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Cousins Set to Boost Austin Presence

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Recently, Cousins Properties Incorporated (CUZ - Free Report) began construction at a new Class-A office building – Colorado Tower – in Austin, Texas. The property is believed to be the next high-rise tower in Austin, after Cousins’ Frost Bank Tower which was developed in 2003. The move is part of the company’s efforts to strengthen its footprints in Austin real estate market.

Colorado Tower, centrally located in Downtown Austin’s Warehouse District, will be a 29-story property spanning 371,000 square feet. It will provide a range of upscale facilities and is being constructed under the Austin Energy Green Building 2 star program. The real estate investment trust (REIT) has slated the formal groundbreaking ceremony for Jun 4, 2013, with the tower projected to be completed by Dec 2014.

Notably, Colorado Tower is well-positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the vibrant Downtown Austin market. It is experiencing strong pre-leasing activity, with 2 prominent law firms – DuBois, Bryant & Campbell LLP and Scott, Douglass & McConnico LLP – already in its tenant base. We expect Cousins’ aforementioned endeavor to enhance its top-line growth.

Furthermore, Cousins has been riding on growth trajectory to enhance its presence in Austin real estate market. For over 20 years, the company has its presence in the market with high-end office properties such as Frost Bank Tower and Palisades West. Moreover, last month, Cousins acquired a 434,000 square feet Class-A office property – 816 Congress Avenue – in Downtown Austin for $102.4 million.

Cousins currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, other REITs that are performing better and deserve a look include DCT Industrial Trust Inc. (DCT - Free Report) , Ventas Inc. (VTR - Free Report) and Winthrop Realty Trust , all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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