BOOM! KC's Exploding Real Estate Market

We've surveyed the city to deliver a bird's-eye view of Kansas City's booming residential and commercial real estate market and all the hottest new projects lighting up our skyline.

   It’s all about the extremes this year: lush residential and retail projects in the far southern reaches of our suburbs and, on the other end of the spectrum — literally — a mini renaissance occurring in our once rather forgotten downtown. It’s never been a more exciting time to live in our city, with bold new development projects translated from blueprint to actuality on a monthly basis. Read on to find out which architectural icon will become a nationally rated boutique art hotel, which luxury downtown high-rise has a wait list of 1,000, what new street is predicted to rival 119th Street for retail and posh residences, and what former golf club is undergoing a $2.7 billion mixed-use redevelopment, plus many more projects remaking our city for the 21st century. 


     It’s the battle of the two towers as two glamorous high-rise condos, one a historic icon and one brand-spanking new, light up the downtown district. Which tower will take the crown: the Kansas City Power & Light Building or One Light? Stay tuned…



     One of Kansas City’s landmark pieces of architecture, the Kansas City Power & Light Company Building will be given a second life as luxury apartments.

     After enduring more than 80 percent vacancy for a number of years, the 231,000-square-foot art deco skyscraper known for its six-story color-changing glass lantern, is being converted into upscale dwellings. The 30-story limestone office structure was designed by Hoit, Price and Barnes, the architecture company behind Municipal Auditorium and 909 Walnut. Historic details include a marble and barrel ceiling lobby with sunbursts embellishing the elevator doors.

     Kansas City-based real estate development, management and leasing firm NorthPoint Development purchased the tower in March 2014 and began the $63 million redevelopment in October. The project plan for the once-tallest habitable building in Missouri includes 215 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments with hardwood floors and travertine bathrooms, a 3,000-square-foot clubhouse on the 32nd floor, an adjacent building with 80 additional apartments, a 509-stall garage and retail space. The famous lantern, which was temporarily lit blue for the 2014 World Series, will also receive an upgrade with LED bulbs.

     Located at 106 W. 14th St. in downtown KC, the Power & Light Building was built in 1931 as the headquarters of its namesake, the Kansas City Power & Light Co. The electric and utility company moved in 1992. More recently, famed KC architecture firm BNIM inhabited the building until its purchase last spring. The Power & Light District and Sprint Center are located just a few blocks east, with the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts to the south. NorthPoint’s first apartments are slated for completion by the end of 2015 with the full project being completed in 2016.

     “This is going to be another jewel in our [Kansas City’s] cap,” said Mayor Sly James as quoted in The Kansas City Star (Dec. 8, 2014).

     For more information, visit and NorthPoint Development at


     Cordish Co., one of the main developers of the Power & Light District, is constructing a 25-story luxury tower downtown called One Light at 13th and Walnut streets. The $79 million project was the first from-scratch high-rise residential development proposed for downtown in nearly 40 years. Among the building’s amenities: a rooftop pool and bar, a community demonstration kitchen, a theatre/social room with bar, wine storage, dog runs, electric car chargers in the garage, in-home grocery and dry cleaning delivery, concierge ticket service, free membership to One Life Fitness Club and the Power & Light District right at your doorstep. The tower’s 315 units include 11 penthouse suites — an additional penthouse was added when sales proved quite brisk. One Light is slated to open in November 2015. According to reports in the Kansas City Business Journal, there are more than 1,000 people on the wait list. However, those wait-listers can find  some consolation in the fact that the developer’s comprehensive plan calls for three additional Light buildings to be built downtown. In fact, the city is already in talks with Cordish Co. about a second tower at Truman Road and Grand Boulevard, with a formal announcement projected soon, according to The Kansas City Star.    

