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Report: Cousins Buying Archdiocese's Midtown Land For Possible Norfolk Southern HQ

Location of the Archdiocese-owned Midtown site that has been recently marketed for sale

Cousins has signed a contract to buy a portion of a prime Midtown development parcel in the shadow of the AT&T Building.

The Atlanta developer is expected to purchase the 4.1-acre site called Ponce and Third, owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta and formerly home to the Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. The ABC also reported that Chicago-based CA Ventures has the other part of the site under contract with plans to develop a residential tower.

Cousins may be attempting to tie up the site to eventually make way for a potential headquarters for railroad giant Norfolk Southern, which is eyeing a move from Virginia to Atlanta. That potential economic development coup, though, could be tied up into the complicated fate of The Gulch, of which Norfolk Southern owns a portion. CIM Group is attempting to garner a massive package of incentives from the city of Atlanta to redevelop the parcel into a mini-city.

Whether Cousins is successful in luring Norfolk Southern to the site or not, the Archdiocese parcel fits the target profile of properties the firm has been looking to invest in going forward: urban sites in high-growth, Sun Belt markets.

Cousins also is still deliberating on whether to start construction on a new office building at Eighth and West Peachtree streets in Midtown, just a few blocks south of the Archdiocese land.

“The Sun Belt has always done very well from a demand perspective,” Cousins Properties newly named CEO Colin Connolly said to Bisnow this week. "But I think the change that is really been hugely positive for Cousins Properties is the urbanization that has taken place in a market like Atlanta."