I have been in commercial real estate for almost 30 years, and I have done quite a few transactions. Of course never as many as I or my company would like!
One thing that I am amazed at from time to time are those people or companies that have a great vision for re-use of a property. Even with having my vision being corrected multiple times by Lasik surgery, I don’t always see what they see.
Three examples stand out in my mind that I have sold, although I’m sure there are more!
The first was a building at 2131 Washington in the Crossroads (I’m not sure this was actually named the Crossroads when I sold this property!). I was looking for a photography studio for David & Paula Morris. We found a property where they were making candles or soap. They bought the property and transformed it into a photography studio, but also an amazing event space. It’s very cool, and I couldn’t picture it!
The next property was a building I sold to Aaron and Connie Zack for their business Sunlighten Saunas. We looked at multiple properties before deciding to look at the old Sun Publishing building at 435 & Metcalf. It was a great iconic building that everyone in KC knows. We went in for the first time and it was a mess. It had no updating and I think they had a copy of every newspaper and magazine ever published. But the Zack’s had a vision and turned it into a spectacular headquarters for their business.
What prompted me to write this was what happened to me yesterday. Steve Karbank of Karbank Real Estate bought a building I had listed at 2000 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Westwood. The owner of the property was Jerry Reece and Reece & Nichols occupied one floor of the building for 12 or 13 years. The company wanted an updated space and also wanted to move to the Plaza. So Jerry decided to market the property.
I had great activity on the building, but it was a little tired. It had many things going for it – location, access, and a retro look, as well as an amazing view from the rooftop. Along came a longtime friend and real estate developer Steve. He contracted for the building and subsequently closed on it.
14 or 15 months later, Jerry and I went to go visit his old building. Again the idea of vision popped up again. Steve, his family, and his team of architects and contractors turned this building into a spectacular office building.
They added a top floor to capture the views of Mission Hills and the Plaza (with a deck going around the floor). They gutted, re-skinned, and totally reworked this property. Wow. I have seen many office buildings in KC and around the country, but I think this is my favorite. It’s so very cool. Congrats to Steve and the Karbank family – the “Barney Building” is the one your Dad would be the most proud of.
I guess it’s time to go back to Dr. Doan and get my Lasik tweaked to see if maybe I can get that special “vision” for real estate!