With a “Turn on the Lights” ceremony attended by civic and community leaders, national law firm Polsinelli today officially celebrated the opening of its new 10-story headquarters, the keystone to a world-class office, retail and hospitality complex that returns vitality and economic energy to one of Kansas City’s most important neighborhoods near historic Country Club Plaza.
Plaza Vista, a 235,000-square-foot structure located at 900 West 48th Place, will accommodate 450 total employees, including more than 250 attorneys. VanTrust Real Estate, the project’s developer, also has included a 16,600-square-foot retail component and an adjacent seven-story structure that houses a new 132-room luxury hotel called the Hotel Sorella. Serving both structures is a six-level, 933 space underground parking garage.
“This is a momentous occasion for our firm,” Polsinelli Chairman Russ Welsh said during opening ceremonies. “This stunning office space truly reflects our values, our culture and our national brand and we are grateful for the support of the state of Missouri, Mayor Sly James, the City Council and the community as a whole who have worked with us to ensure that our headquarters would remain in Kansas City.”
As part of the expansion, Polsinelli also has opened a 35,000-square-foot National Service Center at nearby 800 W. 47th Street to accommodate marketing, IT and administrative functions serving Kansas City and the firm’s 16 other offices across the country.
“We are fortunate to work in one of the most livable cities in America and we take pride in investing in the future of Kansas City, its people and its neighborhoods. Polsinelli was founded 41 years ago just a few blocks east of Plaza Vista, so it’s most appropriate that the firm’s new headquarters continues to be an important contributor to the long-term success of the Country Club Plaza area and our hometown,” Welsh said.
Opening of Polsinelli’s headquarters occurs during an exciting period of growth that has seen the firm’s national footprint expand to 10 states and 17 cities. Polsinelli was recently recognized by The American Lawyer as the fastest-growing law firm in America over the past five years, and the firm moved to 69th position in The National Law Journal’s ranking of the largest U.S.-based law firms. The firm’s nationally recognized Health Care Practice is considered by the American Health Lawyers Association as fourth largest in the nation.
360 Architecture, the project’s architects, the design of Polsinelli’s headquarters strengthens the Plaza experience, creating open, urban spaces at the corners and encourages pedestrian connections to enhance the scale and fabric of the neighborhood. It also creates a series of generous patios, terraces and plazas along Belleview Avenue, 48th Street and Roanoke Parkway.
“The interior environment is timeless and metropolitan, designed to showcase the abundant views of the Country Club Plaza,” said 360 Architecture principal Peter Sloan, whose firm also designed Polsinelli’s new Dallas and New York offices. “Spectacular materials are integrated throughout the space to reflect light and art. Glass walls provide transparency. Solid elements are strategically placed to frame the views and finishes become progressively lighter as you move from the interior of the space outward, creating a feeling of openness and lightness throughout.”
A seven-story cantilevered stairwell winds through the center of the building like a sculptural wood ribbon, creating additional visual and physical connectivity. As the primary architectural element in the space, the stairwell provides a graceful elegance that balances the rectilinear forms of the building.
According to Sloan, the spaces within the building are organized to provide strategic adjacencies that optimize operational efficiency and allow long-term flexibility over the life of the firm’s 20-year lease. Multi-purpose lounges and training rooms provide flexible space for mock trials, conference space and client entertainment. Furnishings reflect the modern work environment with collaborative seating areas located throughout the building and sit-stand workstations in all administrative and associate offices.
J.E. Dunn Construction has built a world-class office building and interior that has also achieved established objectives for environmental responsibility, thus making it a candidate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
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