Downtown Orlando, Fla. is expected to become the headquarters early next year for Jackson’s Parkway Properties Inc. Senior level management will transfer, but most of Parkway’s Jackson employees will stay in Mississippi.
Company chairman Jim Heistand, who will become CEO Jan. 1, announced the change to the Orlando Sentinel Monday
Current CEO Steve Rogers, who has led the company for 18 years, announced his retirement in September. In the new year Charles Cannada will become board chairman. Parkway’s COO William Flatt resigned last month, and M. Jayson Lipsey, who was Parkway’s senior vice president and fund manager, has taken his place.
Rogers said his assistant along with Lipsey will both transfer to Orlando. An unnamed executive has been invited to move and is considering the offer. The vast majority of Jackson’s 89 Parkway employees will stay. The company employs a total of 400.
Rogers said he could not speculate about future reductions in Jackson’s employee base and noted that businesses today operate in a world that is somewhat “virtual” due to technological advances.
“It’s difficult to speculate on that. All I can say is the Eola organization’s accounting department has been in Jacksonville, Fla. for 15 years. It’s worked very well for them, and it’s working very well today. … The way the world works off technology now … everyone just does not have to be in the same room any longer,” he said. Additionally, the Securities and Exchange Commission dictates that a “company’s principal place of business is where the majority of the named executive officers reside,” he said.
Heistand founded Orlando-based Eola Capital, which merged with Parkway earlier this year. Parkway Properties is a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns or has an interest in 69 office properties in 12 states. It has about 14.9 million square feet of leasable space.
Parkway’s incoming chief investment officer, David O’Reilly, a longtime associate of Heistand’s, told the Orlando Sentinel the company will be looking to expand.
“Generally speaking, it’s not difficult to see that, historically over the last three, five, or 10 years, Parkway has underperformed the market, and we would like to restore Parkway to where it was in the mid-1990s as one of the leading REITs in the industry,” O’Reilly said.
Parkway missed its earnings projections at the end of 2010 and again after the finalization of the combination with Eola in May.
Heistand said he expects a Parkway expansion to focus on such core “growth” markets as Orlando, Tampa and South Florida.
Parkway announced Sept. 22 it would sell a Chicago building for more than $150 million and take an $18 million to $20 million loss.
Parkway fired its former CFO Mitch Collins in February, accusing him of being a “workplace bully.” Collins, who says he resigned from the company in January, has sued Parkway in Hinds County Circuit Court for wrongful termination, defamation and fraud, claiming there were issues with forward-looking guidance and liquidity. Parkway denies the accusations.