     For more information visit


     Over the last 10 years the residential population downtown has quadrupled from 5,000 to more than 21,000, and the numbers keep climbing up. It’s a familiar formula of gentrification and one that certainly applies to Kansas City’s once rather defunct, underused downtown. The formula is as follows:  First come the artists and outliers to pioneer downtown living, often in raw loft-like spaces and cool historic buildings; then come ambitious (often young) restaurateurs looking for cheaper rent; followed by hipster patrons and creative agencies alike (e.g. advertising and marketing firms, technology wonks, coffee roasteries, architects, craft beer makers) who flock to the creative communities created by the aforementioned artists’ galleries and eateries. Lastly, come public and private investors funneling billions into the downtown area, including funding major cultural additions such as Sprint Center and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Suburban and urban yuppies alike then flock to the area and downtown has officially been revitalized. Enter luxury downtown high- rises (answering the demand created from downtown’s current 97 percent occupancy rate), hotels, and entertainment venues like KC Power & Light District, and the evolution is complete.

     OK, this is a bit simplified, but it is clear the rebirth of downtown is well underway. From the Crossroads Arts District, championed by the likes of investor Shirley Helzberg, to the slightly more rough-and- tumble River Market area, downtown has more than its share of creative talents in residence and considerable cultural energy driving its renaissance. The West Bottoms seem the next area primed for a bit of spit and polish, championed in a large part by developer Bill Haw, who sees the former stockyard area’s potential. The West Bottoms is also boosted by the institution of the American Royal, which has historically been located there since its inception. The West Bottoms may have recently lost one of its beloved icons, that bastion of beef The Golden Ox, but it still has much to recommend it. The hotly contested fate of the site of Kemper Arena only proves the value of this swath of land. And the much-heralded downtown streetcar project has not even made its debut. The story of downtown’s turnaround continues…



     Here are some of the up-and-coming real estate players who are quite literally reshaping our city.

The Young Gun

Nick Benjamin, executive director of KC Power & Light District and development director at Cordish Company

Up Next: The opening of One Light luxury apartments is set for 2015 with Cordish Co. and talks are already underway for three more downtown towers. Also, Alex Pope’s Cleaver & Cork and the restaurant Yardbird are slated to open this spring at the Power & Light District.

Bragging Rights: Cordish Co.’s proposed new downtown tower One Light already has a waiting list of 1,000 and their Kansas City Power & Light District is at 94 percent occupancy.

Little-Known Fact: Benjamin is a New Jersey native, but we won’t hold that against him.


The Makeover Master

Owen Buckley, president of LANE4 Property Group

Up Next: Buckley is the more public partner in Forbes billionaire Stan Kroenke’s efforts to remake the giant Metcalf South property.

Bragging Right: LANE4 was responsible for the recent makeover of both Corinth Square and The Village shopping center, both in Prairie Village, giving them attractive makeovers and enhancing their retail and restaurant mix with hip and desirable new vendors.

Little-Known Fact: Buckley was a star decathlete at the University of Kansas and contender for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, hence the name of his company, LANE4.


The Mixed-Use Pros

Terry O’Leary and Steve Coon, Principals of EPC Real Estate Group

Up Next: EPC has its hand in many notable, upcoming mixed-use projects in the area, including Avenue 80, 51st and Main streets, Mission 106 and The Domain at Lenexa City Center (see below).

Bragging Right: They are the masterminds behind the live/work/play development The Village at Mission Farms.

Little-Known Fact: They also do lucrative business creating industrial buildings.


The Place Makers

Jeff Alpert and Melanie Mann, Park Place Developers LLC

Up Next: New lofts and traditional residences at Park Place.  Recently, they unsuccessfully attempted to secure land at Homestead Country Club for a housing development — Stay tuned.

Bragging Rights: Park Place is the gem of new urbanism with a lively mix or retail, restaurants, hotels, corporate (including AMC’s world headquarters) and living areas, plus attractive green space and an outdoor ice skating rink.

Little-Known Fact: Recently added Park Place tenants include 801 Fish, Pinot’s Palette, Dazzle  Pawz, BurgerFi, Altar Bridal and Parisi Café.




