Tuesday, March 26, 2013


The Department of Finance & Administration released an executive summary of the recommendation for the future home of the Department of Revenue. The report said the final cost to the state for each proposal are:

Duckworth Realty $41,469,192
Hertz Investment Group, LLC $51,684,393
Diversified Technology, Inc. $52,150,315
Purchase Landmark (MDOR Only) $45M - $56M

DFA commented on a proposed purchase of the Landmark Building:

While the selling price is indeed attractive ($ 7.6M), costs not included in the purchase price must be
borne by the State (see list below)
1. Repair of deficiencies noted in the Architectural and Engineering inspections
2. Tenant improvements needed for occupancy
3. Parking for at least 600 employees
4. Operating expenses

Therefore, executing a long-term lease with Duckworth Realty (South Pointe) has the lowest Net Present
Value for the twenty years of the lease. Detailed scoring sheets and economic calculations are included
as attachments 1 and 2.

* $45M represents the estimate to provide Tenant Improvements (TI) only with very minimal repairs.
$ 56M includes TI costs above as well as needed repairs and replacements to the building envelope,
mechanical systems, and electrical systems. These estimates were furnished by the Architectural


Anonymous said...

Does the state provide parking for all of its employees?

Anonymous said...

What about the fact that the state would have an asset in ownership and could lease space to other state agencies?

Anonymous said...

and the sequel to Paladin has to be “Have Gun will stay in Clinton”

Anonymous said...

@ 8:41; the State doesn't necessarily 'provide' parking for employees but would be foolish to(and never does) move into a location that has none available.

In any state owned building built according to state provided specs, parking is demanded and is provided by the builder/seller. When a State Agency seeks a location to lease, the agency does not consider a location that doesn't provide parking for employees and customers.

Come to think of it, can YOU suggest ANY employer or business which would NOT or DOES NOT do the same?

Anonymous said...

Ok just finished it. Here is my queerstchun.

Why did the analysis not include the savings to the state by using the 160,000 or so feet in the Landmark Building that DOR doesn't need. Seems if the state moved 160,000 feet of office space currently being leased at say $12 a foot, the state would save $2mm a year, or $40 mm over the 20 year lease????

How can this "analysis" not consider that???

Anonymous said...

7:29 - Because there is no parking for Landmark included, nor is there a guarantee parking will even be available for rent in 10-15 years.

Back in the 90's, all of us who worked downtown had to find parking and pay for it. I parked in a small lot where the lovely Convention Center now sits for $27/month, because I couldn't afford $65/month in the garage across from the Federal building. There are very few options for parking, unless there is a huge lot somewhere with a shuttle provided.

Anonymous said...

If you look at their last several projects, all made provisions for parking for employees. Given that most state employees have not had a raise in 7 years, it would be hard to ask them to come up with $150 a month to pay for parking downtown.

Anonymous said...

Is the increased value of the building after improvements and in a 20 year projected market included in the costs?

Is the parking offset by travel expenses driving from Clinton to the airport and to the court and to the legislature and parking at both?

Is the ground maintenance in Clinton included?

How about employee time management costs?

What improvements did DOR require? Did they use estimates with the most expensive finishings to jack up the costs to make Landmark unacceptable?

Are they suggesting there is no new finishing out needed at World Com?

We know the Commissioner wanted Taj Mahal on Lakeland.

Anonymous said...

There ARE NO discrepancies.

Southpointe: BAFO $41.4m

Landmark: BAFO $51.6m

Ergon: BAFO $52.1m

Landmark is $10.2 MILLION DOLLARS MORE EXPENSIVE and that is the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

What made both South Pointe and Ridgeland's total costs drop within four months while Landmark's costs increased? How did South Pointe's total cost to the State drop $10 million in four months?

Anonymous said...

Why did the analysis not include the savings to the state by using the 160,000 or so feet in the Landmark Building that DOR doesn't need.

There is no mandate to consolidate.

Anonymous said...

8:24: Not 3% of the employees of DOR travel on business and not 1% 'drive from Clinton to the airport' or to the legislature.

Secondly; what 'grounds maintenance' expenses will be incurred in Clinton?

Third; 'Time Management' is a factor in analyzing business metrics, not in leasing office space.

Fourth; what backup do you have for the furniture hypothesis?

