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Cousins Properties Expands Lease With Amazon in Austin Property

Zacks Equity Research

Cousins Properties CUZ has reached 98% leasing for its development — Domain 10 — in Austin, TX. This comes after the company signed a lease expansion with Amazon AMZN for an additional 104,000 square feet of space. Thus, the e-commerce giant will now occupy 249,000 square feet at the 300,000-square-foot development for its tech hub.

Domain 10, a 15-story class “A” podium-style office building in the middle of The Domain's established mixed-use community in Austin, will likely be delivered in third-quarter 2020. It is one of the four new landmark towers at the north end of Alterra Parkway.

Notably, The Domain in Austin is a high-density office, retail, and residential center, located on Northwest Austin’s high-tech corridor. It is owned and operated by a number of real estate companies, including REITs like Simon Property Group SPG. In fact, Tier REIT, which Cousins acquired this June, is into developing the project together with Endeavor Group.

Office-space demand has been rising at The Domain and as a result, Cousins Properties’ 1.9-million-square-foot Domain portfolio is now more than 99% leased. Facebook FB also has leased floors in the larger complex.

Notably, mixed-use developments reduce the distance between housing, workplaces, retail businesses, and other amenities and destinations. Hence, such development enables companies to grab the attention of people who prefer to live, work and play in the same area, thus resulting in solid demand for each property types.

Cousins Properties is well poised to excel, backed by its premium portfolio and expertise in the development, acquisition, leasing and management of Class A office towers in high-growth Sun Belt markets, amid solid growth opportunities in the dynamic submarket.

The company’s presence in fast-growing Sun-Belt market will likely boost rent and top-line growth over the long run. In addition, the merger with TIER REIT will improve its market scale, and is anticipated to offer operational and leasing synergies. A disciplined balance sheet, with ample liquidity, will enable it to leverage on improving market fundamentals and raise operational efficiency. However, the company is witnessing higher construction activity in its markets. This will accelerate office-property supply, which might hinder rent and occupancy growth prospects.

Cousins Properties currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). In the year-to-date period, shares of the company have underperformed the industry. While the stock has gained 18.4%, the industry has increased 25.1% during this period. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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