AREA BlogKeeping you up-to-date on Kansas City commercial real estate trends.

KCBJ Future of Kansas City- America’s New Main Streets

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AREA’s Sean Craven recently had the opportunity to sit on the Table of Experts panel for The Kansas City Business Journal’s Future of Kansas City: America’s New Main Streets. President and CEO of The Downtown Council of Kansas City, Bill Dietrich, moderated the panel, who’s focus was on economic development and positioning the KC metro for continued growth. The discussion followed a national virtual event led by best-selling author, economist and urban studies theorist, Richard Florida.

Some of the topics discussed included getting people back in the office; enhancing collaboration with hybrid work model; attracting new talent for the future; how small & mid-size companies are navigating the changing business climate; downtown development catalysts; neighborhood connectivity and the Kansas City Streetcar.

A few key takeaways from this discussion:

  • Employers are now competing for talent with the home office. Is a company willing to offer that work-life balance and what does their employees’ time spent in the office look like? Employers are focusing on flexible floor plans, quality amenities and break areas to promote collaboration and mimic home offices.
  • The remote or hybrid work model works for many, but not all. The mentor-mentee and training relationships suffer from this business model, especially for the younger employees who are not trained or proficient and don’t yet know their goals. They need an environment where they are making business contacts with people that can help them with their careers.
  • Many companies are also planning and thinking about what the next generation of talent will want when they enter the workforce. They are making decisions based on both the environment within their office as well as outside of it. Are there entertainment and restaurant options outside their front door? Are they downtown or in a walkable neighborhood?
  • There are development challenges with construction costs and mixed incentive perceptions that may hinder the development progress that our city is making. Without development incentives, the types of projects being built in our city may not be the cutting-edge and forward-thinking projects that our city wants and needs.
  • Over the last 15 years Kansas City has made its urban core more attractive to employees and residents with projects like The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, T-Mobile Center, the future waterfront stadium for the KC Current Women’s professional soccer club and the Kansas City Streetcar. The Streetcar line is creating real estate development opportunities, but is also an investment in public transit, with a predisposition that is changing. This change and acceptance of public transportation may change the elements of future development projects in the sense of parking needs now versus five years from now.
  • In the next five years Kansas City needs to focus on connecting neighborhoods. The streetcar addition will further advance this. We also need to focus on creating more public spaces downtown. Urban area investments create a synergy that sparks development, more investments, additional amenities and a sense of community. An important urban catalyst could be the investment in a downtown ballpark for the Kansas City Royals.

America’s New Main Streets discussion also featured co-panelists Brian Hoban, chief commercial banking officer for Country Club Bank’s and Doug Stone, attorney for Lewis Rice LLC’s .

Click here to read the full discussion. Click here for the PDF version of the article.

Cycle City Now Open in The River Market

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Cycle City’s second location is now open in the River Market’s historic Water Building at 201 Main Street. The full-service bike shop’s nearly 5,000 SF space on the main floor of the building includes both a retail shop and servicing space. The retail shop offers bikes for all levels including road, mountain and gravel bikes along with clothing, accessories and snacks.

Cycle City’s popular bike shop has been open in Parkville, MO for 18 years. This second location will fill a void in the booming downtown/River Market area. Owner Joe Fox chose the location for this reason as well as the traffic from adjacent trails and the neighborhood spirit. “I like the River Market because of our possibility of having a very successful shop in downtown Kansas City,” he said. “I love the neighborhood feel, particularly on Second Street, with the apartments and condos.”

They plan to capitalize on this neighborhood feel with River Bluff Brewing, who is also located in the Water Building. Group rides as well as free drink tokens while you wait for your bike to be serviced are a few of the ideas they have for partnering with the microbrewery.

The Kansas City Water Works building was constructed in 1905. The main floor was designed to house the following: a stable with stalls for forty horses, space for thirty-five buggies and wagons, a harness room, wash rooms and a furnace room which supplies steam heat for the building. The second floor was designed for offices of the Superintendents of Pipe Lines and the Meter Department. Also located on this floor were the blacksmith shop, wagon repair shop and a large storage room for hay. The building was renovated in 2003 and purchased in 2020 for new retail and office.

