Cousins' $1B Bet in Texas
Cousins Properties CEO Larry Gellerstedt (center with Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs director Camille Love and local Atlanta artist Maxey Andress at a recent Promenade event) has been saying he loves Texas. Announced late yesterday, the REIT is pumping more than $1B into that market. (And we thought $3 on a lottery scratch off was walking on the wild side.) To that end, Cousins purchased Greenway Plaza, a 10-building, 4.4M SF Texas mixed-use project, and 777 Main, a 980k SF Fort Worth office building, from Crescent Real Estate Holdings for $1.1B. The Texas complex is the single-largest purchase in Cousins' long and storied history.
Larry previously told our Bisnow audiences that the firm was focused more on growth markets like Texas versus its home market in Atlanta. And this is a huge chunk of Texas properties that's more than 90% leased. Larry tells us the acquisition is "being funded with $700M of equity we are raising today and the balance within process sales of some retail centers and some property loans." Cousins also struck a new loan with JPMorgan Chase Bank and Bank of America to draw up to $950M (with a chance to increase that amount by $150M) that will mature within a year of the Fort Worth acquisition, according to docs filed with the SEC. But Larry says that's a "short-term back up bridge" and "may not even be needed." Houston now rivals the size of Cousins' Atlanta portfolio with this purchase.