Optimism reigns at annual Downtown Office Summit
Kansas City is by no stretch out of the pandemic woods, but local and national real estate analysts are confident in the market’s strength from a forest-level view, reports The Kansas City Business Journal.
Speakers at the fifth-annual Downtown KC Office Summit, held Tuesday at The Gallery in the Kansas City Power & Light District, pointed to a laundry list of completed and coming projects, plus local and national trends, as a harbinger to good things to come.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel and beyond, and leading indicators are positive and promising,” said Downtown Council board chair and Centric partner Richard Wetzel.
Here are three takeaways from remarks at the event, organized by the Downtown Council of Kansas City, including:
- The wind is at the office market’s back
- Projects continue coming down the pike
- Downtown’s population could continue to blossom
The wind is at the office market’s back
Although Kansas City offices continue to contend with vacancies and negative absorption, the market could catch a positive national wave in the coming quarters.
Nationwide, office leasing is at 76% of its first-quarter 2020 level and on track to recover by 2022’s third quarter, with rent growth to follow in early 2023, Revathi Greenwood, global head of data and insights for Cushman & Wakefield in Washington, D.C., said during a keynote address. She cited “usual suspect” industries as drivers, including technology, health care, insurance, and finance.
“This is kind of a bold statement to make, but build the buildings, and they will come,” she said of new office projects. “When you’re going to attract people and you’re giving them a mix of safe, highly amenitized places where they can socialize and have fun, as well as work and be inventive and creative, most people would want to come to those spaces.”
In Kansas City, two of the city’s larger coming office developments — the in-progress 1400KC and proposed Fidelity Security Life Insurance Co. tower, now seeking city incentives — are further proof of companies’ desire for strategic Downtown locations in high-end Class A spaces, said Andrew Greene, a senior associate at Cushman & Wakefield.
“We know that projects such as these will continue to gain momentum and propel other projects such as Platform Ventures (offices at 13th and Wyandotte streets) and the Strata project, especially given the positive response to new-construction Class A in suburban markets, such as (the) Creative Campus, 46 Penn, Avenue 82 and the Edison District,” he said.
Also of note in Downtown are unique office conversions, such as 3D Development’s Grand Place and Corrigan Station, as well as recent renovations to the 2345 Grand, Town Pavilion and Lightwell buildings.
“While all of these projects are differentiated with unique amenities, they’re finding commonality in the flight to quality,” Greene said. “The trend is here and will continue as companies return to the workplace.”
Click here to read more about other takeaways in the complete Business Journal story on the 5th annual Downtown Office Summit.
5 to know: Downtown news beat