Copaken Brooks touts unique design in new downtown KC + Lenexa projects

MetroWire Media  |  Real Estate News  |  April 10, 2015

Copaken Brooks is looking to transform a number of sites from downtown to Lenexa with a product that's different than anything it's done in its history. It's not development for development's sake, says principal Keith Copaken, but "placemaking."

In addition to adding Perceptive Software to the mix at Lenexa City Center, it's also formed a joint venture with EPC Real Estate Group to begin work this summer on a $30 million mixed-use development made of 175 residential units, 50,000 square feet of office space, and 30,000 square feet of retail. The retail portion will be unique in that it will include a number of 5,000 to 10,000 square foot corner spaces - a product that's harder for smaller retailers to find in Lenexa.

"We think as a 5,000-square-foot user, your choices are not as good as they could or should be," Copaken told a group of KCRAR Commercial members. "Here, you can have your own identity, and your own corner piece, and be part of a new and vibrant downtown living space."

And because multifamily development is so hot right now, the residential piece will help drive the project, and allow for some of the office and retail to be built speculatively, he said. The plan is scheduled to go before the Lenexa City Commission on May 4.

Another project Copaken Brooks is launching with EPC Real Estate Group is ARTerra, a 116-unit apartment building with ground-level retail at 21st and Wyandotte streets in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District. Inspired by German design, ARTerra will have amenities on the fifth floor deck, where they'll have an artist create a mural or ceiling painting visible from the street. Ideally, they'd like to incorporate a lit top to the design as well.

Copaken said entitlements on the project were received a few weeks ago, and incentives are in place. Rents will range from $1.80 to $1.90 a square foot. The building will also have 150 structured parking spaces. He said the project will likely start later this summer, but that it could start even sooner if necessary.

The firm is also hoping to bring another corporate headquarters to downtown Kansas City, specifically, a company looking to make bold a statement and have an iconic market presence, Copaken says. What's been dubbed Twist Headquarters is a 500,000 square foot mixed-use office complex at 13th and Grand, just north of the Sprint Center. Designed by HOK, the building's 21,000-square-foot floor plates are rotated 4 degrees at each successive level, giving the impression of a twisting and turning façade while still retaining its core. However, tenants are needed before construction kicks off.

"This is not a spec building," Copaken said. "It's a building that requires probably a corporate headquarters' name on it. We want to design something with elegance, something out of the ordinary, that if you had a reason to have an iconic market presence, you're front and center. The exposure is second to none in Kansas City."

"We're in the very beginning stages of thinking, but it's a great opportunity for placemaking," Copaken said.

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