Taking shape: Construction crews start work on Block Real Estate Services’ CityPlace development

A rendering of the office portion of CityPlace

A rendering of the office portion of CityPlace

by Dan Rafter

Yesterday marked an important day in Block Real Estate Services’ development of the $350 million CityPlace mixed-use development in Overland Park, Kansas: Construction crews began moving actual dirt.

This work — the beginnings of the project’s sight-grading and infrastructure phases — marks the end of a long journey for the undeveloped 90 acres located just southwest of College Boulevard and Highway 69.

There was a time, about three decades ago, when this plot of land was scheduled to become a different mixed-use project, the Town Center Galleria project. That project, though, fell apart.

CityPlace has met a different fate. And Ken Block, managing principal of Block Real Estate Services, told Midwest Real Estate News yesterday that his company plans to move forward with the construction of an office building, some retail, a multi-family building and seniors housing on the site in 2015.

A glimpse of what the residential portion of CityPlace will resemble.

A glimpse of what the residential portion of CityPlace will resemble.

The goal for CityPlace? To create a development that offers residents and shoppers everything they could possibly need on one site.

“We want to provide a place where people can live, work and play,” Block said. “The goal with the shops is to provide restaurants and other amenities that both serve the office and residential portions of the project so that if people don’t want to they won’t have to leave the site during the day. They can eat there, relax there and work there.”

Big plans

Bordered by Interstate 435, US 69 and College Boulevard in Overland Park, CityPlace will feature an office park, apartment homes, retailers, restaurants and seniors housing residences in one community.

In all, the project will boast four office buildings totaling 600,250 square feet on 26 acres, 1,382 multi-family units on 39 acres, 39,860 square feet of retail space on 6 acres and 140 seniors housing units.

“This site has always been an intriguing one for developers,” said Aaron Mesmer, an investment sales specialist with Block Real Estate Services. “There have been a number of plans that haven’t been able to move forward in the past. Because of its geography, this has always been a developable site. This time, though, we were able to make a deal with the land owners. We were able to work with the city to get a plan that they liked, we liked and fits within the market in terms of what modern office and residential users want.”

Harry Drake, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Block Real Estate Services, said that each site within the project will be a syndicated investment opportunity. Block will seek qualified investors for each site.

Block in early October issued the investment offering for the first multi-family building planned for the site, a 344-unit structure.

Block Real Estate Services recently recently celebrated the ground-breaking of CityPlace.

Block Real Estate Services recently celebrated the ground-breaking of CityPlace.

It will take time for CityPlace to rise. The goal now is for construction crews to complete all road and infrastructure work in 2015. Block predicts that the first 344 apartment units in the project will be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2016.

The project’s apartment buildings, once complete, will feature such amenities as a fitness center, saltwater swimming pool, dog park, private massage room and yoga studio.

The office buildings will feature larger floor plates, private corporate balconies and granite and limestone interiors.

“We are now getting into position on this project,” Block said. “We are getting ready to start construction on our first multi-family complex. We are focusing heavily on fine-tuning the last elements of the office building. We have interest from two or three different users on that. There will be a huge amount of activity here in 2015.”

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