The Future of Crown Center

Issues concerning Downtown as described by the Downtown Council. River to 31st Street, I-35 to Bruce R. Watkins.
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The Future of Crown Center

Post by PumpkinStalker » Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:23 pm

This article appeared in our Noon News today.  This thread should discuss the future of CC area and how it will play into our changing downtown.  Let's stay away from arguing whether or not it is an ideal architectural wonder.  What is the future in store?  Don Hall alludes there is a plan in the near-ish future for developing 15 acres.  This can only mean developing the surface lots.  With Hallmark Corporation going through the colorful term of "business transformation" and becoming more efficient gradually, what would make the most sense to put on these surface lots behind the complex?  More offices?  Residential towers?  Greenspace? 

Crown Center sells office tower
( Monday, March 3, 2008 12:09 PM )

Crown Center is selling the 2555 Grand office tower to Hines, a privately owned international real estate firm noted for quality and service. The sale is the result of an initiative launched last fall to explore market interest in selected Crown Center office properties.

“Our goal was to assess the potential of what we saw as a strong market for this segment of the commercial real estate market,” says Bill Lucas, president – Crown Center. “It’s always good business to be alert to marketplace conditions and respond to the opportunities they present.

“In this case, the opportunity for 2555 Grand was indeed significant, and we are very pleased with the result.”

The 24-story office tower was completed in 2003 and is occupied by the Shook, Hardy and Bacon law firm. The quality of the building itself, the Crown Center complex environment and a marquee tenant with a long-term lease were key to the desirability of the property, Bill adds.

Proceeds from the nearly $156 million transaction, one of the highest on a square-foot basis for standard office buildings in Kansas City, will be reinvested to support priority spending needs for transformation across the company’s businesses and to retire debt.

Crown Center also explored the market potential of a second office property, the multi-tenant 2600 Grand building, but that building has been taken off the market with no sale currently being contemplated, Bill says.

Hines is familiar with Crown Center, having once owned and still managing the 2345 Grand building located on the northern edge of the redevelopment area. The Texas-based company also is familiar with downtown Kansas City, having served as development manager and current property manager for H&R Block’s new headquarters.

“The fact that a quality-minded organization like Hines saw such value in the 2555 Grand property validates efforts over the course of four decades to achieve our original vision for Crown Center of returning vibrancy to Kansas City’s urban core,” says Don Hall, president and CEO. “It is a vision we remain committed to as we complete development of Crown Center’s remaining 15 acres in the years ahead.”

Hallmark employee parking will not be affected by the sale. Crown Center retains ownership of the adjacent parking garage, which will continue to be used by Hallmark employees as well as those of the law firm.

CB Richard Ellis, the nation’s largest commercial real estate brokerage firm, handled the transaction.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by schugg » Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:34 pm

Where is the remaining 15 acres?

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by Downtowner » Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:50 pm

Pumpkin is right, the 15 acres are all the surface lots that extend to Union Hill. From what I understand, they want to do townhomes and already have plans for them. It would also have some street retail (starbucks negotiated for one corner before plans went on hold). The housing mkt will have to rebound before this all starts.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by FangKC » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:45 pm

Hallmark should look to its' own employee base as a potential market for new residences on-site.  They should poll workers to see how many are interested in living in Crown Center, and work with local banks to arrange mortgages so their own employees can buy or rent apartments and townhomes near work.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by GRID » Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:15 pm

They are about due for a new tower in CC.  They still have dedicated spots for three more large towers south of 2555.

Have you heard any more on the second san fran tower or the low rise residential district southeast of 2555?  It would be nice to fill those surface lots in.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by NOLA » Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:30 pm

They polled Crown Center employees about a year or so ago regarding interest in a possible new CC residential development.  But after that, I haven't heard anything.  Those surface lots to the south are such a waste.  They are not even close to full or utilized during the day.  If they do redevelop, I hope they incorporate more "Panera"-style commercial outlets rather than making more isolated office towers that only connect to the CC mall area.  Otherwise, it becomes more and more like an urban corporate woods rather than an integrated environment.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by DaveKCMO » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:46 pm

if grand is chosen as the path for light rail through downtown i'd expect something to form shortly afterwards.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by PumpkinStalker » Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:22 pm

That's a good point Dave/Nola.