   Its oak-paneled grill has hosted the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Tom Pendergast, Will Rogers, W. C. Fields and John D. Rockefeller.  Now the circa 1888 red brick Hotel Savoy, located downtown at 219 W. 9th St.,  will receive a much-needed dusting off and refurbishment. Goodbye boarded up rooms and broken windows, hello swanky boutique hotel filled with contemporary art.  Yes, contemporary art — painting, sculpture, photography, video. But before you bemoan the loss of all those historic Savoy treasures, from the carved oak bar and booth number four where Truman held court, to the gas lanterns and art nouveau stained glass dome in the foyer, know that its new proprietors, the owners of all those hip 21c art hotels in Louisville, Ky., Cincinnati, and Bentonville, Ark., are also ardent proponents of historic restoration as well as cutting edge art. Hence, the Savoy Grill’s original murals depicting Westport Landing and the Santa Fe Trail will exist cheek-by-jowl with a rotating gallery of contemporary artworks and maybe one of the hotel’s trademark Crayola-colored penguin sculptures – or 10. 

     The plan for the $47.5 million restoration and transformation of the National Historic Landmark includes a 120-room boutique hotel, an event space, rotating contemporary art displays and cultural programming that is open to the public. 21c will also restore the still-operating Savoy Grill, (Kansas City’s oldest restaurant), and its bar to their former glory. No word yet if the old-school menu of oysters Rockefeller, Lobster Thermidor and Tournedos Rossini will be updated but 21c hotels are known for their  up-and-coming chefs  and craft cocktail programs. The Savoy was purchased from local owner Don Lee, who bought and preserved the Savoy Grill in 1960 and the Savoy Hotel in 1965. The owners of 21c have obtained various tax incentives from Kansas City for the project and are currently wrapping up the last stages of their financing.  Noted New York architecture and interior design firm Deborah Berke Partners has been commissioned to do the design work for the project. In 2009 and 2010, 21c’s Cincinnati property ranked No. 1 by Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards. Future 21c hotels are also planned for Nashville, Tenn.; Lexington, Ky. and Durham, N.C.

     For more information visit


     A 123-room boutique hotel AC Hotel by Marriott is slated to open in winter 2015 in the refurbished former Q Hotel + Spa space in Westport. The euro-sleek, modern hotel boasts high-tech amenities such as mobile check-in, Bluetooth-enabled speaker systems and USB charging stations, as well as more down-home luxuries like Italian marble showers and a help-yourself “breakfast island” with bacon and egg tarts and fresh croissants. Repair to the AC Lounge for individually bottled cocktails, “cutting-edge draft wine technologies” according to the hotel website, and small plates. The hotel has also created culinary partnerships with KC chocolatier Christopher Elbow for the pillow chocolates and Dark Horse Distillery and Boulevard Brewing Co. for drinks.  The design, dotted with local art, is minimalistic and aimed at millennials.  Kansas City is just the second U.S. location for this hotel brand, which first debuted in New Orleans. More than 90 iterations of this brand exist in European countries such as Italy, France and Spain.

   For more information visit



     The 10-year-old Zona Rosa, the $200 million mixed-use neighborhood up north at Barry Road, is largely credited as jump-starting the latest living trend, new urbanism, in Kansas City. Residents tired of suburban sprawl and having to get in the car every time they were out of milk or eggs or needed to pick up dry cleaning are gravitating to new mini-town centers combining retail, restaurants, offices, residential living and other services in one compact, nicely landscaped “town square.” Call it the 21st-century version of “living above the shop,” but this new high-density style of residential living is attracting everyone from single, professional millennials to empty nesters.  And KC developers have taken heed of the new trend, with picturesque mixed-use villages popping up like mushrooms. Here are some of the latest arrivals and upcoming projects:

mission 106 rendering



     The new 132-apartment-unit Mission 106 from The Village at Mission Farms team (Steve Coon and Terrry O’Leary of EPC Real Estate Group), broke ground in February 2014 and is slated to open in summer 2015.  The luxury project at Mission Road and Indian Creek Parkway also includes seven for-rent townhouses in addition to the apartments, overlooking Mission Farm’s five-acre lake.  Amenities include a 24-hour fitness center with yoga room, on-site personal trainer and massage therapist, a “resort-style” pool with cabana area and fire pit, parking garage, dog wash area, clubhouse and “speakeasy bar area,” and steps from a comely mix of restaurants and retail from Blanc Burgers + Bottles to VanBrock Jewels, with more coming in the future. Word has it that the Mission 106 apartments will be 150 square feet larger than the average ones at The Village at Mission Farms. Fittingly, The Village at Mission Farm’s tagline is “Where Urban Meets Suburban.”

