HOUSTON — Cousins Properties has signed two large lease extensions in Houston totaling 216,000 square feet with Direct Energy and Cox Radio.
“I’m very pleased to announce two significant lease transactions in our Houston portfolio,” said Larry Gellerstedt, president and chief executive officer of Atlanta-based Cousins. “With the execution of Direct Energy and Cox Radio, we have successfully mitigated a substantial portion of our near-term lease exposure in Houston at new rents well above our current in-place rents.”
Direct Energy, the sixth largest customer in Cousins’ Houston portfolio, currently occupies a total of 228,159 square feet of space at Greenway Plaza. 173,760 square feet was set to expire May 2017 and 54,399 square feet was set to expire January 2019. This extension reduces their total lease to 191,893 square feet and extends their maturity to May 2023.
Cox Radio, Inc., a customer at Post Oak Central since 2000, currently occupies 23,864 square feet of space. This extension maintains the same square footage and extends their maturity from September 2015 to March 2021.
Cousins invested heavily in Houston office in 2013 with its $950 million purchase of the 4.4 million square-foot Greenway Plaza office complex and the $233 million purchase of the 1.3-million square-foot Post Oak Central in the Uptown/Galleria market.
Houston is the dominant market in market in the portfolio of Atlanta-based Cousins (stock symbol: CUZ on the New York Stock Exchange.)
When oil prices tumbled – going from over $100 a barrel last summer to around $50 a barrel – some security analysts downgraded Cousins stock, citing its exposure to Houston and energy prices. Since that time Cousins has announced several major office leases and renewals.