Last edited 4:51 p.m., Nov. 8, 2020
With a distaste for eyesores in the community, Warren Davis works to make sure buildings do not end up down this path. But it’s rare that any developer would take on an empty 1 million square feet. Ten years ago, that’s what Davis did when he purchased the former Solo Cup Co. plant on North Glenstone Avenue.
A $22 million investment and nine tenants later, his company is receiving Developer of the Year honors from the Springfield Contractors Association. The top hardware in the Salute to Design and Construction Awards banquet on Nov. 5 went to Warren Davis Properties LLC.
“It’s very unexpected, kind of unbelievable,” owner Davis said of the award.
The 36th annual awards ceremony was held virtually because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Before Davis, the Solo building was emptied following the disposable cup manufacturer’s closure and elimination of more than 300 jobs in the early 2000s. It was a difficult part of Springfield’s business history, and Davis has since rewritten it.
“An empty building for a town is no good,” Davis said. “It’s on 80 acres there. So, we started working on it.”
Today, the Davis Properties team, including his daughter Kimberly Harrington and her husband Patrick, have created a warehousing and manufacturing hub. Tenants include UnderCover Inc. and NewStream Enterprises, and some 800 people work at the now dubbed Solo Cup complex, Davis said.
This summer, Davis said his company built a 200,000-square-foot, $11.5 million addition in hopes of creating more jobs.
“The demand for warehousing in Springfield is at a high,” Davis said. “So, we thought we would build one, but when we did, we wanted to build it taller so they could put more product in there.”
So far, Kansas City-based door company D.H. Pace Co. has taken up 65,000 square feet inside the building.
Davis started his property management company in 1994 with the purchase of the Woodruff and McDaniel office buildings in downtown Springfield. According to its website, Davis Properties now has holdings of nearly 3 million square feet in southwest Missouri.
In addition to the Developer of the Year, SCA presented the Design Team of the Year award.
Collaboration between businesses for the $5.8 million stadium improvements project at Nixa Public Schools took the prize.
Recognized for the award were:
• architect and interior designer Dake Wells Architecture Inc.;
• owner Nixa Public Schools;
• general contractor DeWitt & Associates Inc.; and
• engineers Shaffer & Hines Inc., CJD Engineering LLC and Mettemeyer Engineering LLC.
The Nixa stadium project was intended to ensure quality and create a place the community could rally around, said Brandon Dake, owner of Dake Wells Architecture. By the numbers, it increased seating capacity to 4,400, added 8,000 square feet across four buildings and created 70,000 square feet of paving/hardscaping.
He and his staff researched how they could make the stadium more intimidating to visiting teams and better than surrounding high school rivals. They arrived at a 10-room press box with restrooms and concessions, a grandstand wrapped in a 35-foot-tall by 215-foot-long vinyl windscreen with digitally printed graphics of student athletes and, at the center, a 65-foot elevator featuring the school logo, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
“We doubled the size of their seating as well, which was pretty significant, because when they play Ozark and other football teams around in the area, they just run out of seats,” Dake said.
Guest teams also have their own entrance and concession stands, said Dake, whose team now is designing a performing arts center addition to the Nixa High School.
The stadium project could not have been completed without communication and teamwork, said GR Stovall, local president with DeWitt & Associates Inc., especially considering challenges created by a global health pandemic.
“There was a time when we thought, maybe, some of the bleacher components were not able to arrive at a timely manner,” Stovall said. “The manufacturer was able to overcome that obstacle, come full circle, and we were able to get through it.”
Gearl Loden, superintendent of Nixa Public Schools, noted the community’s role in the project.
“First of all, we needed to have the community support for our bond campaign,” Loden said of the $15 million bond issue voters approved in 2019.
“This is not just going to benefit the schools.”
Loden said discussions are underway to have a Fourth of July fireworks show and other events at the stadium.
The Salute Council presented two Lifetime Achievement awards: Larry Phillips, a principal engineer for Buxton Kubik Dodd Design Collective, and Ted Smith, a retired president at DeWitt & Associates Inc.
The National Association of Women in Construction singled out two individuals for its awards. Dana Haase of Nabholz Construction Co. received the Rosebud Award and Stacie Ramos of Killian Construction Co. the Vesta Award. The award criteria included community involvement, construction association memberships, participation in workforce development and job advancement.
The American Institute of Architects named Jon “Art” Kessler of KCI Construction the Craftsman of the Year for renovation work at Cox College. AIA’s Superintendent of the Year went to Dustin Wilson of Miller Woodworks for the Block 22 project in Pittsburg, Kansas.
Builders predict costs will remain elevated well into 2021.
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