Hallmark Cards is putting one of the most desirable office sites in the Kansas City market up for sale, and Newmark Grubb Zimmer has landed the assignment.
Newmark Grubb Zimmer is marketing the 2.67-acre site located at the southern end of Hallmark’s Crown Center mixed-use complex between Main Street, Grand Boulevard and 27th Street in Kansas City. The site is immediately south of the existing 2600 Grand office building and park.
Crown Center is an important development for the Kansas City market. It includes hotel, office, entertainment and residential properties, all of which surround the world headquarters of Hallmark at the southern edge of Kansas City.
The mixed-use development features more than 2.2 million square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail and condominium and apartment units. It is also home to a pair of hotels, the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center and The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center.
It’s a big deal, then, that Hallmark is putting this office site on the market.
David Zimmer, president and principal with Newmark Grubb Zimmer, said that the site is best suited to serve as the home of a company headquarters. It is master-planned to be developed as a high-rise, Class-A office building with up to 400,000 square feet of space.
“For Hallmark, the crown jewel in its portfolio is the Crown Center,” Zimmer said. “Hallmark has taken great care over the years to protect this development. Now the company is ready to take advantage of the great real estate market we are seeing in Kansas City.”
Crown Center Redevelopment will consider building to suit to meet the exact needs of a potential buyer.
This isn’t the first time that Newmark Grubb Zimmer has worked with Crown Center. The company previously assisted with the development of two office projects in the development, the 240,000-square-foot 2301 McGee building and the 595,000-square-foot 2555 Grand building.
This relationship with Hallmark helped Newmark Grubb Zimmer land the key office assignment, Zimmer said.
“The relationship our company has with Hallmark goes back probably 60 years,” Zimmer said. “During that period, we have done a lot of work for Hallmark and with Hallmark. At the same time, our team is responsible for some of the very largest office buildings developed in and around Crown Center. I think Hallmark was comfortable working with us because of this relationship.”
Michael VanBuskirk, executive managing director and principal with Newmark Grubb Zimmer, said that the Hallmark site should attract plenty of attention.
It’s not easy to find such prime office sites throughout the market, he said.
“There is a lack of quality headquarters office opportunities in downtown Kansas City,” VanBuskirk said. “If you are counting on your hand, you won’t get to more than three. This is a site that is primed and ready for development.”
The site is informally known as the “top of the table.” That’s because the Crown Center’s topography gets higher throughout the southern end of the development. This site sits at the peak of this table.
“It’s a high-profile, important site,” VanBuskirk said. “The quality of the building that rises on that site, the aesthetics of it, are important to Hallmark and to us.”
Why is this the right time for Hallmark to put the site on the market? Zimmer pointed to the busy commercial real estate market now sweeping throughout Kansas City.
“The Kansas City market is certainly as strong today as it has been in quite some time,” Zimmer said. “There are not a lot of high-quality sites available for development. They aren’t making any more land today.”
VanBuskirk said that the Crown Center site offers plenty of advantages to office users. First, there’s the access. The land sits in a prominent location in Kansas City, and serves as the southern gateway to Crown Center.
VanBuskirk points, too, to the views that any office tower on the site would enjoy. A tower would offer views of downtown Kansas City and the city’s Liberty Memorial.
But the land’s biggest selling point? Those working in the building will be able to walk to the restaurants, shops and attractions of the Crown Center development. They’ll be near the condos and apartment buildings in the development. Those visiting the site from out of town will be able to stay in the center’s hotels.
“Crown Center is truly a live/work/play environment,” VanBuskirk said. “That’s what corporate users are looking for today. The timing of this land hitting the market is perfect.”
Senior managers today are charged with attracting, building and retaining an effective workforce, Zimmer said. An office building in Crown Center? That will make this job easier, Zimmer said.
Zimmer said that a location in the Crown Center will be especially attractive to Millennial workers.
“They are looking for a more rounded lifestyle,” Zimmer said. “They want to be able to walk to their place of employment, shops, entertainment and restaurants. There are amenities in Crown Center that companies can point to when recruiting workers.”