Breaking Ground: 1958 –1967
In 1958, a 26-year-old Tom Cousins made a fateful decision: Leave his position as Vice President of Sales for Knox Homes and start his own residential real estate business. With his father Ike by his side, Cousins Properties was born. Early on, the Company developed single family residential communities, starting with a tract of land and a then-unique model home strategy to lure buyers. The Company went public in 1962 and that cash infusion pushed the company to expand into condominiums and townhomes by 1964, the same year Cousins was named the largest homebuilder in Georgia. The Company started its first office building – The Piedmont-Cain Building in downtown Atlanta – in 1965.
The next year saw the beginning of three of the Company’s notable early projects: Cross Creek Apartments, Interstate North Office Park and The Decks, an ambitious play to remake downtown Atlanta’s rail yards. Cross Creek’s selling point was the adjacent golf course (also developed by Cousins) and its success led to a string of Cousins-developed communities featuring strong recreational components, most notably the still-popular Indian Hills Golf Club and neighborhood in Cobb County, north of Atlanta. The Company also began its first retail project during that period – Cambridge Square on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.
By the end of its first decade, Cousins Properties had established itself as an emerging leader in the real estate business in a number of eastern seaboard markets. But as it entered 1968, the Company was poised to make an even larger impact on its hometown of Atlanta.