   For more information visit

avenue 80 rendering



     Located at 80th Street and Metcalf Avenue, Avenue 80 calls for 230 luxury apartments with 15,500 square feet of retail and office space. Construction on the project, which is being developed by EPC Real Estate Group, LLC (they also helped develop The Village at Mission Farms), will begin in spring 2015. Among the amenities: a clubhouse, a private courtyard and multi-level parking garage.

  For more information visit


   For those who prefer a Plaza location, VanTrust Real Estate is developing a 176-unit, $40 million luxury apartment building with street-level retail, including the bordering Andre’s Confiserie Suisse restaurant and coffee shop/lounge. Other perks: a 24-hour fitness center, clubhouse, an LED wall, and a saltwater swimming pool with barbecue grills, gourmet outdoor kitchen and fire pits. And attention technophiles: 51st and Main will be the first apartments in the country to offer 1-gigabit Internet service from Google Fiber.  The building is slated to open in spring 2015.

   For more information visit



     Ken Block (the developer of Town Center Crossing and The Legends) will introduce his next big project CityPlace in 2016 with Block Real Estate Service, LLC. The $350 million mixed-use project sits on a prime parcel of land at College Boulevard and Highway 69. The 90-acre site will include four contemporary office buildings, 1,382 luxury apartment units, 38,860 square feet of retail space and 140 senior living units, all set within lush, green landscaping and walking trails. No information yet on any retail vendors but the developer is seeking a premiere local supermarket as an anchor store, a bank, two full-service restaurants, and fast-casual restaurants among its retail mix. The residential area will include an amphitheater, an outdoor plaza, resort-style heated saltwater pool with private cabanas, a grilling cabana, an outdoor spa and shower, a dog run and wash area, a fitness center and yoga room, private massage, tanning room and media room. The first apartments and office buildings are expected to be completed in 2016 with the entire project completed in 2021.

   For more information visit

Park Place Residences

     The recently opened residential portion of Park Place in Leawood, The Residences at Park Place was developed by Park Place founders Melanie Mann and Jeff Alpert of Park Place Partners. The mixed-use project at 117th Street and Nall Avenue includes Axis Lofts for modern loft lovers. The 27 one- and two-bedroom lofts come with outdoor balconies, 10-foot ceilings, gas fireplaces, quartz countertops and steel-plated kitchen islands.  Meanwhile, Parkside Apartments and Townhomes offers 120 slightly more traditional units with 23 different floor plans. Other amenities include a zero-entry saltwater swimming pool and sauna, outdoor cabanas, wellness center, Laptop and Latte Lounge, media room, executive conference room and concierge services.

   For more information visit



     Move over, 119th Street and 135th Street: the Kansas City Business Journal recently labeled 159th Street “the next hot retail corridor,” and for good reason. As 135th Street hits saturation point for retail, 159th Street is poised as the next hot parallel in southern Johnson County. Most significantly, Price Development Group has begun phase one of its BluHawk project (which was put on hold for seven years during the recession but was recently revived). This 300-acre project, the largest mixed-use project in Overland Park, will entail 1 million square feet of retail and restaurants, 187 high-end homes and villas starting at $400,000, 600 luxury apartments, 400,000 square feet of office space, a hotel, 40 acres of park-like green space, a new facility for police and fire services and a 400-bed hospital, Shawnee Mission Health-Blue Valley operated by Shawnee Mission Medical Center.  The health center will include a full-service emergency department, imaging, primary care and more. The retail project will be anchored by a 50,000-square-foot Consentino’s Market at 159th Street and Antioch Road.

     According to the press release, the developers also “envision an arts and educational component complete with live theatre, luxury cinema and an advanced learning center.”  This just in: Price Brothers is currently discussing potential museum concepts for the project with the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kan., a Smithsonian-affiliated space education museum.

     No word on the timetable for BluHawk, but the project was originally expected to be completed within 10 years. Look for potential announcements of future restaurant, retail and health club vendors in the future when leases are finalized. 

