Luxury Apartments, Civic Center to Join Lenexa City Center
September 16, 2013
developers Steve Coon and Terry O'Leary are nothing if not perceptive.
Perceptive Software LLC began building its two new 120,000-square-foot headquarters
buildings in Lenexa City Center this year, the pair began eyeing an adjacent
site for their next project.
officials committed to start building a nearby 200,000-square-foot civic center
soon, and Coon and O'Leary knew the time and place for The Domain at City
Center were right.
Principals in an
apartment development and management firm called ePartment Communities LLC,
Coon and O'Leary received preliminary plan approval for the project last month
from the Lenexa City Council.
Located at 88th
Street and Penrose Lane, the 203-unit luxury apartment project will be located just
south of the Lenexa Civic Center site and just north of the Perceptive Software
O'Leary said The
Domain at City Center project would advance according to the same development
model he and Coon have deployed for other successful high-density, lifestyle oriented
complexes, including The Village at Mission Farms in Overland Park and 51 Main
in Kansas City. Specifically, ePartment Communities will design the project,
obtain the necessary city approvals, find an equity partner to share in the
ownership and, finally, manage the completed project.
Coon and O'Leary
have become known as visionaries since entering Kansas City's evolving apartment
market about 10 years ago. Their first apartment project, Barrewoods near
Missouri Highway 152 and Barry Road, was the first project in the country to
offer free wireless Internet access.
That project was
started in 2003, at which time potential investors asked the developers if they
really believed people would ever use computers at home, O'Leary said.
Ten years later,
Coon and O'Leary are now working on 51 Main, a project on the Country Club
Plaza that will include the first apartment units in the country with 1-gigabit
Internet service via Google Fiber.
In addition to
keeping up with technology, ePartment Communities also keeps an eye on the past.
Settingwise, their projects are throwbacks to dwelling places in
long-established suburban mixed-use pockets like Kansas City's Brookside and
Waldo neighborhoods, O'Leary said.
Unlike those older
areas, however, The Domain will have an urban, contemporary feel. Aimed at the
renter by choice, O'Leary added, the project's high-end touches and
surroundings will wipe out the stigma associated with conventional apartment
"We like the
City Center location because Lenexa is a bedroom community and its demographics
suggested it would welcome a full-scale mixed-use development with the residences,
offices, retail, restaurants, hotels and so on," he said.
The partners also
liked the fact that the development was master-planned -- "We like to know
what things are going to look like around our projects," O'Leary said --
and that the portion of City Center where they will build is controlled by an
experienced master developer, Copaken Brooks.
Construction of The
Domain is expected to begin next spring, a few months before work on the first 100,000-square-foot
phase of the new civic center begins next door.
Administrator Eric Wade said the Lenexa City Council voted last month to
include money for the civic center's design in the city's capital improvements
plan. The first phase will include recreational facilities, city offices and
limited retail, he said.
City officials have
also been in discussions with the Johnson County Library about moving its Lackman
branch to the new civic center. Wade said libraries of the future will be
smaller, due to the need for less hard-copy materials, and "housed in civic
environments where multiple community activities are going on."
In keeping with
that theme, Lenexa officials are also hoping to include space for college
classes in the new civic center.
Though the civic
center uses aren't all known, Wade added, one thing that's not up in the air is
the financing for the structure. It will come from a 3/8th-cent sales tax
approved by Lenexa voters in 2008.
That's about the
time that the recession kicked in, stopping early Lenexa City Center development
in its tracks. During the past year, however, it has taken off with the aforementioned
projects and others, including the recent relocation of B.E. Smith's corporate headquarters
to the City Center East portion of the 200-acre, four-quadrant development. In addition,
a new Hyatt Place hotel and conference center and a 552-unit apartment complex were
recently approved for City Center East.
Construction on the
apartment project, Block Real Estate Services' WaterCrest at City Center, is expected
to start this fall.
The Domain will be
the third apartment project launched in Lenexa City Center, Wade said. The first,
the 309-unit West End at City Center, recently opened at full occupancy in City
Center North, he said.
project) will push the number of units in Lenexa City Center to over
1,000," Wade said. "That means more than 2,000 residents right there,
which is awesome.
"It's a great
addition to the whole development, because City Center's a place. And when
you're creating a place, you need to have residents living there, businesses
succeeding there and retailers thriving there for it to be authentic and