Fifth; 'finishing out' is not similar to major overhaul and improvements. What finishing out?

Lastly; Doesn't Ben have to approve your posts?

Anonymous said...

I do know that the WCOM building has been advertised for years as "move-in ready". All the cubes and furnishings are still in place, and probably a lot nicer than what most state employees have.

Anonymous said...

Why are there no " operating expenses" at World Com? Duckworth is paying for operating expenses? Really?

The original difference of $41 versus $45 is automatically offset by the reduction in price vs value and you get an asset with rental space to bring in revenue.

With 600 employees to service, you will rent that extra space.

The $45 million didn't include some of these costs and how does the estimate get jacked up to $56?

What were the architects asked to estimate?

The state's procurement laws and the " manual" of Building and Grounds is part of the ongoing squandering of taxpayer dollars so that political supporters can be rewarded.

One needs to look at the history of bid protests in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Did the Harvey Johnson administration do anything to help facilitate the Landmark option? Does the city or JRA own the empty lots to the south of the building that could have provided some parking?

I'm sure that I'm not the first to ask what happens 20 years from now? We will be looking at another $40+ million for the subsequent 20 year lease term at the Worldcom bldg. Whereas the Landmark option, at some point, would be free and clear to the taxpayers, except for normal operating expenses. And this doesn't take into account the excess space that could have been used by other agencies that are paying to be in privately owned buildings around the tri-county area. I'm sure some may argue that another State owned building is detrimental to the tax base (property tax, sales tax, etc that would be paid by private owners and business), but with the amount of vacant space downtown, any other prospective private tenants have plenty of other options. Also the employees and daily visitors abd the dollars they would spend in the area certainly offset that loss to a degree.

I agree that this would have had a very positive impact for downtown Jackson, but I do wonder how much of a negative impact there would have been in Clinton had it lost the employees and daily visitors.

At least we got out of that building on Springridge. Sure was nice for Deviney while it lasted.

Anonymous said...

To 6:56 - the State has moved into buildings with no parking - Check out the Craftsmans Guild - $7 million dollar building with 42 parking spaces - Thank good ness Burwell and MHD donated land next to the building to add much needed additional parking222

Anonymous said...

I have heard that DOR will occupy to seperate areas of the Worldcomm building. I will have to be divided into two seperate areas of the building to fit.

Anonymous said...

8:00 am, parking is included in the Landmark proposal. I agree with 7:29. Was the 160,000 feet of space the state doesn't use for DOR in the Landmark Building factored into the analysis, should it be used by other state agencies in the future? Were these savings a part of the final analysis?

Anonymous said...

LMAO ... @ 8:24 AM: "Is the ground maintenance in Clinton included?" ... LMAO ... No, the employees have got to get out there and pull the f'ing weeds. ... LMAO

The Liberatarian said...

Worldcom building is creepy. Its like a zombie movie where everyone has disappeared. Lets move em to Welty.....so they can share our money directly with the drug addled maniacs that drift in and out.

Anonymous said...

DOR is a software-intensive state agency and should be using its budget to collect taxes more efficiently. It doesn't really need a storefront. Its need is e-filing enhancements. More corporate e-filing should be the target not a gleaming headquarters for cozy meetings with corporate representatives who are trying to avoid taxation.

Anonymous said...

Did the Harvey Johnson administration do anything...


Anonymous said...

The Craftsman's Guild is not a state agency with hundreds of employees. That's a state owned building leased to a private non-profit with 400 guild members and no direct access to or from The Trace. They have one employee on duty plus a director and 42 visitors at one time is unlikely.

There are plans in the works now (proposals) to pave and expand parking. Burwell can't donate land he doesn't own. We've covered this before. If you're talking about the ability to park in a mud field to the southwest of the Guild next to the Fire station and walk through mud and across ditches for a hundred yards, what's your point? (seven million dollars for that concrete building? Har!)

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem with the lowest bid: we still won't own it. $40 million spent and we won't own it. So is it worth spending an extra $10 million (if that is indeed how much it really is, which I doubt...I think it's lower) to own the property? Yep. And that's a yep 7 days a week.

Furthermore, 20 years seems like an awfully long time to marry ourselves to Duckworth...and then at then end of those 20 we get to do it again?

Anonymous said...

