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Senate property panel OKs Blount’s office consolidation proposals

State Sen. David Blount’s is seeing early success with a pair of bills to consolidate 28 state offices now scattered throughout the metro area into privately owned vacant office space within the Capitol Complex, an area extending from downtown to Lakeland Drive.

Blount’s bill has won approval from the Senate Public Property Committee and now heads to the full Senate for a vote. Blount commissioned a study by Millsaps College’s Else School Management that projects a $5 million a year savings by reducing the average rentable square footage for each worker by 33 percent, down to the federal standard of 218 square feet from the current 323 square feet.

A companion bill proposing that the state buy downtown Jackson’s vacant Landmark Center on East Capitol Street and convert the building into the new home of the Mississippi Department of Revenue also successfully advanced from the committee to the full Senate. Owners of the Landmark, a 345,000 square-foot office property at East Capitol and Lamar streets, have dropped the price of the building to $7.6 million from a year-ago-price of $14.1 million.

Blount, a Jackson Democrat and commercial real estate professional, envisions other state agencies occupying space beyond the approximately 220,000 square feet the Department of Revenue would need. The Millsaps analysis put the square-foot purchase price at around $22 a square-foot.

A separate RFP process is under way that has the Landmark Center competing with South Point Business Park in Clinton and the Ergon Properties’ Diversified Technologies complex in Ridgeland for long term leases as the new headquarters for the Department of Revenue.

The DOR’s lease on the metal warehouse e it has occupied in Raymond for more than 15 years expires at the end of June 2014. State officials want to begin relocating the agency by spring 2014.

Read the Feb. 8 issue of the Mississippi Business Journal for comprehensive coverage of this issue



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