Cousins Plans $224M IPO to Buy Parmenter’s Fifth Third Center in Charlotte

Cousins Properties plans to use proceeds of a $224 million initial public offering to cover the $215 million cost of buying the 30-story Fifth Third Center in Charlotte, N.C., from Parmenter Realty Partners.


Cousins Properties Inc. plans to use proceeds of a $224.1 million initial public offering to cover the $215 million cost of buying the 30-story Fifth Third Center in Charlotte, N.C., from Parmenter Realty Partners.

The Class A trophy office tower, located at 201 North Tryon St. in the Uptown submarket of Charlotte, has 697,817 square feet of space and is about 83 percent occupied. McGuire Woods, a law firm, recently extended its lease by10 years, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

Larry Gellerstedt, Cousins President & CEO, called the pending purchase “an exceptional strategic fit for us.”

“We are purchasing this Class A office tower below replacement cost and with a real value creation opportunity through the lease-up of vacant space,” Gellerstadt said in a news release announcing the Atlanta real estate company’s second-quarter earnings.

In a separate release, the company said it was planning on offering 18 million shares of its common stock through Aug. 4 and expected gross proceeds of $224.1 million. Most of the money raised through the IPO will go toward buying the Fifth Third Center, but Cousins noted that any remaining proceeds would be used for general corporate purposes, including acquiring and developing office properties, making other opportunistic investments and repaying debt.

J.P. Morgan is serving as the sole book-running manager for the offering.

Parmenter, a Miami-based real estate investment, management and development firm, bought the trophy tower two years ago from the Bank of America for $163 million through its Parmenter Realty Fund IV. The price the tower is selling for now, at approximately $308 per square foot, is a new record for a Charlotte office property, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

Will Yowell, Jay O’Meara and Patrick Gildea from CBRE represented Parmenter in the sale.

“Fifth Third Center is a premier and iconic asset and was a solid performer in Parmenter Fund IV,” Darryl Parmenter, chairman & CEO of Parmenter Realty Partners, said in a news release Wednesday. “We accelerated our business plan at the property and felt the time was right to sell.”

The firm upgraded the property, including renovating the main lobby, upgrading the elevators and mechanical systems and recommissioning the building’s energy management system.

“Fifth Third Center is considered one of only a handful of AA quality buildings in Uptown Charlotte,” John Davidson, managing principal Southeast Region, said in the release. “During our ownership we restructured the Fifth Third Bank lease and extended the McGuire Woods lease adding significant lease term and value to the property. We also leased approximately 40,000 square feet of new leases, including Winstead PC and Insight Global.”

Also on Wednesday, Parmenter said it was selling Park Central 7-8-9, an 845,919-square-foot Class A office complex in Dallas to an institutional investor for an undisclosed amount. Two weeks ago, it said it was selling the Bank of America Tower, a 42-story, 696,672-square-foot office asset in Jacksonville, Fla., for $88 million to Hertz Investment Group. On July 8, Parmenter said it had sold Two Forest Plaza, a Class A, 196,215-square-foot office building in Dallas to an Encore Enterprises affiliate for an undisclosed amount.

Cousins has been active recently with leasing deals.

“We took advantage of our recovering Sunbelt office markets by signing a significant number of new leases during the second quarter at improving economics to us,” Gellerstedt said in the earnings release.

Cousins announced in late June it had reached a historic high leasing percentage at Terminus, Class A office buildings in the Buckhead submarket of Atlanta. Prince Global Sports took 11,788 square feet at Terminus, relocating its corporate headquarters to Atlanta from New Jersey, the firm stated. Fidelity Investments took 7,861 square feet and Lockton Cos. renewed and expanded its lease.

Analysts with took notice in a July 17 report writing Cousins was “making dedicated efforts to simplify its business by specially targeting trophy assets and opportunistic mixed-use developments in the best urban submarkets.” The report added the “company focuses on increasing the value of its current portfolio by linking long-term deals with high-end tenants.”