By Kevin Collison
The Cordish Co. has joined the burgeoning co-working market downtown, announcing that 15,000 square feet in its new Two Light apartment project will be reserved for an office venture called “Spark KC.”
“With the rapid growth of the downtown population, the demand for downtown office space is higher than it has been in many years, and a large segment of that demand is looking for a co-working environment,” said Nick Benjamin, Cordish vice president for development and executive director of the Power & Light District.
“Spark KC will be an ideal collaborative workspace for the Kansas City community, and we are very excited that it will be the pioneer for the live-work opportunities in this market.”
The announcement was held in part of the two-level space at Two Light where Spark KC will be housed. The 24-story, 296-unit apartment project is nearing completion and its first residents are expected to move in May 4. It’s about 35 percent preleased.
It’s that living opportunity that Cordish officials believe will give Spark KC an advantage over other co-working competitors downtown including WeWork and Plexpod.
Shervonne Cherry, director of community and partnerships for Spark, said Cordish has done well with Spark Baltimore, growing from 22 companies when it opened in 2016 to 110 currently.
Cordish is headquartered in Baltimore and its first downtown entertainment district was developed there.
“Our vision for Spark is to provide local entrepreneurs an affordable, appealing, flexible way to local and grow their businesses,” she said.
City officials on hand included Councilman Scott Taylor and City Manager Troy Schulte.
Schulte said downtown needs additional Class A office space, adding that the planned Three Light apartment tower now being reviewed by city officials also will included co-working space.
That 300-unit high-rise is planned for next door to Two Light on the northeast corner of Truman Road and Main.
The city manager also said he hoped Cordish ultimately comes back with a proposal for an office tower downtown.
Earlier this month, Schulte told a luncheon gathering that Cordish is teaming with Copaken Brooks and H&R Block in pursuing a potential office project on the block southwest of 13th and Main.
Taylor said downtown’s resurgence needs to include not only more residents, but more office space.
“We need a lot more because small business growth has been tremendous and we need a lot more of them,” he said.
The Spark KC co-working space will complement what was described as the technologically advance apartments at Two Light. Amenities include AV-equipped conference and meeting rooms, multiple large event spaces with catering and a dedicated community manager to facilitate connections and events for startup businesses.
“Co-living is a growing trend globally and…Spark KC will add a truly unique option to our menu of co-working spaces,” said Adam Arredondo, chief executive of the Kansas City Startup Foundation.
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