KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More Kansas City office space is vacant in the start of 2022 compared to the end of 2021, continuing the predictable trend that started with COVID shutdowns and widespread work-from-home policies, according to Newmark Zimmer’s 2022 Q1 report.

As Americans return to the office, the workplace they come back to permanently is starting to look a lot different as companies balance what it takes to keep their employees happy.

The office space that Mark Potts’ DPS Group Global Kansas City office uses in Overland Park helped get the KC branch of the international company off the ground.

“But once we got here, we were looking for something different,” Potts said.

They’ve found it in Park Place, a mixed-use community with places to live, offices to work, and shops for retail on lining small streets and treed sidewalks.

“This is nice, but you look out the window and you see cars going by and [at Park Place] you look out the window and you see people actually mingling outside,” Potts said. “And the amenities in Park Place are great. There’s six or seven restaurants and bars, there’s an ice cream shop.”

The new location will double the square footage for the quickly-growing DPS Global KC office, but it also gives them a lot of fun attractions right on their doorstep.

It’s a move that Newmark Zimmer Associate Director Tommy Gentry sees a lot.

“Really the impact of COVID has been quality over price,” Gentry said.

The thought is that office space vacancy has increased while companies rethink how much space they need with flexible hybrid work schedules while also deciding to use the space they do have differnetly.

“When COVID first came around, we really thought private offices were going to make a big come back,” Gentry said. “I would say it almost has been a little of the opposite.”

Instead, Gentry said open floor plans with offices around the perimeter are most popular, with flexible space for group work.

Inside the buildings, landlords are already investing in upgrades like cafes and gyms to give employees a reason to wan tot come to the office even if they aren’t required to be there five days every week anymore.

“The buildings that are going to be winners down the road are the buildings with more amenities, more reason to draw people in rather than push them back into the office,” Gentry said.

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