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Cousins Hires First Community Events Organizer

Atlanta Office
Cousins Properties Community Engagement Manager Tashe Woods

Cousins Properties is ripping a page from the hotel and apartment playbook by give its customers activities besides work to do at its office properties.

Cousins has tapped Tashe Woods as the firm's first-ever community engagement manager. Woods will coordinate events, seminars and services for tenants in Cousins' 7.3M SF Metro Atlanta office empire.

The move is the latest volley in the war for talent raging across the real estate landscape, in everything from apartments and hotels to even warehouses, as companies not only look to their physical space as a way to recruit new workers, but also to retain them once they are on the payroll.

“We're kind of seeing the world evolve from just being able to do an ice cream social or a holiday party for tenants. You got to do more to activate your tenants,” Cousins Managing Director Matt Mooney said. “We're seeing a shift to where office buildings have to deploy a lot of the same strategies that the hospitality industry has been using years. And the coworking industry has been doing this for a while.”

The band Matrimonious headlined Cousins' "Buckhead Block Party" last month, an event held for the firm's tenants at Terminus.

Woods held a similar position with Zeller Realty Group at the firm's 101 Marietta St. office tower in Downtown Atlanta. With Cousins, Woods plans to create a series of intangible amenities for the office tenants: everything from discounting programs with retailers to wellness programs, educational events and larger social networking opportunities, Mooney said.

Other industries have been adopting this philosophy for some time. In 2018, apartment giant Cortland hired a former Atlanta Falcons executive as the firm's first chief experience officer to create programs and amenities for its renters. Even warehouse landlords are adding amenities more commonly seen in offices and apartments to help companies retain their workers.

Cousins getting into the social programming act represents the continued shift that many office landlords have from simply being a company that provides four walls and a roof to tenants to one being more active in the war for talent.

It is likely not the last landlord to create a tenant engagement position. Piedmont Office Real Estate Trust Executive Vice President George Wells said his firm has been eyeing a comprehensive concierge service at its properties.

“I think because our tenants are in a war for talent, and they're trying to use their real estate as a vehicle to recruit and retain employees, this phenomenon is not going to change,” Mooney said. “For us, this is a way to enhance the value proposition we offer tenants.”