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Cousins Properties Closes Sale of Assets in Uptown Charlotte

Zacks Equity Research

Cousins Properties Incorporated CUZ recently announced that it has completed the sale of two of its assets in Uptown Charlotte, the central business district of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Particularly, the company completed the sale of Hearst Tower, an office tower in Uptown Charlotte to Truist Financial Corporation, for a gross price of about $455.5 million. The property comprises 966,000-square-foot of space. The deal was announced on Dec 11, 2019 with no changes in the terms of transactions since then.

Moreover, Cousins Properties sold off its interest in another office property in Uptown Charlotte, Gateway Village, to its joint venture partner for about $52.2 million. The proceeds from the sale of its stake in this property, spanning an area of about one million square foot, resulted in 17% internal rate of return for Cousins Properties on its invested capital. The terms of the transaction remained unchanged from when it was earlier announced in early February this year.

With the conclusion of these two transactions and the one in Woodcrest, NJ, the company garnered proceeds of about $533 million in the first quarter of 2020. Moreover, the company informed about its liquidity position stating it has more than $1.1 billion of available liquidity comprising of $1 billion of undrawn credit facility and about $115 million in cash.

Per management, the company continues to bank in this high-growth core Sun Belt city of Charlotte, with ownership of premium office assets which is expected to be value accretive for its shareholders.

The company’s enhanced focus in the Sun Belt region is driven by the fact that the region has been experiencing a favourable migration trend lately with high demand for office space and a pro-business environment.

Cousins Properties already has significant presence in the best urban sub-markets in each city. It is further bolstering its portfolio with trophy asset acquisitions and opportunistic developments in high-barrier-to-entry sub-markets in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Phoenix and Tampa. These efforts bode well for long-term growth.

Over the past year, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have declined 24.1%, as against its industry's decline of 15.9%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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