhood and pushed them out to the perimeter, where he knew the busier streets could handle a higher density. And after 55 arrests, he cleared a number of crime-ridden apartment buildings before demolishing them altogether.

“Within 30 days of that event, it feels like a safe neighborhood,” he said.

The Taylor Building,Union Hill’s newest apartment home building is named for John Taylor, a soldier in the Union Army that helped defend Kansas City during General Price’s Raid. He later helped collect books to stock the city’s first public library. He is buried in nearby Union Cemetery.

The Taylor Building, Union Hill’s newest apartment home building at 230 E. 30th St., is named after John Taylor, a soldier in the Union Army that helped defend Kansas City during General Price’s Raid. He later helped collect books to stock the city’s first public library. Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt Photography.

ON THE BENEFITS OF DENSITY:

Kansas City developers are finally becoming comfortable with the issue of density. But thirty years ago, when the project that would eventually become Union Hill began, that wasn’t the case.

“What you see in most successful urban cores is that it’s very dense,” he said. “That’s a very positive thing. It’s good for the environment, because for every mile of infrastructure, we have a lot more people. But it also allows you to pay for better materials. The reason we can have these stone and brick buildings is because we’re spreading that land cost over more units so we can build a better product.”

Developer Bob Frye, who manages the multifamily projects he builds, takes great pride in how Union Hill serves its residents. "I specifically did not hire my staff from the apartment industry;  I brought in people from hospitality background. I can teach them about buildings – I get buildings – but someone who high service is ingrained."

Developer Bob Frye, who manages the multifamily projects he builds, takes great pride in how Union Hill serves its residents. “I specifically did not hire my staff from the apartment industry; I brought in people from hospitality background,” he said. “I can teach them about buildings – I get buildings – but someone who high service is ingrained.”

He gets inspiration from cities like New York City – the greenest city in the world – and Chicago, where he’s spent a lot of time.

“Most major metro areas have that super nice neighborhood right next to the central business district,” he said. “We always felt that Union Hill was geographically properly placed to be that neighborhood… We’re trying to make this Kansas City’s Linkin Park, and I think we’re getting close.”

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and developer Bob Frye celebrate the grand opening of Union Hill's final phase.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and developer Bob Frye celebrate the grand opening of Union Hill’s final phase. Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt Photography.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?

“Site assemblage is really difficult, and presents the highest risk,” he said. “When the recession hit and we had all this land, I certainly was wishing I didn’t have all that land we carried for all those years through the recession.”

He says it would be nearly impossible to assemble Union Hill’s land today. “In the early years, we were a condemning authority as a redevelopment corporation,” he said. “We used eminent domain a lot, but the laws have changed on that and now the tool is dramatically reduced as an ability. It’d be almost impossible to assemble the sites that we assembled through eminent domain. It’s very difficult to do.”

Because Frye had sold out the condominiums he built just prior to recession, it put him in a position to have his Union Hill project ready to go once the market turned upward.

Because Frye had sold out the condominiums he built just prior to recession, it put him in a position to have his Union Hill project ready to go once the market turned upward. Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt Photography.

HOW DO YOU APPEAL TO EMPTY-NESTERS?

“Essentially the renter by choice is a person who, ten years ago, would buy a condominium or a townhome,” Frye said. “But they don’t want to tie up their money in a home, and there are huge advantages to renting.”

Thus, Frye says he builds a “condo-level product” for rent rather than sale. The age and demographics of those renters can vary from empty nesters to young professional couples, as he learned in listening to the community.

“During the first couple years of the recession, our two-bedroom units in our apartments were very soft, and we started hearing really early on that young people felt trapped in their houses,” he said. “What we found was that when the recession hit, in order to get a better job – or sometimes a job at all – people needed to relocate, but couldn’t because they were locked into the house. We did an informal poll and asked people if they thought buying a house was a smart financial personal decision. It came back overwhelmingly ‘No, it’s reckless.’ That’s a major shift from post-World War II baby boomers.”

Kansas City Mayor Sly James praises a born-again Union Hill neighborhood, thanks to Bob Frye's 30-year development project.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James praises a born-again Union Hill neighborhood, thanks to Bob Frye’s 30-year development project. Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt Photography.

So how does he sell to a person who could buy a house but chooses not to? Lots of storage, big pantries, great parking, and ample security systems, among other amenities. But most importantly, he does so by listening to the ever-changing market. And that’s important, especially considering this statistic:

“Right now in Kansas City, there are 7,500 apartment units in the pipeline,” he said. “But Kansas City’s historic absorption rate is 1,700 units a year. Now, there’s probably a bit of pent-up demand because construction was down for a number of years – but it still makes you think.”

Still, he has hope not only for his project but the urban core as well.

“I think we are certainly in a better position than the suburbs. There’s no question,” he said.

Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt Photography.

Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt Photography.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO APPROACH THE PROJECT’S END?

“We have a project being built in a neighborhood, but once it’s done, we want it to feel like a neighborhood – not a project,” he said. “And it does. It feels really good. It isn’t easy doing what we do. We’ve done it a long time. And it would really suck if 30 years from now, someone had to re-develop what we’ve redeveloped. That would be a fail. My objective has always been to create a sound real estate that’s not personality-driven; that the next owner would take care of it as well or better than we would because the inherent underlying real estate value is there. I think we’ve accomplished that.”

For more information on available multifamily units and single-family homes, visit Union Hill’s website here.


Cassidy Turley’s
Deal of the Week

ECCO Select will move into its new home at 4100 N. Mulberry Dr., at Briarcliff Village in November.

ECCO Select will move into its new home at 4100 N. Mulberry Dr., at Briarcliff Village in November.

A professional services and consulting firm, ECCO Select, has found a new home in Briarcliff I, thanks to a pair of Cassidy Turley brokers who take home this week’s Deal of the Week. After outgrowing its current space downtown, Mike Mayer and Callie Jones represented the firm in its lease of 12,221 square feet at 4100 N. Mulberry Dr., Suite 105, that will provide it with additional offices, more desk space for employees and consultants, and added conference rooms.

“Briarcliff I is the perfect fit for ECCO Select, and I am confident its employees are going to enjoy their new work environment,” Jones said. “Having a headquarters like ECCO Select is a true win for Briarcliff I.”

By November, the firm will join a handful of other growing companies located in the popular Riverside commercial development.

“I’m excited that our two offices will be consolidated,” ECCO Select CEO Jeanette Prenger said. “I believe in collaboration and feel that our associates will be even more energized by our new space. With the company’s double-digit growth over the past several years, we need to expand our office footprint to accommodate our new service offerings for our clients, as well as the addition of consultants and support staff.”

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