Jack B. Key III, a partner in the city’s largest real-estate company, Coldwell Banker/Kennon, Parker, Duncan & Key, said Wednesday he will retire this summer to pursue a variety of personal interests.
“I feel very fortunate that I’ve gotten to the point where I can retire, and I’m looking forward to enjoying some freedom and some more time with my wife (Libbie) and family, and I have some other things that are non-business related that I’m passionate about and that I look forward to doing,” said Key, who plans to keep an office at the Coldwell Banker complex on on Whitesville Road in Columbus.
“This will be sort of my home base, and I look forward to continuing these wonderful relationships, albeit in a different capacity,” he said.
Key, who turns 55 in October, launched a real-estate firm with fellow broker Doug Duncan in 1992. They merged it with another company owned by Kelsey Kennon and Dan Parker in 1996 to form an operation that would grow to be the largest in the city.
The company has 160 agents, with sales of about $350 million in 2012, making it the top performer in Coldwell Banker’s Southern region for 12 straight years. That includes 1,500 offices in 14 states and Puerto Rico.
“The 17 years that I’ve been in this partnership have been nothing short of a tremendous blessing for me,” said Key. “My partners are some of the finest men and best business people I’ve ever known. It has been a joy. I’m just ready to make this next move.”
Coldwell Banker/KPDK’s next move is promoting Ed Grifenhagen, associate broker and director of marketing and education, to the fulltime position of director of sales and (agent) development. That becomes effective May 15.
The company also will rely even more on Steve Davis, who was invited to become a partner in 2011 after running his own realty firm for 25 years. He has extensive experience in the rental property business.
“He has been an excellent addition to the leadership of the company,” Key said.
Upon retirement, Key said he will turn his attention to the apartments and rental properties he has accumulated through the years in anticipation for this moment.
He also plans to stay active in a variety of personal activities, including work with the Young Life and Fellowship of Christian Athletes programs, as well as ministries at his place of worship, St. Paul United Methodist Church.
He also expects to spend more time with his two children, Jack and Sally, who are Auburn University students and Young Life leaders. There will also be time for doing things with Brookstone School and Columbus State University. “I think it’s going to be fun and I don’t think there’s going to be any shortage of activity for me,” said Key, who insisted he has “zero interest” in politics.
Key’s community work has included leadership positions with the Columbus Rotary Club, the Columbus Board of Realtors, the Columbus State University Foundation, Historic Columbus Foundation and the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce. He is chairman of the boards at Brookstone School and with SunTrust Bank of West Georgia.
Key’s father, Jack B. Key Jr., was a mechanical engineer with Valley Fir and Redwood Co. and Valley Components, both businesses in Columbus. His late grandfather, Jack B. Key Sr., served as president of the former First National Bank in Columbus.