Cousins/Hines Out of Georgia Tech Tower?
Portman Properties has been selected to develop the new Georgia Tech tower. At least according to one of the contenders for that assignment. Cousins Properties CEO Larry Gellerstedt made a stunning disclosure during his company's earnings call with analysts this week: The Cousins/Hines Interests JV pursuing the assignment to develop Tech's High Performance Computing Center (here) has lost out to Portman Holdings. When asked by a Wells Fargo analyst about an update on the 600k-plus SF tower project, Larry responded, "We were not successful in getting that project. Georgia Tech is moving ahead with Portman properties is our understanding." Calls to Cushman & Wakefield's Tony Zivalich, who is handling the RFP for Tech, and to Portman Holdings were not returned as of press time.
If it turns out to be accurate, this would be a huge return for Portman to the Atlanta skyline, especially so soon after naming Hunter Richardson (here) as EVP of development. Hunter, the mastermind behind OliverMcMillan's rebranding and rescue of Buckhead Atlanta, was tapped in March to lead Portman's renewed domestic development efforts, including opportunities in its own backyard. It emerged that the Tech mixed-use project was down to two finalists some weeks ago—the JV between Cousins and Hines versus Portman. While no official word has emerged from any parties, Cousins execs at least feel they're out of the running.
But that doesn't mean Cousins is without opportunities. Larry outlined some other projects in his call:
- Larry says Cousins is still in talks with an unidentified "corporate user" that "has been widely reported in the press for a new build-to-suit Midtown tower. He's likely referring to NCR, and offered that a new facility could break ground Q1 2016. "The building's actual design and size of this landmark project are still evolving," he says.
- Cousins also is pursuing a $70M build-to-suit with an unnamed tenant in an unspecified market. The project, in a 50/50 JV with the customer, would give Cousins long-term operating control of the facility once complete. "For economic incentive purposes, we are not yet in a position to disclose the customer's name or the market," Larry told analysts, but added it could break ground Q2 2016.
- Cousins expects to earn $1M for its help in building Genuine Parts new HQ in Wildwood. The land sale for the 150k SF HQ—next to Genuine Parts' shared service support building in Wildwood—netted a gain of $810k for Cousins.