   The new corridor will get a major uptick in traffic when the interchange at 159th  Street and Highway 69 is completed this fall. In addition to the BluHawk project, this area will get a 320-acre, 900-home subdivision north of Walnut Trails planned by developer Darol Rodrock.

   For more information visit


Mills Farm

One of the newer entries to the area, Mills Farm by developer Matt Adam, offers custom homes starting in the $400,000 range for The Meadows and advancing in price for The Manor or The Estates/Enclave homes. Stunning, life-size bronze horse sculptures line the entrance to this luxury community, highlighting its roots to country living amid the city. The neighborhood  sits on more than 300 acres and is located at 159th  Street between Switzer and Quivira roads. Residence Club amenities include a clubhouse for entertaining, state-of-the-art fitness facility, yoga room, three separate pools (an infinity-edge pool, competition pool with slide, and kiddie pool), tennis and basketball courts, nature trail and children’s play areas.

   For more information visit

Wilshire by the Lake

   As its name suggests, this new planned community located at 159th Street between Switzer and Quivira roads, sits on a beautiful lake. Custom homes start in the $400,000 range, many with prime lake views. The neighborhood, created by Ashner Development Company, boasts its signature curving streets as well as cozy cul-de-sacs. Amenities include a clubhouse and  pool overlooking the lake and fountain,  a kids’ pool and kiddy “tot lot” for playing, basketball court and fully-stocked fishing lake.

   For more information visit


   This charming neighborhood is located at 161st Stret and Quivira Road, but just a stone’s throw from the 159th Street corridor. Developed by Rodrock Homes, this community boasts more than 50 acres of natural green space and generous-sized house lots. Amenities include a state-of-the-art swimming pool, clubhouse and landscaped nature trails. Curvilinear streets chart a course past a private lake with fountain, nature trails and picturesque views. The developers have vowed to retain 40 percent of the property’s 152 acres as open space.

   For more information visit



     The circa 1967 Metcalf South Shopping Mall at the major intersection of 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue has long languished — a blight that was formerly a bright real estate star. But trends change and the enclosed, windowless, miles-long shopping mall is becoming a bit of a dinosaur as shoppers gravitate to new urbanism-style, park-and-walk city centers with lush landscaping and the latest boutique shops, restaurants and services. Enter the somewhat mysterious billionaire land developer and Columbia, Mo., native Stan Kroenke to the rescue. (Read more about this intriguing businessman in Frank Cook’s profile of him in this issue.)

     The Kroenke Group is pairing with local firm LANE4 Property Group as the single entity 95 Metcalf Properties for the proposed mixed-use project. LANE4 recently revamped The Village and Corinth Square, both in Prairie Village, so the team has experience with these kinds of makeovers, which include everything from physical beautification to recruiting a better mix of attractive vendors. A redevelopment proposal submitted to the city of Overland Park for approval late January 2015 calls for the razing of most of the existing buildings to create a new complex of retail, 450 luxury residential units housed in a four-story apartment building and office space, all built around a Central Square. The square would serve as an open gathering space that could host art fairs, farmers markets and live music concerts. The pedestrian-friendly project will have an elegant, upscale design and will potentially include restaurants, large and small retailers, a specialty grocery store, a health and fitness facility, furniture store and perhaps town houses. All existing structures on the 63-acre site will be demolished with the exception of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and the Sears store (the latter is not part of the property sale as it is owned by Sears). The estimated cost and timetable for the project have not yet been released but the project will most likely take several years to complete.

   For more information visit 


64133: KC’s BEST ZIP CODE?

     One of real estate’s top online brokerages has researched the nation’s 28,000 key zip codes and determined that one of the best in the country is Kansas City’s own 64113.That’s the Brookside-Mission Hills neighborhoods, just south of the Plaza on the Missouri side. The company that made that declaration is Movoto, based in San Mateo, Calif., and aside from being a national online real estate firm, it also is an extraordinary data miner that sifts through public databases to come up with esoteric lists that are both interesting and amusing. (For example, Kansas City, Mo., also ranks No. 6 as “10 Best Cities to Raise a Family in America” — No. 1 was Omaha — and less hopefully, ranks No.2  as “The 10 Most Redneck Cities in America,” below Atlanta but above Oklahoma City.)

