Here are 10 Kansas City-area development projects to watch in 2021

Even as the past year wrought a series of changes to Kansas City’s construction landscape, local development has been anything but anemic.

In 2020, developers unveiled transformative plans for visible buildings and properties not just in downtown Kansas City but throughout the area, ranging from distinctive apartment proposals to sprawling multimillion-dollar office and mixed-use developments.

Beyond the new Kansas City International Airport terminal, here’s a look at 10 projects poised to continue molding the area’s commercial real estate scene in 2021 and beyond:

Aloft and Tribute Plaza hotels — Capital Management Inc., an Overland Park-based hotel developer and manager, in late November began on-site work south of 46th Street between Broadway and Wornall Road, preparing for construction of a 175-room Tribute Portfolio Hotel and a 121-room Aloft Hotel by Marriott.

The developer since has completed demolition of an existing Commerce Bank branch. Workers now are completing boring for utility relocations and removing overhead lines, and the start of mass site excavation is imminent, Capital Management Vice President Joe Morrison said Friday.

A late 2022 opening is planned for the two hotels, an approximately $100 million project.

Aspiria campus — Wichita-based Occidental Management Inc. in December announced a rebrand for the 200-acre former Sprint campus in Overland Park.

More than 2.7 million square feet of new construction, including 600 multifamily units, 375,000 square feet of retail and more than 1.4 million square feet of office, are intended to reposition Kansas City’s largest office park, now known as Aspiria, as a mixed-use, “live, work, play” development.

Pending the required city approvals, a new Class A office building is expected to break ground in 2021.

Bluhawk Sports Park — Price Brothers plans to start work this summer on a 238,391-square-foot, 4,000-seat first phase of what eventually is envisioned as a 436,306-square-foot indoor multisport complex in Overland Park.

When it opens in the fall of 2022, the sports park’s phase one will include eight basketball — or 16 volleyball — courts, half of an indoor multipurpose turf field and a performance training center with a Ninja course.

Bluhawk Sports Park will reside within the broader $1 billion Bluhawk mixed-use development, where planned uses range from 695,780 square feet of retail and a 900-seat movie theater to an expansion of AdventHealth South Overland Park.

Brookridge mixed-use development — The Overland Park City Council in late December extended the expiration date — from Dec. 2, 2020, to Dec. 2, 2022 — on a resolution of intent to issue as much as $446 million in bonds to redevelop the Brookridge Golf & Fitness property.

The bonds would provide for a sales tax exemption on construction materials for developer Chris Curtin in building two “Village” areas of the long-planned billion-dollar mixed-use north of Interstate 435.

These areas are to include three multifamily buildings totaling 838 apartments; 892,100 square feet of Class A office; two hotels with 544 total rooms; and 159,200 square feet of standalone retail, entertainment and restaurant space, per Brookridge’s redevelopment agreement, approved in December 2019.

Cerner Innovations Campus — Cerner Corp. in 2020 completed the third and fourth office towers — 12 and nine stories tall, respectively — at its 290-acre Innovations Campus in south Kansas City.

The North Kansas City-based company (Nasdaq: CERN) is in talks with retail developers to move forward with plans surrounding the campus, supplementing public announcements from Arvest Bank, Hampton Inn and Taco Bell, a Cerner official said Tuesday.

The original $4.5 billion campus plan entailed 16 phases with as much as 4.7 million square feet of construction, including 10 office buildings, a boutique hotel, two data centers, a grocery store and retail, slated for completion in 2025.

Cerner was assessing the pace of building additional phases while navigating the pandemic, a spokeswoman said in August.

CORE apartments — Riverside-based NorthPoint Development broke ground in the summer on its $60 million, 353-unit CORE apartment complex in the Berkley Riverfront area.

As of Tuesday, the developer and its general contractor had completed concrete foundations for two of the complex’s three buildings, along with site utility work and nearly all curbs, according to the Port Authority of Kansas City. Structural steel has shown up on site, and wood framing is set to begin this month, marking the start of vertical construction.

The first phase of apartments is expected to be complete in the fall, with the entire complex finished by the fall of 2022.

The CORE complex sits across from Flaherty & Collins Properties’ Union Berkley Riverfront and has been heralded for its potential to bring density — in the form of hundreds of new residents — to the Berkley Riverfront area.

Homefield LLC redevelopment — A partnership of Sporting Kansas City co-owner Robb Heineman and Paul Rivers, former vice president and chief of staff of the Oklahoma City Thunder, has until July to break ground on the athletic components of their $435.5 million redevelopment of the Schlitterbahn water park.

These components include the $60 million Homefield Building, an indoor multisport venue; the $15 million Homefield Youth Baseball Complex; and the $15 million Homefield Outdoor venue, which will include a Crystal Lagoons concept on 6 to 7 acres.

Last week, the board of commissioners for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, last week approved measures clearing the way for Indianapolis-based Milhaus to build a 270-unit luxury apartment community within the development.

I-49 Industrial Center — That a probable $250 million Amazon Robotics sortable fulfillment center was withdrawn from the I-49 Industrial Center at Missouri Highway 150 and Botts Road has not taken the wind out of Fairway-based developer Platform Ventures LLC’s sails.

Port KC’s board of commissioners in late December authorized as much as $25 million in taxable revenue bonds for an approximately 366,600-square-foot speculative industrial building in the 410-acre park, for which Kansas City Council members approved a development plan earlier that month.

Another project approved within the I-49 Industrial Center, which could support more than 2 million square feet of industrial space in seven buildings, was revealed as a prospective rail-served distribution center for The Home Depot Inc.

The Offices at Overlook — Community Builders of Kansas City unveiled the $84.5 million mixed-use plan last year to catalyze nearly 11 acres that house largely vacant or deteriorated buildings along Swope Parkway, just up the road from its 4001 Blue Parkway Building.

The full project could include three office buildings totaling 160,000 square feet, three retail buildings equaling 12,000 square feet, a potential 140-apartment multifamily component and community-oriented green space.

The development team has all incentive approvals in hand. As soon as it completes the city’s contract process for Central City Economic Development sales tax revenue, environmental remediation and demolition can begin for existing buildings, CBKC CEO Emmet Pierson Jr. said this week.

Waddell & Reed downtown headquarters — Construction continues on Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.’s $140 million, 18-story office tower in downtown Kansas City, several stories of which so far have gone vertical.

After the $1.7 billion sale of the Overland Park-based financial services firm (NYSE: WDR) to Macquarie Asset Management, construction commitments still obligate the joint venture developing the building to complete it, according to the city.

But Macquarie’s plans to sell Waddell & Reed’s financial advisory practice to Boston-based LPL Financial suggest that the company no longer will need the entire building, investment industry experts have said.

If the downtown tower becomes available, its potential to attract a big new employer could be “catalytic,” said Gib Kerr, director of capital markets in Cushman & Wakefield’s Kansas City office.

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