Greater Jackson Welcome Home Coffee Table Book
Ted Duckworth has known where he is going for years. As the son of the project manager for Mississippis largest bank, he spent much of his childhood learning the ins and outs of property management and the importance of strong relationships between building owners and tenants. So it was no surprise, when Duckworth launched Duckworth Realty in 1989. Fresh out of Mississippi State with a business administration degree, he had high hopes of making a name for himself in Jacksons competitive real estate market. Ive had a fascination with buildings for most of my life, says Duckworth, who serves as president and managing broker for the firm that bears his name. My first exposure came when I was eight years old and DGB (Deposit Guaranty Bank) asked my dad to be the project manager/leasing agent for the construction of the plaza building. Not long after that he took me to New York City where I spent the entire time looking up at all the architecture. Its been that way ever since.
Like many new companies, capital was limited in the early days, but the then-22-year-old Duckworth had more than enough enthusiasm to make up the difference. Combining passion with a sheer knack for business, and working with his brother, he captured exclusive listings for several of the citys premium commercial properties in Duckworth Realtys first year of operation. His efforts spelled renewed success for properties such as the Briarwood One Building and LeFluers Gallery Shopping Center.
Today, Duckworth Realty is one of Jacksons leading commercial leasing and management companies. Recognized for making the community a better place to live and work, the company stands at the forefront in the development of downtown mixed-used projects, master planned office parks, and Class A quality buildings. Headquartered in Jackson, Duckworth Realty has properties in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Mobile, Pensacola, and Atlanta.
Innovation and Creativity
Much of Duckworth Realtys strength comes from the ability to create unique environments where people can enjoy working and doing business. The company uses a perceptive approach to understand a clients identity, cultural values, potential, and aspirations.
We strive for user-sensitive innovation and creativity, and our ambition is to create an exceptional development each time we undertake a new project, says Duckworth. Our employees are instilled with the belief that to truly separate ourselves from the competition, we must exceed the expectations of tenants and owners.
Examples of this type of thinking abound in Duckworths portfolio. Institutions such as AmSouth Bank, The Carlyle Group, Plaza Investments, Sealy Company, and Engel Realty Company look to Duckworth Realty for property management services because the company has demonstrated unparalleled service in a broad range of products and markets.
Growing with Jackson
One of Duckworths most notable challenges came in 1999 when the company purchased the AmSouth Bank Corporate Headquarter facilities in Jackson and Shreveport. The acquisition of this $72 million project moved Duckworth Realty into a multi-state operation managing and leasing space in facilities comparable to the highest quality properties in the southeast.
In metro Jackson, as in other larger cities experiencing rapid growth, the development community often focuses on expanding suburban markets, says Duckworth. This creates an investment opportunity, as well as a societal obligation to refocus on the older, established properties.
Based on its research of the needs of the inner city, Duckworth Realty saw an opportunity to help with the revitalization of downtown Jackson by bringing retailers to markets they had not been able to penetrate. This approach holds true to the firms commitment to provide retailers of goods and services where there is a need.
Our guiding philosophy is that we should be benefiting the communities where we live and worknot acquiring buildings for the sake of acquiring, but acquiring to fill a need, says Duckworth.
The Jackson properties, formerly known as the Deposit Guaranty Bank Building and the adjoining 22-story plaza, were originally built in 1929 and 1975, respectively. For Duckworth, buying the buildings had personal as well as financial significance. His father, Ben Duckworth was the project manager responsible for the construction and leasing of the building for Deposit Guaranty in the 1970’s.
Since acquiring the AmSouth Center, significant improvements have been made by Duckworth. The two-building office complex, with 580,000 square feet of Class A office space and an enclosed 581-space parking garage, has undergone a $700,000 renovation that makes its landmark presence in downtown Jackson even more striking.
True to the commitment to community, Duckworth Realty has begun transformation of a second downtown landmark. The Electric Buildinghome to Entergy Mississippis corporate offices for more than 70 yearswas purchased by the development firm in 2003 with plans for restoring the structure to its original splendor.
The $14.8 million renovation will place executive condominiums on the top two floors and retail space on the bottom floor. Entergy will occupy five floors of the elegant, 10-story high rise, which offers magnificent views of Mississippis Governors Mansion and Smith Park.
The exterior windows are being replaced to match the ones originally installed in 1927. The ground floor entrances with original pre-cast details will be added to resemble the original design. A parking garage will compliment the project along with a rooftop terrace overlooking St. Andrews Cathedral.
Projects of this type are the result of thinking out of the box, says Duckworth. Its a big project for us and an even bigger project for downtown Jackson.
Eyes on the Future
Through a group of close limited partnerships, Duckworth Realty plans to continue to grow its asset base through the acquisition of high quality properties throughout the Southeast. Expansion in markets that the firm already occupies is the primary focus. However, any new opportunity in a market that has a good economic base and sound economy will be considered.
One primary focus in the Jackson market is to concentrate on the leasing and brokerage business. Duckworth Realty intends to continue evolving and separating itself from the competition with steady growth through vision in anticipating the cycles of the real estate market.
Our philosophy is to forge a trail with innovation and quality rather than follow where the path may lead, says Duckworth. Our company develops and manages spaces in a manner that creates emotion in the hearts of those who inhabit them, and peace in the minds of those who own or invest in them. We look forward to what this new century holds.