     Movoto recently combed through Census Bureau data collected from the Postal Service’s 28,061 zip codes, to rank communities from best to worst based on median household income, unemployment rate, average commute time, median house worth, high school graduation rate and number of families below the poverty line. The results: No. 1 was Washington, D.C., zip code 20004. But No. 10 on the list was 64113 — Brookside-Mission Hills. Movoto noted that the area has a high school graduation rate of 99.53 percent and an unemployment rate under 3 percent. The median household income is a “staggering” $119,676, and poverty is nearly nonexistent. The survey also cited the neighborhood’s beautiful landscaping of “parks, trees, and ponds” and concludes, “Top that all off with great restaurants like Charlie Hooper’s and Bella Napoli, and this is one wonderful place to call home.”

     Other local zips that made Movoto’s list include: 66206 Leawood at No. 46; 66209 Leawood at No. 82; 66221 Overland Park at No. 114; 66220 Lenexa at No. 158 and  66211 Leawood at No. 188.

   If you want to check out your own community’s ranking, go here:



lenexa city center rendering


     Perhaps one of the biggest commercial real estate projects is happening right outside our city proper in Lenexa. The Lenexa City Center, a new 200-acre, mixed-use neighborhood located at 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard, is truly a microcosm in the works. The ambitious plan by master developer Copaken Brooks is divided into four quadrants and organized around a central green. It calls for a mix of retail, office space (including the new HQ for Perceptive Software), residential space, a hotel and a 200,000-square-foot civic center. Walkways connect to Shawnee Mission Park and The Golf Club of Kansas.  A community recreational center will include three gymnasiums, an indoor aquatic area with swim lanes and water slides and an indoor walking track. A public art gallery space, an indoor and outdoor farmers market areas, and an outdoor amphitheater are also planned.

     Among The Lenexa City Center’s centerpieces is The Domain, the residential project developed by Terry O’Leary and Steve Cook (of The Village at Mission Farms) and designed by EPC that is currently under construction. It will feature 200 upscale studio, one- and two-bedroom units with a pool; clubhouse; tanning, massage and personal training services; a central courtyard and views of The Golf Club of Kansas.  The Domain is scheduled to be completed in early 2016.

     Also in the works for City Center East, the eastern quadrant, is a future Hyatt Place Hotel and Lenexa Conference Center. City Center North includes Craftsman-style residences The Cottages at Cross Point Creek. City Center Northeast contains phase one of WaterCrest, by Block Real Estate Services, which is now open. WaterCrest will eventually bring 552 luxury units to City Center when phase two is completed. Amenities include: a 24-hour fitness center, heated resort-style pool with cabanas and oversized hot tub, grilling areas and outdoor fireplaces, internal pond and waterfall with Wi-Fi garden, controlled electronic-key access, yoga studio and free yoga classes, massage therapist, tanning, pet washing and dog park, and full-service concierge.

    Among the vendors already doing business at or near City Center: Grand Street Café, Life Time Fitness, a second location of Parkville’s The French Bee Bakery and the organic supermarket Sprouts.

   For more information visit and


     Prairiefire made a splash when it opened in 2014 at 135th Street in Overland Park, anchored by a unique-to-market museum space in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, as well as attractive destination restaurants, retail and other diversions such as the upscale Pinstripes bocce and bowling spot and Cinetopia movie theater complex. Residences, butterfly gardens and fitness paths rounded out the project. But that was only phase one of Merrill Companies’  estimated $448 million, three-phase project spanning nearly 60 acres. What to expect for phase two: more than 157,000 square feet of additional retail space for shops, dining, entertainment and services; extensive office space (279,534 square feet); possibly additional residential living; a Native Wetlands project for educational purposes; a one-acre central park called Arbor Plaza for music and other outdoor events; and a new-to-KC, high-end boutique hotel of 80-120 rooms, leveraging the tourist appeal of Prairiefire and Museum at Prairiefire. Phase two is slated to begin in summer 2015.

