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HOK Is Part of Team Helping to Reposition Downtown Kansas City Tower for the Creative Class

One of Kansas City’s most recognizable towers is being reimagined into Class A office space to attract and retain the creative class in the heart of downtown.

HOK’s Peter Sloan and Jake Baker spoke with the Kansas City Business Journal about the repositioning of City Center Square into Lightwell.

Excerpted from the Kansas City Business Journal:

As the new owners of City Center Square have started work on the redevelopment of the 30-story downtown tower into Lightwell, they’re positioning the project to attract tech businesses in Kansas City.

AREA Real Estate Advisors and building owner Somera Road Inc. aim to turn the building at 1100 Main Street into the Central Business District’s equivalent of a trendy tech hub, where they can scale the amenities given the size of the building. Tim Schaffer, president of AREA Real Estate Advisors, said the project was spurred by a lack of the right office space in downtown.

Schaffer and project architects Jake Baker and Peter Sloan said the plan is to reinvent the common areas of the building by improving food and beverage options, building out a conference facility and creating a lobby more akin to that of a hotel, that gives people the option of spending time there instead of simply passing through.

Baker, project designer with HOK, and Sloan, the HOK senior principal overseeing the project, told the Kansas City Business Journal that the design will incorporate the building’s concrete pillars, but strip down many of the current finishes.

“One of the biggest things is that we saw a building that had fantastic bones, but was long overdue for some refresh,” Baker said.

Both architects said the building offers a potential home for the creative class in Kansas City, which doesn’t currently have a home downtown like it does in the Crossroads Arts District. The design incorporates a lot of natural light and natural, warm finishes that play up the Mid-century modern style that currently is on trend and matches the building’s construction.

“This is the perfect time for this building to be coming back to life,” Sloan said.

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