Hollis + Miller architectural firm will leave suburbs for Kansas City core

Diane Stafford
Kansas City Star
January 12, 2016

Hollis + Miller scouted 45 locations before selecting a new office home based on three big goals: Attract and keep young workers, meld two suburban offices and join Kansas City’s vibrant downtown-Crossroads area.

The architectural and engineering firm’s search for a new home is scheduled to end in December as the signature tenant for Corrigan Station at 19th and Walnut streets, a renovation project of developers Copaken Brooks and 3D Development.

It will take the top three floors of the 10-story building after a thorough redesign that involves cutting an interior stairwell to connect their three floors.

Relocation from the firm’s current offices in Overland Park and Lee’s Summit won’t go down as a salvo in the economic development border war between Kansas and Missouri.

“This wasn’t about finding the best deal between two states,” said John Southard, Hollis + Miller co-president and partner. “It’s about locating in the cultural arts center of Kansas City and being a part of the synergy.”

Mostly, “this was about finding the recruiting, lifestyle and work environment that was very important to us,” said Kirk Horner, co-president and partner in the 66-year-old firm, which specializes in designing school buildings.

The architects said they’re excited about the Corrigan building’s floor-to-ceiling windows, 11-foot ceilings, great views in all directions and the open, 11,000-square-foot floor plates. The firm plans to unify its two offices, moving about 85 to 90 employees to the new space, which provides room for up to 108 workers.

Hollis + Miller offices currently are at 8205 W. 108th Terrace in Overland Park and 220 N.W. Executive Way in Lee’s Summit.

The move to the Crossroads appeals to Ryan Walters, an associate at the firm who has a lead role in the new office design. He estimated that about one-third of the firm’s newer employees live in the city’s core rather than the suburbs. In fact, the firm’s newest employee lives just three blocks from Corrigan Station.

“We also want our new space to be a showroom for our clients, to show what we can do,” Horner said.

Horner said the firm is looking forward to locating near other Kansas City architecture firms in the Crossroads area and near the American Institute of Architects office at 18th and McGee streets.

“Our distance has been a barrier to connect with AIA and the arts community,” Horner said. “The move is taking away the connection barrier.”

Hollis + Miller says it is the longest practicing architectural firm in the Kansas City area. It has designed public and private schools throughout the United States and emphasizes its energy-efficient buildings.

Copaken Brooks and 3D Development are marketing the building’s lower floors and starting work on a multideck parking garage, with city assistance, to be built across Walnut from the building. Plans also call for an eventual three-story extension from the building west toward Main.

Photo:Hollis + Miller

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