University supplies Campustown anchor

James Heggen

Lane4 Property Group was selected as the master developer for the Campustown revitalization project at the end of April, and they are currently in the planning stages.

The company visited Ames two weeks ago to gather public input about what community members, as well as officials from the city and university, want to see out of the area.

Hunter Harris, director of development for Lane4, said the company is five years old and offers “full service real estate capabilities,” which includes brokerage, property management, real estate consulting, development and construction management.

Owen Buckley, president of Lane4, said at those public input sessions in Ames that the company is a proponent of mixed use.

“We think mixed use is the future,” Buckley said.

He also said the company is interested in “infill” projects: Instead of focusing on developing land on the edges of town, they focus on the redevelopment of areas inside cities, such as Campustown.

“And we think the opportunity today is to come back into those areas,” Buckley said.

Harris said this type of development is attractive given the current economic climate.

“So it’s very attractive for us to pursue opportunities next to what we call legacy anchors,” Harris said.

In the Campustown project, the university provides this anchor.

“In the case of the [ISU] project, you have an institution that’s been there for decades and decades and decades, continues to grow, continues to invest capital and really serves as a nucleus,” Harris said.

“[We] also seem to be gravitating toward universities,” Buckley said at the meeting.

Harris’ first project he did out of college was an infill, mixed use project in Lawrence, Kan.

He said The firm also has two projects in the “concept design stage,” which means they have real estate under contract but have not yet started construction. One is in Manhattan, Kan., in its Campustown, Aggieville, where Kansas State University is. The other is across the street from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

“In a college community, you have lots of different constituencies that like to have a voice in the development process, so we’re very accustomed to that and know that will certainly be the case with the Campustown revitalization area,” Harris said.

Harris said the company has also been selected to design and build a 27,000-square-foot radio station and classroom space for the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

In their public input meetings two weeks ago, members of Lane4 several times said  they are especially excited about this project. Harris said the reasons are because the area has a lot of “potential,” but also it’s unique to have a city and university on the same page when it comes to a project like this.

“First just the pure potential of the area, and secondly being able to work arm in arm with the city and university has the recipe for a very, very successful project when completed,” Harris said.