Harvey Johnson has been very clear that he wants the building to remain private and on the tax roll.

Anonymous said...

To whom has he expressed this and is he aware that the tax basis on the private empty building has CRATERED?

Anonymous said...

Sources 2:49????

Anonymous said...


The cost to own the Landmark would be FAR more expensive. The place is in bad shape. It is empty for a reason. Plus operating expenses would be a minimum of 7.50 per sq foot to run the building = 2.65 a year. Plus 600K per year for parking.

The Duckworth lease will cover the OpEx. Honestly, I really have no idea how Duckworth got their proposal so low.

Finally, why do people think the state would somehow be able to make revenue off of the Landmark (by leasing it to the public) when a real estate company can't?

Anonymous said...

Tax basis on Landmark hasn't cratered.

Anonymous said...

They got the lease so low because the architecture firm Duckworth hired is the same one that C and W and the state hired to scrub the numbers for the Landmark Center last year. JBHM. They KNEW the target. JBHM came up with the $40 per foot figure last time. Also, why did the DFA throttle in $20 per foot TIM for the one half of the building they are not going to use???

The state makes money by relocating current LEASES to free rent in the paid for building when current leases expire.

Anonymous said...

3:10 it will next year. Call Eddie Fair. We (prospective buyer) have.

Anonymous said...

There is no mandate to consolidate.

Anonymous said...

@3:59 PM. You're asking Eddie Fair? Sounds like you don't know up from down.

Anonymous said...

10:54 am ( also LMAO) perhaps DFA assumed the Commissioner will provide the fertilizer!

Wonder if Duckworth threw in a portrait or statue of Mr. Ego for the lobby? Maybe they agreed to re-name the building for Mr. Ego rather than call it the " Con Artist Building".

I am tempted to go get a little kudzu for the grounds of World Com.

Anonymous said...

8:41 - yes, the state generally provides parking for all its employees. Correct question is: Why?

Check the Sillers Building Parking lot and the underground parking at Gartin. Or the Woolfolk Bldg. As well as any space they lease they include the requirement for parking.

6:56, your answer is basically correct but have to answer your end question. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. McCoy Building was built with approximately 20 spaces for agency heads, and they were taken away by the SS for "law enforcement use". All other federal employees had to provide for their own space, generally renting them from parking areas up to five or six blocks away.

To many of the other comments - why would/should the state purchase space it doesn't need just because its available. Oh, I forgot. TO save downtown Jackson and keep up the rental rates for all the other building owners.

Better question is 'why should the state place all these employees in first class office space when many of them don't have any contact with the public and could do their jobs from anywhere in the state. Only a few dozen of the employees on Springridge ever have reason to be 'at the Capitol', 'go to the airport', or do anything else that couldn't be done just as well in Tishamingo County.

For all that say owning is better than renting because will still be paying rent in 20 years - if you happen to own a building have you checked what the costs per year, and the improvement costs per decade happens to be? The much touted C&W study concluded that it was a better economic deal for the state to lease rather than own. Read the report. You quote from it (or from Ben Allen) the part that said to lease the Landmark building, don't purchase it.

Furthermore, purchasing includes other costs - financing, bond issuance, architect fees, contractor overruns, ..... and at the end it includes new roofs, new mechanical systems, carpet, painting, .....

DFA isn't a bunch of idiots that came in off the street - as many here obviously did (or came in from Ben Allen's living room). They have professionals that do this all the time for all state agencies. Are they always right? Certainly not. But why does this one project get so much scrutiny? Maybe because of Ben Allen's succup group that is trying to protect their investments downtown?

Anonymous said...

Cliff notes new bee at 8:14. Much too long and cumbersome.

Anonymous said...

Tick tock..... tick tock......give this all a few days b4 WHAMMY!!!!! Diligence is being done.

Anonymous said...

9:02. Have seen the draft. They are liars and so guilty of all sorts of misrepresentation. Bring it all forward ASAP please.

Anonymous said...

Google Greenwood Commonwealth and read the editorial on this BOGUS CRAP re: DOR. DFA. DO IT.

Anonymous said...

8:14 pm I don't know what you think you know, but the tasks of DOR employees isn't it.

And, your argument that the State shouldn't buy space it doesn't need entirely misses the point...which is owning property is better in the long term than leasing property. Better yet is owning property that has the potential to be income producing.

