Reaching New Heights: 1978 –1987
Concurrently with the Wildwood boom, Cousins opted in 1986 to become a real estate investment trust (REIT) and in 1987, announced plans to develop One Ninety One Peachtree Tower with Houston-based Hines, still widely regarded as one of the finest office towers in the Southeast. Like the early 1970s, it seemed that the Company’s fortunes were continually on the rise.
One Ninety One Peachtree Tower
This downtown building kicked off Atlanta’s trophy tower period, when at least six dramatic skyscrapers – including SunTrust Plaza, Bank of America Plaza and Concourse V and VI – were delivered in a four year span.
BANK OF AMERICA
The 1,023-foot tall skyscraper was completed in 1992 and is America’s tallest outside of New York City and Chicago. The Company (with partner Bank of America) sold it in 2006.
Cousins’ activity between 1988 and 1992 reads like the Top 10 hits list of Southeastern office projects: One Ninety One Peachtree Tower, Wildwood Plaza and Bank of America Plaza, along with First Union Tower in Greensboro, all delivered during this span. One Ninety One opened 80 percent leased with high-profile tenants like King & Spalding and Wachovia Bank. Its success was followed closely by Wildwood Plaza, an I.M. Pei-designed project that brought innovative design to a natural suburban setting and that also remains today as Cobb County’s largest office building at 700,000 square feet. But as dramatic as these projects are, Cousins’ best known landmark has to be Bank of America Plaza. Started as a partnership between two Atlanta institutions – Cousins and C&S Bank – the 1.25 million-square-foot building is the tallest in America outside New York and Chicago. That distinction came at an important time for Atlanta, which was also emerging on the international scene because of its growing reputation as a headquarters city and the approach of the 1996 Olympic Games. The building continues to be associated with Cousins despite its record breaking $436 million sale in 2006.
Even with the importance of these developments, one of the most lasting events to come from this period was the Company’s acquisition of New Market Companies, one of the country’s fastest growing retail developers. New Market, led by Dan DuPree, had been an early pioneer of the power center concept around the country and gave Cousins a grand reentry into the retail development business. Led by its New Market division, Cousins then spearheaded the development of North Point, a 500-plus acre tract in north Fulton County anchored by a new Homart Development Co. mall. Other Cousins/New Market projects included Perimeter Expo, located adjacent to Perimeter Mall, and Presidential MarketCenter, a Target-anchored power center in the booming northeastern suburbs of Atlanta.