Update: Transfer of Cousins' Unit to C&W Good Move for Both Firms

Cushman & Wakefield's acquisition of Cousins Properties third-party Client Services Group, located in Atlanta and Dallas, is a strategic move for both companies.

The just-announced acquisition by Cushman & Wakefield of Cousins Properties’ Client Services Group, with offices in Atlanta and Dallas, seems to be a good fit for both companies’ strategies.

The transaction will move up to 128 Cousins professionals to Cushman’s Investor Services and Leasing groups, where they will continue to provide third-party services. Cousins Properties will continue to own and operate its fee business that is not associated with the Client Services Group.

Genesis Capital L.L.C., of Atlanta, acted as financial advisor to Cousins Properties, and King & Spalding provided legal counsel.

“Our strategic plan identifies cities throughout the world where our focus is to provide a consistent service mix and establish recurring long-term revenue,” Glenn Rufrano, president and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, told Commercial Property Executive. “This acquisition fits well with both objectives. Dallas and Atlanta are markets, along with others, that we will continue to strengthen with recurring income streams, like property management, that complement our other business lines.”

In Cousins’ second-quarter earnings call on Aug. 1, president & CEO Larry Gellerstedt said, “Our strategy for Cousins is threefold: simple platform, trophy assets and opportunistic investments. We’ve noted before that our portfolio will be increasingly comprised of Class A office assets that are well-placed within high-growth Sun Belt markets where our expertise and long-term relationships are competitive advantages.”

Just last week, CPE reported on Cousins’ acquisition by foreclosure sale of 2100 Ross Ave. in Dallas, an 844,000-square-foot, Class A office building in downtown  Dallas’ Arts District, for a net price of $59.2 million. Cousins had previously acquired a $10 million B-note backed by the building in an off-market transaction. The price Cousins paid for the 1982-vintage tower was about $70 per square foot, versus an estimated replacement cost of $325–$350 per square foot.

The acquisition of Cousins’ Client Services Group, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Steve Everbach, senior managing director – market leader in Dallas, will add about 6.1 million square feet and about 75 employees to Cushman’s Dallas-area portfolio. The Dallas operation will now manage and lease more than 15 million square feet of office and industrial space, including prestigious office buildings like Lincoln Centre, Williams Square and Bank of America Plaza.

The Atlanta office, Everbach continued, will add about 50 people and 3 million square feet, resulting in a total of more than 11 million square feet.