The benefits of Kansas City’s land sites and why they’re so rare

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Land sites are scarce. With limited availability of land sites in downtown Kansas City, Copaken Brooks is proud to oversee a majority of those on the market today. Land sites often take years to prepare for market and require jumping over many hurdles, but the benefits, if leveraged properly, far outweigh any challenges potential tenants or buyers might face.

I’ve been working with land sites for more than a decade now and know the possibilities of these sites are almost endless, which is what makes them so in-demand. Below are some of the biggest benefits of land sites that I’ve seen over my time managing these properties.

1. Organic advertising

Many of the land sites in our portfolio have wide visibility, sitting just off I-35 which sees 100,000 cars pass by daily. There’s a reason everybody knows some of the buildings in that general vicinity. Whether it’s the glass Carvana tower, the Imperial Brewery building, PSI building, Purple Guys—all the businesses in that area are well-known, thanks in large part to their location. Land sites located in that corridor also sit along the roadway that separates downtown Kansas City from the Kansas side of the state line, and downtown Kansas City from the Northland, giving business tenants or owners of those sites unique access to the traffic from that thoroughfare.

2. Potential tax credits

Land sites are often located in opportunity zones, which were created to encourage long-term investments and job creation in low-income areas of the state. So, if the new tenant were an out-of-town group from the coasts looking to move a headquarters into Kansas City, they could see substantial tax savings as the city would recognize the potential influx of new jobs to the area. The same benefits would extend to Kansas and Missouri tenants taking over the site as well.

3. Build-in equity

By investing in low-income or under-developed areas, large projects on vacant land sites stimulate the economy by adding jobs, infrastructure and encouraging other companies or developers to invest in the area. With growth comes higher property and real estate values, and if you’ve built from scratch, you can realize equity that grows with the surrounding area.

Two rare Kansas City land sites are now on the market

Cambridge Crest

Cambridge Crest was brought to the market earlier this fall after more than 15 years of preparation. The land has been in my family for generations. My dad used to take me up to the top of the hill to admire the sweeping views that go all the way from Kansas City, Kansas, to the West Bottoms, to Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The site holds a rich history and sits atop a Greystone Mine that, for many years, served as cold storage. The challenges of re-stabilizing the site hit quickly after the freezers were turned off, but the correct process is now in place to revitalize the land site—which is why it is finally on the market.

The rare 41.33-acre site is the ideal location for a build-to-suit office to serve as an extension of the existing business park, an industrial development site centrally located to the metro’s wide network of local and regional distribution centers or a creative mix-use development with new retail, office and residential possibilities. The land site sits in an opportunity zone with immediate access off I-35.

Imperial Crossing

Just south of Cambridge Crest sits Imperial Crossing at the site of the historic Imperial Brewing building. That space is now classified as a land site as the current buildings are unsafe. The 6.23-acre land site has proposed development of build-to-suit office space or a light industrial park. The site is also located in an opportunity zone and offers convenient and direct access to I-35 and I-70.

What’s next for Kansas City’s land sites?

Though the available spaces are scarce, I would love to see something unique brought to one of Kansas City’s land sites, whether it’s a class A office headquarters, a Sprint- or Google-style campus, a new sports stadium for a professional team like the Kansas City Royals, or even a mixed-use space. It’s hard to express how excited Copaken Brooks is at the opportunity to help shape Kansas City and its skyline as the future becomes reality.

Contact us today to learn more about the land sites Copaken Brooks has to offer or to schedule a tour with our leasing team!

Jeremiah Dean, CCIM, is vice president of leasing at Copaken Brooks, a full-service commercial real estate firm headquartered in Kansas City and serving the Midwest. The company’s full suite of services includes: leasing (office, medical, retail, industrial and underground), construction managementinvestment acquisition and salestenant representation and HQ relocations, property managementasset management, and development. Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or on Twitter @CopakenBrooks.

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