     Just up the street on 135th Street, the new Corbin Park retail village anchored by Van Maur is swiftly filling up its spaces with desirable tenants such as Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Life Time Fitness, Stein Mart, Sprouts Farmers Market, YaYa’s, and Take Five Coffee + Bar. Opening this spring is a SPIN! Pizza and in the summer expect a massive Scheels All Sports complex. Sheels is a sporting goods and family entertainment emporium rolled into one with an in-store Ferris wheel, bowling alley, fudge shop and carnival-like shooting gallery to entertain your little ones. Six additional retailers are expected to be announced soon.

   For more information: visit and


     The coming OPx, short for Overland Park Xchange, is the hip name for KC’s coolest new office complex. Developer Occidental Management with Hoefer Wysocki Architecture LLC of Leawood  is undertaking a $25 million conversion of Overland Park International Trade Center and its 655,000 square feet into contemporary and open-plan office space, designed with millennials in mind. KC’s No.1 engineering firm Black & Veatch will be the first tenant, relocating its Telecommunications and Special Projects staff here in fall 2015.  The exterior will be reclad in a combination of glass, metal and wood-like materials for a warm contemporary look, while covered balconies and patios will unite the office building with its inviting landscape, including an existing lake and abundant walking trails. Other amenities that millennial worker bees will enjoy: on-site auto detailing and shoe shining services, dry cleaning delivery, a fitness center and a bistro for dining. The sleek office conversion is located at 115th Street near Sprint’s global headquarters and coming attraction TopGolf.


     In other big office news, Cerner Corporation has started construction on its $4.5 billion campus The Trails on the former site of Bannister Mall. The 290-acre project, with a master plan by Gould Evans Architecture, is expected to generate 16,000 new Cerner jobs in Kansas City. The campus calls for 4.7 million square feet, exceeding even the Sprint campus of 3.9 million square feet. Occupancy of the first of the 10 buildings is slated to start by the end of 2016. The campus will include 370,000 square feet for retail, restaurants and a potential hotel. Expect  signature buildings to house this titan health information technology company when the 10-year project is complete.


     Sprint is not the only big commercial project in town. The new Logistics Park Kansas City in Edgerton is a $1.45 billion project, currently being developed by NorthPoint Development, that will convert 1,500 acres of farmland in Johnson County into a significant warehouse and distribution  facility. BNSF Railway anchors the new facility which opened in Jan. 2013 and is still being developed.  A key investor: Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has poured $44 billion into intermodal freight transport operations run by BNSF Railway Company. Buffett is betting that moving freight by rail rather than freight trucks will become an increasingly more viable, faster and cheaper alternative for companies. And with its strategic location in the heartland, Logistics Park Kansas City is poised to be a major hub, serving all points in the U.S.


     Private country clubs with luxe amenities but dwindling memberships are the latest real estate category ripe for reinvention — often with the manicured golf courses left intact. Three such local clubs are expected to be converted in the near future.  The 27-hole Brookridge Golf & Fitness at 103rd Street and Antioch Road was recently acquired by Curtin Property Co. Its $2.7 billion, 15-year development plan submitted to the planning commission last fall is expected to have a significant tourism component. Among the planned amenities:  a 3,000­seat, open-air amphitheater for concerts and performances overlooking the waterway; three hotels with a total of 750 rooms; a 330,000­square­foot Retail Village; 3.8 million square feet of office space and  more than 2,500 for­sale and rental residential units. A  park, lake, walkways and fountains will beautify the space, while a new luxury clubhouse will accompany the existing nine­hole executive course. Approximately 50 percent of the more than 200 acres will be devoted to green space.

     Other clubs potentially up for grabs: Recently, Homestead Country Club, a swimming and tennis club in Prairie Village, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in an effort to avoid foreclosure and stave off an attempt by Jeff Alpert and Melanie Mann, the developers of Park Place in Leawood, (who purchased Homestead’s $3 million bank loan), to redevelop the site for 30 to 35 homes. Stay tune. In 2010 VanTrust Real Estate LLC acquired the struggling Meadowbrook Golf & Country Club at 9101 Nall Avenue. According to their website, VanTrust plans on “redeveloping the site into a high-quality golf course residential community.” VanTrust is currently evaluating the property and operating the course as a private golf and tennis country club. The firm is expected to announce a redevelopment plan soon.

