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Cousins Ushers Earth Fare at Emory Point

Zacks Equity Research

Cousins Properties Inc. (CUZ) along with Gables Residential penned a lease deal with Earth Fare for 24,782-square-foot of space in Emory Point Phase II, Atlanta, GA. With the inclusion of Earth Fare – a North Carolina-based organic and natural foods grocer – this Phase II’s retail space is 64.6% leased.

Situated in the Clifton Corridor, Emory Point is a mixed use development project that is nearing completion. The property, placed adjacent to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is close to Emory University and Emory Healthcare. Last year, the company started construction at the Emory Point Phase II that will comprise 307 apartments and 43,000 square feet of retail space. This unit is expected to open early next year.

Notably, in 2012, Cousins Properties accomplished Phase I of Emory Point, which includes 443 apartment units (99% leased) and 80,000 square feet of retail space (90%). It has a diversified tenant roster including LOFT brand of ANN INC. (ANN), CVS Pharmacy of CVS Caremark Corporation (CVS) and Jos. A Bank Clothiers Inc. (JOSB).

We believe that this abovementioned leasing deal is a strategic fit as it will augment Cousins Properties’ strong tenant base and pave the way for rental revenue escalations. Also, from Earth Fare’s view, it complements the grocer’s multi-point entry efforts into the Atlanta market.

Earlier this month, driven by a significant rise in revenues, Cousins Properties reported earnings surprise of 11.8% in first-quarter 2014. Inparticular, this real estate investment trust (:REIT) reported FFO of 19 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2 cents as well as figure by 8 cents.

Cousins Properties currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Note: FFO, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, are obtained after adding depreciation, amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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