Over the course of his 28-year career in real estate development and project management, Lance Thomas Davenport has demonstrated the experience, vision, and willingness necessary to do what has never been done before. Principled in environmental leadership and strong design, he co-founded Davenport Worldwide Management, a Georgia-based real estate investment, acquisition, and development firm, with a focus on niche locales within both primary and select secondary markets. Since its founding in 1994, the company has built a global network of relationships in finance, design, construction, and related disciples—completing development projects throughout the U.S., Honduras, Spain, and the U.K. At an estimated value of $1 billion, approximately two dozen projects totaling more than 10 million square feet have been developed by Davenport Worldwide—most notably the first loft condominium in Atlanta, which served as the catalyst for what is now the city’s burgeoning loft condo market. Lance’s pedigree also includes a role as co-founder of a private equity fund, which raised $350M between 2007 and 2008.
As the firm’s CEO, Lance is responsible for overseeing all new projects and business development, providing technical insight, writing proposals, and recruiting new business. His role was particularly challenging in 1997 when he took on the challenge of Walker Street Lofts. Despite obstacles to find a lender for the innovative endeavor, the group succeeded in developing the very first loft condos and went on to consult on the design and redevelopment of the massive, Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, an historic renovation and loft project by one of the largest developers in Atlanta. Davenport Worldwide has since continued taking a proactive approach to development, creating mixed-use projects and livable, sustainable environments designed specifically for the neighborhoods in which they are built.
Whether in land, value-add, or existing in-fill development, Davenport Worldwide's principals and management are united in the firm's commitment to development projects that are tailored to a community rather than imposed upon it. In 2006, they served as part of the development and project team for London’s Ten Trinity Square, which acquired the historic Pinnacle Square Port Authority building for complete renovation and development into an ultra-luxury hotel and branded residences. Lance and his team worked diligently for several years to complete the entitlement and capital structure.
Lance was first inspired to enter real estate development while working on his engineering degree at Tulane University. During his internship at Williams, Russell, and Johnson, he was given the opportunity to work on large projects such as the Georgia Dome. It was then that he began to dream of creating them. He saw that much like a coach or player on a sports team, developers created concepts, too. “Coaches encourage the minds of their players and explore their creativity within a structured environment just as developers do in business—developing neighborhoods and cities within the structures of zoning laws and regulations,” Lance explains. “Following my intuition, understanding the locale, and playing to the strengths of everyone involved helps me to keep up with what is going on and what people are looking for.” Today, Lance stays connected by serving as a chairman on the construction committee and on the principal’s advisory board at Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Georgia.
While his decision to become a real estate developer spawned from his interest in engineering, Lance’s business pedigree came from his parents, who were both entrepreneurs in the restaurant and hospitality industries. His father, Henry “Hank” James Thomas, is a well-known business leader, and was also a civil rights activist and one of the original 13 Freedom Riders who traveled through the South on buses to protest racial segregation.
With all his success, that first loft condominium still serves as a shining point of pride for Lance—and one that solidified his reputation as a visionary who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “can’t.” “Everyone said it couldn’t be done,” Lance shares. “My father read a newspaper article about the lofts, and called and said, ‘I see it, but I don’t believe it.’ I said, ‘I told you.’”
Chief Executive Officer
Davenport Worldwide Development