   For more information visit and




     The “go south” expansion continues with several premium low-density residential communities (starting at $400,000) in the outer suburbs that are attracting residents with their blend of nearby city attractions with beautiful pastoral settings of rolling hills and prairie. In the case of The Polo Fields at 164th Street and Quivira Road, the community actually resides on a former swath of green polo fields amongst the surrounding treescape and a bordering creek. The combination of larger lots, expansive country settings, privacy, family- friendly amenities and access to award-winning Blue Valley Schools has attracted its share of family residents to these picturesquely planned communities. The Polo Fields, one of the first such communities, boasts plentiful green spaces, nature trails, a pool and cabana, and a plethora of custom homebuilders with varied estate-sized house plans to choose from.

   For more information visit

The polo fields



     Prime Development’s community, Bluestem, offers similar attractions, with an emphasis on larger-than-average half-acre lots and an appreciation of natural surroundings. The last phase of Bluestem is now open, with lots for a final 40 homes available situated on an expansive 150 acres of green space and native prairie at 151st Street and Quivira Road. Residents can choose from a variety of custom home designs in traditional, craftsman or Mediterranean styles by James Engle Custom Homes, LLC or Roeser Homes, LLC. In addition, Bluestem features more than 30 percent green common area, a 12-acre lake and more than two miles of walking trails. Other amenities include a pool, a recreation center featuring a clock tower and reflecting pool with fountain, and an elegant tree-lined entrance.

   For more information visit



$375,000 to $475,00

No. 1 hottest selling price point for KC homes due to low inventory and high demand. A not-so-hot price point? $500,000 to $600,000.

Source:  Realtor Kristin Malfer. of Kristin Malfer Premium Real Estate


The year-to-date average price of homes sold in Johnson County (through Nov. 2014).  The 2013 average was $261, 695.

Source: CERI (County Economic Research Institute) Jan. 15, 2015, Johnson County Report


The average annual change in price of homes sold over the past five years in Johnson County

Source: CERI


The average resale price of a home in Johnson County over the past two years

Source: CERI


The average price of the sale of a new home in Johnson County over the past two years

Source: CERI


The percentage change in building permits for multi-family units in Johnson County for the month of Nov. 2014  versus Nov. 2013

Source: CERI


The number of multi-family building permits issued the month of Nov. 2014 in Johnson County. Versus the average number of multi-family building permits issued over the past five years: 6

Source: CERI​


The number of Johnson County homes sold by realtors, year-to-date (through Nov. 2014). Versus 9,497 homes sold in 2013 (through Dec.)

Source: CERI


The percentage that Zillow predicts Kansas City Metro home values will rise next year. 



   According to the Kansas City Business Journal, the top residential real estate agents/teams according to dollar volume of 2013 closed sales were:

1. The Koehler Bortnick Team  $232,402,017
2. The Rob Ellerman Team      $128,728,909
3. Kristin Malfer & Associates   $97,541,645
4. The Bash Group                   $69,663,085
5. Sharon Sigman                    $69,240,500


   According to the Kansas City Business Journal, the top firms based on gross sales for 2013 were:

1. Reece & Nichols Realtors, Inc.                                                   $3,582,951,353
2. Better Homes  and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes  $1,272,707,809
3. Realty Executives of Kansas City                                              $633,940,438
4. Keller Williams Realty Partners, Inc.                                         $431,409,659
5. Keller Williams Realty Diamond Partners, Inc.                         $363,434,689



   Top realtor Kirstin Malfer of Kristin Malfer Premium Real Estate has offices in Leawood and on the Plaza, so she is familiar with the entire swath of Kansas City’s residential high-end market. Below are her expert tips, including what your broker won’t tell you…but probably should.

Advice to Sellers:

  • Your house is way too cluttered.
  • Your house needs a deep clean. People with dirty houses oftentimes don't see the mess.
  • Odor is a biggest turn-off to buyers, but most people with stinky houses don't seem to notice the smell of pets, smoke, etc.
  • You're going to have to replace the roof if it’s old; the carpeting if it’s worn. Wood rot is not an option. If you don't take care of these things now, it's likely to be a snag at inspection.
  • You may love your hot pink dining room walls, but if you want to sell your property, neutral paint is the only way to go.

   For more information visit