Your short sightedness is astounding.

Are the Sillers building, the new Capitol,the purchase of Central High School etc. all mistakes or properties that couldn't be duplicated today at any price?

And, I'm not quite so impressed with DFA as you. They have not protected the taxpayer from more than a few boondoggles, many of which were as obvious to unbiased observers as this one!

Also, you are completely ignoring the merits of having a vital capitol. Savannah, Charleston , Raleigh, Atlanta were fortunately to have citizens who don't share your attitude. Are you from Michigan ?

Water Taxi said...

Back to The Craftsman's Guild for a moment. Why would the State of Mississippi build a building and lease it to a non-profit? Not sure if this is Reservoir property or not. Perhaps Burwell donated it to the State. If it cost six million dollars, as was suggested above, I'm a gopher's uncle. And if we paid that for this structure, someone ought to go to jail.

Oh, but, you might say, it was intended as a state-sanctioned, official welcome center. Well, if that's the case, why isn't the state pushing for (and offering to fund) an exit from the Natchez Trace to this place instead of being comfortable with a circuituous route that winds around through Ridgeland if you can manage to follow it?

Anonymous said...

I thought the WorldCom Building was state owned, seized by the state. Apparently that is not the case.

Anonymous said...

8:22 the downtown WorldCom bulding is owned by the state as part of the settlement agreement over tax claim.

10:15 - I will be glad to compare my knowledge of what the various employees of the DOR do compared to yours, and stand behind my comment that 400 of the 500 have no contact with the public - within the building.

The state has NO BUSINESS being in the business of having property that it would lease to others - that is what private business does. The state should not use taxpayer money (yes, that is what bond funds are) to purchase 'extra space' and make it income producing.

We can disagree on our opinion of the DFA - and we may both be right, depending on which issue and our opinions as to the role of government. But the independent study - touted by many on this blog - done by C&W came to the conclusion that the state should lease the DOR building rather than purchase or build it, i.e. own it.

Anonymous said...

I thought the WorldCom Building was state owned, seized by the state. Apparently that is not the case.

Clueless. You are clueless.

Anonymous said...

You are correct, that is not the case. Its owned by a group backed by Roger Staubach.

Anonymous said...

... which is owning property is better in the long term than leasing property.

In general yes, or maybe depending on the unique circumstances, but purchasing property in a rapidly declining area where prices are falling makes no sense.

If your premise was a hard and fast absolute truth then Ward 3 would be booming. If the Landmark was a steal it would have been purchased by private sector investors already.

Anonymous said...

8:35. The state wouldn't "lease to others". As STATE leases expire with rents being paid to the private sector as we speak, the offices would then be housed in the Landmark Center, saving taxpayers $2mm A YEAR.

C and W conclude the following preferences: 1. Landmark lease. 2 Landmark purchase. 3. regions downtown lease and 4. Southpointe Clinton.

I will add that the Landmark purchase option was at a price almost double what it is now. The price decrease, studies concluded, made its purchase now the compelling choice.

Anonymous said...

Now I am REALLY confused. The draft I read indicates that if the state bought the LMC it assumes half the building would be dark for 20 years. Would the state not have the common sense to fold current lease paying agencies into the available paid for office space they would OWN in the LMC?

Anonymous said...

Dumb meet DUMBER 11:02. Typical state government pinheads.

Anonymous said...

People, PLEASE, if The Savannah School of Art and the people of Savannah had had your attitude about a failing, crime ridden downtown and color fear, they'd have ended up like Detroit...as would have Charlotte, Raleigh,Charleston, Atlanta, NYC,Washington,New Orleans,Richmond,Baltimore...shall I go on?
Perhaps some of you are too young or don't know many people who live in other places or don't get out of the state much but Detroit is the poster child for failure BECAUSE of naysayers and cowards like YOU!
Failure is a given for those who don't try and who always see the negatives and never the positives.

It's pretty clear to me that for many of you, seeing Jackson fail is more important than a wise use of tax dollars and you fear seeing Jackson succeed as it will fly in the face of your long held prejudices! If Jackson succeeds, you'd be proven foolish and THAT'S what you can't tolerate.

There are many people in the suburbs in Raleigh,Charlotte,et al who wish to hell they'd kept their property inside the city limits. They should have waited 20 years!