I would be all over residential.  I don't intend to do any job switching...ever.  I'm done with that.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by kcdcchef » Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:02 am

GRID wrote:They are about due for a new tower in CC.  They still have dedicated spots for three more large towers south of 2555.

Have you heard any more on the second san fran tower or the low rise residential district southeast of 2555?  It would be nice to fill those surface lots in.


yeah, when i was more in the know at crown center, i used to hear rumblings all of the time about future development including two new towers, one south of 2555 and a second tower next to san fran tower.

i would be shocked if something is not going vertical by 2012.
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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by Sussudio » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:05 am

I've always wondered why there were all those surface lots that largely remained unoccupied even during day hours. I think it would be fantastic to have residential buildings there, but as always, the poor girl I am, I wonder how affordable they will be to most employees (even with the bank's help).

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by ShowMeKC » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:08 am

I added some of the lots up south of 2555 and 2600, they add up to about 13-15 acres. I made a little map and tried to outline the areas in red. The blue area of the map is an area that I wasn't sure about, so I didn't add it in.
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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by Pork Chop » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:13 am

The road to the right of Main the curves through Crown Center is Grand, correct?

ShowMeKC wrote:I added some of the lots up south of 2555 and 2600, they add up to about 13-15 acres. I made a little map and tried to outline the areas in red. The blue area of the map is an area that I wasn't sure about, so I didn't add it in.
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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by DaveKCMO » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:14 am

whatever they do, they should address the main street side of the complex (i know we've covered that before).

1. add a freakin' sidewalk
2. carve out new storefronts between pershing and 25th.
3. ensure new developments on all other blocks include street-level activity or at least a sidewalk with a green buffer.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by chrizow » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:14 am

Pork Chop wrote:The road to the right of Main the curves through Crown Center is Grand, correct?



aye.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by PumpkinStalker » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:18 am

The surface lots are definitely not needed at this point in time.  As employees of Hallmark, we have access to the Hyatt garage, the underground beneath HQ, and the newer garage shared with Shook Hardy and Bacon.  There are plenty of open spots in garages every day.  Anyone I see in the lots can easily find spots in these three garages.  And with the high price that the Shook building went for, obviously there is interest in the area.  The angled blue areas are in fact Hallmark owned as well.  The corner of the blue area is the Hallmark fitness center.  Pretty unassuming building, bland. 

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by ShowMeKC » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:26 am

Why not place office buildings on 3 of the lots, a res tower near SF Tower, and possibly a hotel on one of the lots.

The reason I say a hotel, is that the location is reasonably far from the Convention Center hotel, and hopefully wouldn't effect it. And I recently went to Branson and saw the Hilton Hotel there, and thought it would fit perfectly around Crown Center. Possibly make it about 20-30 floors instead of 12.
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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by KCMax » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:31 am

Can the market support a new hotel and new offices?
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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by ShowMeKC » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:32 am

Dunno about the market right now, but as part of the overall master plan, it might be good.

Of course, Crown Center already has two major hotels, so it may not need another.
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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by Sussudio » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:34 am

I don't think the area really needs another hotel there with Westin.

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Re: The Future of Crown Center

Post by PumpkinStalker » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:41 am

In my 4 hour "certified tourism ambassador" training last week at JCCC, they spoke of the convention business pretty bleakly.  It wasn't a pretty picture they painted.  I can't remember the term, but conventions look for the number of AVAILABLE hotel rooms a city has on any given day, not just how many total rooms we have.  With the tourism industry, our downtown has just over 1,000 left for the convention industry.  The CC hotels add a couple hundred, sure, but the facilitator pointed out that shuttling is time consuming and expensive.  Conventions want their hotels to be clustered.  They reiterrated that we are severly shorted on hotel and convention space, which most of us here agree on.  I definitely think we have plenty of boutique and smaller hotels for what we need.  We really do need another large hotel according to the KC Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Is CC the right spot?  Well, maybe.  It's certainly an option.  Another option would be to build between 13th and 12th Streets by the Train place...forget what line it is.  Build them a deep underground garage that is partitioned for part train people, part hotel people, and slap a giant 1000 room hotel there, 20-30 stories.

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