Cousins has a successful track record of selecting development sites in areas poised for growth, and the 290 acres of Wildwood Office Park fronting the Chattahoochee River were no exception. During the project's pre-development phase, Cousins established several features that distinguished the project from competitors:
Environmentally-friendly land development: The project location and site arrangements were made in concert with land features. Parking decks were benched into hillsides to minimize visual impact and excavation, and building sites were shifted to preserve trees. As a result, the project received an Environmental Improvement Grand Award from The Associated Landscape Contractors of America.
Commitment to quality: Cousins established a quality-driven protocol for design and construction practices - many of which have been adopted as industry standards.
Cousins delivered the complex project on-time and on-budget, and as a result IBM approached the company about becoming a joint venture partner to continue development of Wildwood - a relationship that began in 1985 and has not only continued, but also expanded to other locations beyond Georgia. Additionally, Cousins' expertise and successful partnership with IBM attracted Coca-Cola Enterprises, General Electric, Georgia Pacific and other regional, national and international companies as tenants at Wildwood Office Park.
Although Wildwood's major focus was as an office park, it was originally envisioned as a mixed-use development. The partnership carefully sold land tracts and outparcels to developers for a Hilton Garden Hotel, retail and restaurants, and a 53-acre residential development inclusive of single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums. In addition, Cousins developed the gated luxury residential community River's Call, featuring million-dollar classic country homes unmatched in the metro area.
Together, Cousins and IBM grew Wildwood from a concept to 300 acres of one of Atlanta's first true live, work, play developments - before the concept was mainstream. In 2004, Cousins completed the largest project sale in Atlanta history at $420 million for six Wildwood Office Park office buildings and eight ground leases, at which time the property was 96 percent leased. The sale supported Cousins' stance that focusing on high quality assets in prime locations is a strategy that continues to deliver exceptional value for its shareholders.