Anonymous said...

11:42 amen. AMEN. You hit the nail on the head regarding naysayers. And other cities.

Anonymous said...

The price decrease, studies concluded, made its purchase now the compelling choice.

There is no Millsaps study.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some of you are too young or don't know many people who live in other places or don't get out of the state much but Detroit is the poster child for failure BECAUSE of naysayers and cowards like YOU!

BS. You.are.an.idiot. YOU are Jackson's problem for peddling such lunacy.

Anonymous said...

11:58 the synopsis is 13 pages long, just as is the DFA report. I guess they don't have a study backing theirs up either. Haven't you got a dog to kick or a wife to beat or something? And 12:01 you are so predictable. Posting 2 comments in a row talking to yourself.

Anonymous said...

There is no Millsaps study. Only a self-serving pre-determined conclusion wrapped into a Powerpoint presentation specifically for this latest Ben Allen dog-and-pony show.

Reminds of Ben's farcical Comprehensive Tax Study of a few years backs. That one didn't carry the day either.

Anonymous said...

1:37 pm The voices in your head aren't real.

Anonymous said...

Ben Allen accomplished NOTHING during his tenure on the Jackson City Council.

Anonymous said...

9:37, the C&W study - which had its faults IMO - did make the recommendations you say. But in another part of it, not dealing specifically with the DOR building, it concluded that leasing was better than purchasing for state buildings. There were several other options proposed at the time of the C&W study but were dismissed because they were not within "walking distance" of the capitol - a criteria put into the evaluation by some "downtown real estate investors" close to the discussion. A criteria IMO that has no basis for evaluating the needs of DOR.

There are many other non-economic considerations - i.e., if the state owns the space, particularly with excess space, government will grow to fill it. If state leases and the needs change, it does not have the same tendency. And having 'excess space' doesn't mean it is a good idea to move other agencies into that particular location - although it is a great talking point without basis.

The fact that LMC has "decreased" in price since C&W is indicative of part of the reason the state shouldn't be purchasing a building, nota reason why it is a better deal now.

Anonymous said...

Arguing with people having selfish interests and who refuse to acknowledge the importance of a strong core city is a total waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Can't have a strong core city without a private sector. Jackson's private sector has voted its disapproval with the city by their departures. Inconvenient fact but a fact nonetheless.

Proponents of the Landmark aren't interested in a strong core city Jackson but rather want more taxpayer provided dollars to bailout their bad downtown bets. The core city sob, as well as all the other packaged spin they trot out, is propaganda. No amount or volume of denials can obscure what is plainly obvious.

Forcing concentrations of government employment into a comparatively very small specific radius within Jackson is more issue avoidance that betrays the core city argument. If that approach was the solution then forcing DOR and every other government agency onto Highway 80 and/or County Line would provide an exponentially larger economic benefit for core city Jackson.

Anonymous said...

7:46 doesn't get out much or look around. He and those like him have given up. Revitalizing cities is never quick or easy, but towns all over our region, that keep plugging along, have finally become successful No need to list them again, because they are obvious. Jackson's biggest problem is getting buy in from those that view our government, school system and the like as comical. In some ways you can't blame them.

There are, however, some of us that will continue to press on, despite the jeers and criticisms because we BELIEVE in what we are and someday will be. Other revivals have suffered the same negativism all along the way, but those that publicly stand up will always be the ones shot at. Comes with the territory.

ConWatch said...

@8:11- Nearly all of the state sees Jackson's government and school system as comical. Hinds County govt too. Good luck getting that buy-in. You'll likely be dead and gone before it arrives.

Anonymous said...

Might be 8:33, but will enjoy the daily ride. Life is a journey not a destination. Cities that work, work in spite of government, not because of it. Hint: see Oxford. No city is ever "finished", but continue daily to improve. Jackson is just getting started.

Anonymous said...

Been hearing that Jackson's getting started since Kane Ditto.

Stopped putting any credence into the possibility back in the late 90s.

Y'all keep closing your eyes and clicking your heels together.

Maybe the Wizard of Oz will actually show up in his balloon.

Anonymous said...

$680mm in new development since 2005, but pointing that out to SH's like you is fruitless.

Anonymous said...

2:03. Did you read the editorial today?

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