“In With the Old” article by ThisIsKC

Construction DesignWorks specializes in designing and improving existing commercial space.

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Story by Kalsey McCall

Scott Hamele has had a passion for design and renovation for as long as he can remember. The son of a structural engineer, even Hamele’s childhood memories are laced with blueprints and job sights, leading him to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a similar career.

Since the late 1990s, Hamele has been establishing a name for himself in the Kansas City community as one of the premier commercial rehabilitation specialists in the metro. Today, Hamele is the president and owner of Shawnee-based Construction DesignWorks (CDW).

While the majority of commercial general contractors target new, ground-up construction projects, there are a select few, like CDW, that specialize in interior commercial construction improvements in second-generation space.

Second-generation space is a term typically applied to a space that has had some improvements done on HVAC, plumbing, lights, ceilings, and walls by a former tenant that may be reusable by an ensuing tenant. In other words, CDW assists commercial clients in selecting existing real estate structures that they can remodel, modernize and personalize to meet their specific needs. A recent study by CDW reveals that there is a potential of $2.5 billion worth of commercial interior improvements in second (or third, fourth or fifth) generation spaces in the next 18 months in the Kansas City area.

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The office cafe at Design Resources Inc., a tenant improvement project Construction DesignWorks worked on with 360 Architecture.

“We are with many of our clients from the very beginning stages, even helping them choose the real estate that will best suit their needs,” Hamele says.

In fact, Hemele says he prefers it that way. With a background in commercial real estate, Hamele helps business owners and real estate investors search for properties to renovate and customize using CDW’s design-build method.

“When it comes to renovating existing spaces, it’s important that we discover exactly what the client wants before we start the planning process.”

That is why Hamele and his team work with clients from the very beginning process of conceptualization and follow through all the way to the build-out stage. In fact, before beginning any design work at all, Hamele spends three to four weeks assessing his clients’ needs and wants.

First, Hamele determines if the bones of the building are strong enough for construction and design to begin. Next, he accesses the existing structure, mentally wiping out all the walls and determining which core areas, such as restrooms and plumbing, need to stay in place as well as determining the functionality of the HVAC systems. Then, Hamele addresses safety issues such as fire exits and corridors and ADA compliance and ensures they will be up to code with his design. From there, CDW’s conceptual design can begin to take shape.

“A customer moving into a space that has previously been occupied will be affected by the countless users that have come and gone, thus inheriting years of modifications and code violations which will influence their new design and costs,” Hamele says.

More often than not, clients can expect to spend less than three percent more than their original project bid—a vast improvement over the 10 to 20 percent inflation that often applies to new construction projects.

CDW’s Vide President of Construction Services Anthony Golden is Hamele’s go-to consultant when it comes to interior architecture and design. Through the years, Golden and Hamele and their team of on-site superintendents have executed designs and renovations for such notable clients as Wells Fargo, Chevron, Garmin, Terracon, Edward Jones Investments, TGI Fridays, Great Clips, YellowBook and many others.

One of Hamele’s favorite recent projects, the Stag’s Park Professional Building in Mission, was a challenge to say the least. Now home to Kevin Tubbesing’s companies, Evergreen Real Estate Services, Stag’s Commercial and The Land Source, this particular building went through an extensive exterior facelift as well as a complete interior renovation.

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Construction DesignWorks gutted the inside of a building more than 50 years old to to create this contemporary rustic open office space for The Land Source.

“That building was really the dog with fleas,” Hamele reflects. “There were probably only two people in the world who would have seen potential in that space, and that’s myself and Kevin.”

That’s just what CDW does best.