Office | AREA Real Estate Advisors - Part 2

A Need For More Office Space Post-COVID?

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Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, believes there will be a greater demand for office space after the COVID pandemic. He explains the need for social distancing within offices will create a desire for more space, contradicting widespread predictions of declining office space.

Schmidt, who appeared on “Face the Nation“, also believes global megacities’ densities will change as employees’ concerns effect where they are doing their business. “We’ve had this situation where people move to supercities in these incredibly concentrated ways. That will change in the next few years. You don’t need to be in the supercity in order to participate in the excitement of these supercities.”

“We’re going to have to think about hub-and-spoke systems where local people don’t travel so far because they don’t want to be in public transit for so long. So we’re going to have to really rethink how businesses operate. They need their employees back.” said Schmidt.

To read the full article in Business Insider, click here.

Lightwell Signs Another Tech Company

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Repositioning the formerly tired Class B office building known as City Center Square into lightwell, a Class A tech hub has secured another tech company lease for the building. The Kansas City Tech Council, who currently offices in lightwell’s WeWork space, will have it’s own space on the building’s 2nd floor. The KC Tech Council is the regional advocate for the tech industry, working to grow our city as a tech hub.

They will be taking 2,100 square feet of office space. They will host tech industry events as well as computer programming training in the newly renovated conference spaces.

To read more on what attracted KC Tech Council to lightwell, click here for the Kansas City Business Journal’s article.

For marketing materials on the lightwell building, click here or contact Tim Schaffer, Sean Craven or Hank Simpson for leasing questions.

PayIt to Relocate to Lightwell

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Kansas City’s most successful startup of 2019 will open new HQ in downtown Class A Office Building

Somera Road Inc. is pleased to announce that it has recently completed a 23,000 square foot lease with PayIt at the lightwell building at 12th and Main.

PayIt will join a growing roster of tech and creative tenants moving into lightwell, including BacklotCars and WeWork. The lightwell currently boasts over 100,000 SF of contiguous availability, one of the largest existing blocks of space in downtown Kansas City.

Previously based in the Crossroads, PayIt plans to move into lightwell by June 2020.

“The location, design, and amenities of the lightwell project are exactly what companies like ours need to attract and retain the top talent to Kansas City.  We’re very excited to be moving to the CBD and know the building and location will be a fantastic resource for us as we continue to grow,” said John Thomson, PayIt founder and CEO. 

PayIt, launched in 2013, provides an industry-leading digital government and payments platform that simplifies doing business with state and local government.  An award-winning company, as well as a disrupter, PayIt was honored by Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards for 2019 and named one of the GovTech 100 for 2020 for the fourth consecutive year. 

PayIt’s revenue grew more than 800 percent in 2018 and in 2019. New York-based venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners invested $100M making it the largest raise in the metro. 

Somera Road has been able to provide temporary space within lightwell prior to lease finalization to accommodate their rapid growth, with nearly 30 PayIt employees already working there. In addition to their office space, PayIt is also getting a private roof deck on a setback, that hasn’t been used previously.

“PayIt is exactly the type of forward-thinking tech company that understands what we’re creating at lightwell. They’re a major contributor to Kansas City’s burgeoning tech ecosystem and are on track to become one of KC’s next great corporations. We’re excited to provide them with a home that’ll enable their next phase of growth,” said Basel Bataineh, vice president at Somera Road.

PayIt is certainly a great validation of what we thought would happen when we began refurbishing lightwell,” said Tim Schaffer, AREA Real Estate Advisors president. “We truly believed that lightwell would attract the fastest-growing segments of employment including tech, marketing, and creative-driven companies. We’re creating a vertical innovation district and look forward to attracting more technology companies to join the lightwell ecosystem.” 

“We’re always proud when a Kansas City startup such as PayIt experiences such rapid growth and success in our community – and opts to remain in Kansas City when it decides to expand,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “PayIt’s increasing national standing and move to the lightwell building will help Kansas City to continue building its startup and tech notoriety.”

To read the announcement in the Kansas City Business Journal, click here.
To read the announcement in Startland News, click here.

Seven Law Firms Sign Long-Term Leases at Lightwell

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Seven area law firms have committed to long-term office leases within the lightwell building (formerly City Center Square) in downtown Kansas City.  The transactions represent more than 10% of the 30-story building’s rentable square footage.

“As we continue to reposition the lightwell, we’re thrilled to see so many of our long-time tenants have taken notice and locked in their space for the long-term,” said Basel Bataineh, vice president at Somera Road.  “We’re providing our tenants with next-generation space that will help them grow their businesses, as well as recruit and retain talent in the heart of Downtown KC.”

In total, the leases represent more than 67,000 SF of Class-A office space and include the following tenants:
– Arnold, Newbold, Sollars & Hollins PC
– Dollar Burns & Becker, LC
– Ensz & Jester, PC
– Graves Garrett, LLC
– Mauer Law Firm, PC
– Walters Renwick Richards Skeens & Vaughan, PC
– Davis, Bethune & Jones LLC

These firms have been in the building for an average of 23+ years.

“The lightwell building is one of the area’s most visible renovation projects, thanks to its size and location in the heart of downtown Kansas City,” said Tim Schaffer, president of AREA Real Estate Advisors.  “Current tenants have been promised upgrades for years by previous owners. Thanks to Somar Road, the building will soon be an innovation hub for tech, law, marketing and the like, as well as a reflection of what it was originally intended to be with great architecture, location, parking access and dining options.”

AREA’s Tim Schaffer, Hank Simpson and Sean Craven represent lightwell.  To download the leasing package, click here.  To read the article published in the Kansas City Business Journal, click here.

MMGY Global Moves HQ to The Edison District

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MMGY Global, a travel and hospitality marketing agency, will move its Headquarters from The Country Club Plaza to the new Edison District in Downtown Overland Park.  MMGY has been in their current location since 2005, and the evolution of their company and their industry led to the move across State Line.

CEO Clayton Reid talked more about the decision to move in his interview with the Kansas City Business Journal here. With collaboration being the key component to the success of their company, Edison District allows MMGY’s employees the space to be all on one floor, rather than spread out across four floors in their current HQ. “It’s an opportunity to create the kind of space that’s conducive to the way we do business,” Reid said.

The character of Downtown Overland Park, the centralized location, Edison’s food hall and the rest of the new development were other factors that helped with their HQ relocation decision. GastingerWalker is helping MMGY with the build out of their space, drawing inspiration from MMGY’s 9 other global offices. The 32,000 square foot space will have a modern look with a variety of common areas as well as more private spaces. MMGY is awaiting approval from the city of Overland Park but hopes to move in this summer.

The Edison District developers see the Downtown Overland Park project as a suburban/urban hybrid development that adds more of an urban feel to Johnson County, adding amenities that previously were not there. The mixed-use development includes over 100,000 square feet of office, 10,000 square feet of retail, Strang Hall food hall (now open), an outdoor event plaza, and a park; creating a truly walkable community. Click here to read more on Tim Barton’s plan for the development, which will have the office build-out and outdoor portions completed this spring.

AREA’s Mary Crowe & Tim Schaffer represent the Edison District. To download the leasing package, click here.