One Light and Two Light
General Contractor: JE Dunn
Location: Kansas City, MO
The Kansas City Power & Light District (P&L) is a dining, shopping, office and entertainment district in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, developed by The Cordish Companies of Baltimore, Maryland. Living units were always envisioned for P&L, but because of the mid-2000 downturn in the economy, building was delayed until 2015 when JE Dunn built One Light, a 25-story, 330,000 sq. ft. luxury apartment tower. The high-rise building includes 307 residential units, two retail tenants on the first level, club rooms, office space for The Cordish Companies, and two penthouse floors. One Light was the first new residential tower built downtown since 1976.
In 2018, Two Light followed. This 506,000 sq. ft. luxury apartment building is nearly 50 percent larger in square footage, but has 296 units, which is fewer than One Light. A seven-story parking garage and amenity level are the main reasons for the reduced number of units in this building. The amenity level includes a spa, terrace, outdoor pool with infinity edges, entertainment areas including an indoor/outdoor bar, and a Club room.
JE Dunn partnered with Skyline Construction and they added American Direct to the team to provide doors, frames, and hardware for One Light and Two Light. JE Dunn’s Project Manager, Tim Ockinga, says that Kansas City doesn’t have a multitude of high rise buildings, so they sent teams to Chicago to investigate different concrete form work, and to Atlanta to research the different ways work from floor to floor was sequenced. The sequencing would prove to be a critical part of the overall building plan.
Traditional building construction is sequenced with structure/skin/interior, but with 24 floors on Two Light, many of these things were happening at the same time. Ockinga says, “We were pouring concrete in the top floors, working on the skin (windows and metal panels) in the middle floors, and doing finish work installing doors and hardware in the lower floors — all at the same time.” To be able to do that, they had to make sure everything was water tight, so they installed a temporary roof — another uncommon technique in Kansas City construction.
The sequencing was critical. Each trade (doors/frames/hardware; windows; drywall, etc.) was considered a “module.” Every two weeks that module would move up one floor. “It was like a train. As long as the engine was moving and the caboose was following, we were good. We didn’t want the module to get moving too fast or get behind because there was no where to go. All the modules needed to stay paced accordingly,” says Ockinga.
One of the challenges with building in a downtown area is the tight urban space. “We took out one lane of traffic and that was our only lay-down yard. We didn’t have anywhere to store anything, so installation had to occur immediately after delivery,” says Ockinga. American Direct’s Project Manager, Kellie Volz, says that only 2nd shift (night) deliveries with partial semi-loads were allowed. Delivery coordination was extremely important.
With 24 floors and more than 4,700 openings, even a $5 or $10 uptick in the price of a door, frame, or hardware would make a significant difference to the bottom line. Therefore, Ockinga relied on American Direct’s Southeast Regional Sales Manager, Jason Plotner, to help guide them with smart product choices that would have the look and feel of luxury, but with an affordable price tag. “We had to get very creative to stay on budget, but American Direct helped us do that,” says Ockinga. American Direct teamed up with a local provider to get doors fabricated and delivered on time.
Two Light was the second of four planned high-rise apartment buildings to be built by The Cordish Companies within the nine-block perimeter of P&L. As the Kansas City skyline changes, the dedication from American Direct stays the same. They focus on creating beautiful living spaces for Kansas City and other urban areas.