KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A long-planned Downtown Kansas City Office Summit had a slightly Royal flavor Wednesday after the baseball team announced its intentions to build a new ballpark district in the next few years somewhere around the downtown community.
The team, in a way, is joining in on the trend that’s already driving local businesses to relocate to the urban core, or at least open up a second office location like Hunt Midwest.
“While we were in the underground and while we were in Subtropolis for years and years, the majority of people didn’t really realize what else we do,” said Hunt Midwest President and CEO Ora Reynolds.
That’s why Reynolds says they decided to be in the heart of the city and hang a sign off their building next to one of the busiest streets in the metro.
“We chose this because truthfully because it is Main and Main,” said Reynolds. “The whole city as a whole only works and only prospers and only attracts new talent if the urban core is vibrant.”
Mostly glass walls inside with open common areas make it easy to see who is in the officer. Hunt Midwest Senior Director of Operations Justin White says it pushes back against the shortfalls of social distancing for relationships with co-workers and clients.
“It facilitates those personal relationships which for a while, kind of got relegated to Zoom,” said White. “We wanted really good visibility throughout the office, we wanted maximum light, we wanted folks when they were in their office to be really easy for other people to see they were in the office and to make it really easy for them to see who else was in the office.”
Hunt Midwest personifies the trend business and city leaders want to continue to promote as they try to create 50,000 new office jobs in downtown Kansas City while adding nearly eight million square feet of new office space to the market over the next 20 years.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City took a sizable and early dent out of that goal, leasing up the entire 18-story building along Baltimore Avenue.
“I think what happens downtown, right out your door, you get all these other choices,” said Burns & McDonnell President and General Manager of the Global Facilities Practice Mike Fenske.
A potential $2 billion baseball district nearby could land in any of a few spots near downtown or the Crossroads District, but Fenske says as long as it’s easy to get to, it’ll have a similar impact throughout downtown.
“My opinion is: Close enough is close enough,” said Fenske. “I know that I’m just a six-dollar Uber ride from anything when I’m downtown so I think the region of downtown works out well for most situations,” said Fenske.
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