Developer C. Michael Davenport and son Chamberlin, 5, stand in the foyer of Technology Center 2, an approximately 38,000-square foot-building that Davenport developed and will finish to meet the needs of the buyer.
He’s a dreamer, a risk taker and an eternal optimist who enjoys putting his dreams into buildings.Read More…
The creator of Prevention Park, developer C. Michael Davenport, has built at the west end of Chamberlin Avenue a new 38,000 square-foot technology center for someone. It sits on 3.2 acres.
“It’s a speculative building, meaning I don’t have a clue who will go in it,” Davenport said. “But I do believe someone will. I go after the technology sector because I believe that’s where the future is.
I don’t know if it will take six months or six years but I believe this parking lot will look just like the one next door – full.”
The adjacent 50,000 square-foot brick structure was also a spec building.
“I know everybody said I was crazy and it would never work,” he said. “But it’s 100 percent leased and I couldn’t be more thrilled and thankful. EDS (Electronic Data Systems, a Ross Perot company) is the major tenant, and First Health is the other. Look at all those cars.
I don’t know who drives them all. But I know those employees are important to Frankfort. They buy groceries, go to restaurants and buy houses and rent apartments.
“I do projects like this to try to recruit some fi rm to our community to create jobs. Most of my career has been devoted toward the creation of jobs. I believe with all my heart the creation of jobs is the healthy way to grow a community.”
In the lobby of Davenport’s new speculative building, a large world map is framed and displayed on a wall. A large photograph of the state Capitol – with people going to the Governor’s Breakfast and colorful hot air balloons tethered on the front lawn on Kentucky Derby Saturday morning – is inlaid in the center of the Brazilian cherry wood floor.
Above the Davenport photograph is a large golden chandelier encircled by nine digital clocks showing the time in Frankfort, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Stockholm, London and Sydney, Australia.
“The world time zone clocks came to me one day on a tractor when I was trying to figure out who my competition is,” Davenport said. “It’s the world. And with satellite technology, anybody that I want in Frankfort can go anywhere on this world map.”
In the conference room, another gold chandelier is over the center of a long table. With the push of a button, a large video screen drops from the top of one wall.
A large-screen TV is mounted on another wall.
“With a few touches of this remote,” Davenport said, “we can watch TV broadcasts from Russia, Korea, South Asia, China and the Middle East.” After a brief demonstration, Davenport said, “I don’t know what they’re saying, but it’s really fascinating to me. We all live on the same planet. I just wish we could all learn how to get along without hating each other.”
The conference room also has a kitchenette.
Right now the office space is one massive, open room – about 36,000 square feet. The sound of smooth jazz from Davenport’s one-man radio station, – WKYL FM, 102.1 – fills the open space when the developer takes visitors on a tour through the building.
In a pyramid ceiling, theatrical lighting shows a lavender outline of the state of Kentucky with a star pointing to the capital city. A break room is large and so are the restrooms.
“I try to do everything first class and professional,” Davenport said. “What’s unique about this place is in the entire structure, there’s not a load-bearing wall, beam or column. That allows total flexibility. They can lay it out anyway they desire.
“If in five, 10 or 15 years they need to revamp, there are no design constraints whatsoever. If they need 50,000 square feet, we can put in a second level. If they want 22 offices built, we will do it that way.”
A recent visitor to Prevention Park asked Davenport about the little white chapel on Chamberlin Avenue, not far from the new technology center.
Davenport explained, saying, “If you take the risks I take, you better have a prayer chapel close by. But I believe in every risk I’ve ever done, and I’ve been blessed. I’m like the kid who plays in the sandbox every day and Prevention Park is my sandbox.
“I’m real proud of this new building. I’m ready to show it to the world. And I think someday, the right people will walk through that front door and say, ‘This is where I want to be, in Frankfort, Ky.’”