AREA’s Tommy McNeese and Tim Schaffer fully leased the Water Building last year.

For CityScene’s articles on Cycle City and The Water Building, click here and here.

Follow Cycle City on Facebook & Instagram for future events and shop info!

AREA makes KCBJ’s Top 10 Largest Commercial Real Estate Firms

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AREA  has made the Kansas City Business Journal’s list of Largest Commercial Real Estate Firms in the metro area. The list is made up of area companies ranked by dollar volume of sales and leases in 2021. AREA is ranked number 7 amongst the 33 companies included.

AREA is the hometown team that plays in the big leagues. Our projects vary in complexity from single tenant net lease buildings to large mixed-use projects. This year we are proud to be celebrating 20 years of providing commercial real estate and property management services to the Kansas City Metro area and neighboring regions!

For more about the services AREA provides, click here.

To see the full list, click here.

Experiential & Entertainment Retail is Back!

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Brad Woods joined AREA to spearhead a new entertainment and experiential retail division in the middle of the pandemic. At a time when this type of retail was uncertain. If you asked him then if we would be where we are today not only thinking through new concepts, but talking to clients about new concepts, he wouldn’t have imagined this would be the case.  The trends of people getting back out and getting their feet back on the ground, experiencing things together is on the rise.  While this trend is up, there will be a few crucial keys to a successful return to normalcy:

  • Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues will be the true sweet spot and a huge growth segment.  Think places like Chicken N Pickle, where you can eat and play outside and inside.
  • Determining adequate retail floorplan size, while adding in experiential components to bring in traffic and enhance the entire shopping experience. Think of virtual or augmented reality experiences within places like Scheels or Cabela’s.
  • Pop-up stores within stores to utilize the retail space potential will be crucial. Think ULTA inside of Target or Starbucks inside of Barnes & Noble.

With the rise of omnichannel purchasing, the consumers’ preferences must be kept in mind. One thing that came of the pandemic was the ease of buying online and picking up curbside or instore.  With the rise of BOPIS, retail spaces also need to be set up with adequate space for the return experience.

Overall, the general population is ready to get back to normalcy and get back together; consumers are wanting to be able to see, touch and feel products in person before they purchase. With these factors in play, Woods is confident we will see a brick-and-mortar entertainment & experiential retail renaissance.

To read more about the reawakening of experiential and entertainment retail, click here.

Yoli Tortilleria Starting Strong in 2022

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Kansas City based tortilla bakery, Yoli Tortilleria, is on a roll! The authentic, Mexican tortilla bakery is expanding and moving its manufacturing to a larger facility at 3119 Bell Street, off Southwest Boulevard. The new headquarters is planned to be up and running this spring. Currently, the corn tortillas are made from its manufacturing site at 2828 Guinotte Avenue. Yoli also occupies a small storefront where they make and sell flour tortillas located in the Westside at 1668 Jefferson Street.

Along with the new headquarters, the bakery has been announced as a semifinalist in the “Outstanding Baker” category for a James Beard award. Yoli Tortilleria is the first tortilleria acknowledged by this organization.

Marissa and Mark Gencarelli began crafting their own tortillas in 2017 and opened its operations in the summer of 2020. Marissa, a native of Mexico, and Mark, a local Kansas Citian shared a love of traveling and eating their way through Mexico. The couple started recreating some of their favorite dishes and noticed the authenticity was missing in the market. They created Yoli to produce quality tortillas that enhance the flavors of a meal using the traditional nixtamal process and the most ethically sourced ingredients available.

You can find Yoli Tortillas at its storefront in the Westside or at local grocery stores including Whole Foods, Price Chopper, Hen House, The Merc Co+Op and the Overland Park Farmers Market.

AREA’s Tommy McNeese represented Yoli with its newest manufacturing headquarters.

For more on Yoli and its James Beard nominations, be sure to read these articles from Kansas City Business Journal, Startland News and KCUR.