Dean Realty Co. and Copaken Brooks joint venture business parks, underground complex—part of massive industrial portfolio in heart of KC

 In Press

Kansas City, Mo. Dean Realty Co. and Copaken Brooks announced today its joint venture on more than 1.6 million square feet and 40 acres of developable land in a prime Kansas City urban infill property, effective May 9.

Lester Dean, Jr., the former Dean Realty Company president, said, “This joint venture opportunity is a good business decision. The family came to this decision with careful consideration over the last several years and in consultation with its external board of directors and other business advisors.”

Located in a highly visible area in the heart of the Kansas City metro, the portfolio includes two prominent business parks – Cambridge Business Park and Downtown Business Park – as well as Downtown Underground, an underground warehouse and self-storage complex below Downtown Business Park. Currently occupied by a mix of 110 credit and local corporate tenants, the portfolio includes 29 buildings that were developed, owned and managed by the Dean family over the past 60 years. The properties feature a diversified mix of predominantly value warehouse, light industrial and office assets, plus 40 acres of prime vacant land sites for development or sale.

Since 1958, Dean Realty maintained a focus on developing legacy assets in their portfolio. In May 2018, the family and board made the decision to joint venture the portfolio led by Walt Clements, President and CEO of Dean Realty Co.

“Dean Realty has deep roots in Kansas City, with a rich history in commercial real estate on both sides of the state line,” Clements said. “When the Dean family made the decision to bring on an operating partner, the natural choice was Copaken Brooks. These properties play a key role in Kansas City as hubs for distribution and employment. Bucky Brooks and the Copaken Brooks team have the background and expertise that will allow this area to flourish in the years to come.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime large scale property assemblage that’s right in the path of new growth and revitalization in the urban center,” said Bucky Brooks, a principal with Copaken Brooks and the portfolio manager in the new ownership group. “Copaken Brooks is proud to lead this joint venture on one of the area’s most significant property portfolios, and we’re even more excited to propel these assets to the next level.”

All the portfolio properties are in well-established infill locations that benefit from excellent visibility and access to interstate highways and major thoroughfares, and the business parks are located along the Kansas/Missouri state line with close proximity to some of Kansas City’s most dynamic and growing areas. Copaken Brooks also intends to lead a development plan to add substantial new mixed-use development at Cambridge Business Park. Burns & McDonnell will partner as the design-build firm for the portfolio.

Enterprise Bank & Trust served as the financial partner for the joint venture, and Jeff Carson, President of the bank’s Kansas City region, said the deal was especially gratifying, as it continues the revitalization momentum Kansas City is experiencing.

“This part of town is such a vital corridor and the intersection of several different communities,” Carson said. “And I’ve always wondered, ‘What if? What if we leveraged this more as a community?’ With the endless talent, resources and strengths that Bucky and Copaken Brooks bring to the table, the sky’s the limit. I’m excited to be a part of giving it new life.”

Dean Realty Company was founded by Lester Dean, Sr., a colorful figure in Kansas City and the founder of Dean Machinery Company, which the family sold in 2012.  Dean was the first developer of underground commercial space in a mine located on West 31st Street, known as Dean’s Downtown Underground. The first opening to the mine was built in the 1870’s for a railroad called Kansas City, Memphis & Mobile Railway (KCM&M), dubbed the “Magnificent Tunnel.”

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