Cousins Properties, Inc. is selling $224 million in common stock to raise cash mainly to close a $215 million deal on the 30-story Fifth Third Center in Charlotte’s central business district.
Also Tuesday, Cousins announced it has placed Northpark Town Center under contract for $348 million. The development, in the Sandy Springs portion of the Perimeter area, offers a total of 1.5 million square feet in three buildings.
These acquisitions represent a shift in Cousins’ investment strategy. In recent years, Cousins has favored Texas as its growth market and, locally, sold its signature Wildwood development in Cobb County in advance of its move into Buckhead and downtown Atlanta.
Cousins Properties reports that it’s leased 95 percent of the Terminus project in Buckhead, underscoring the reported rebound in metro Atlanta’s office sector.
Rebound is a relative term. Rajeev Dhawan, of Georgia State University, and other economists point to the dearth of commercial construction and bank financing to contend the market has not recovered its pre-recession level.
But there’s no denying that Atlanta was mentioned twice in a generally positive report on commercial real estate issued Tuesday by CBRE Group, Inc.
Cousins Properties, Inc. raised $165.1 million in a stock sale April 12 that shows how one Atlanta-based real estate firm is waging its fight back from the recession.
Cousins intends to use the money from the stock sale to further its expansion into urban markets in Texas. Cousins also plans to redeem $74.8 million of preferred stock, according to Cousins filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cousins, a real estate investment trust, was formed in Atlanta in 1958 and more than two-thirds of its office holdings remain in Atlanta – 5.3 million square feet of the 7.6 million square feet of office space cited in its 2012 annual SEC filing. The remainder of the office space is located in Charlotte, Dallas, and Birmingham.