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REIT merger shows Houston goes its own way
With the collapse in oil prices over the past year, Houston is continuing its divergence from the broader U.S. property market, and a recently announced REIT merger is making that split plain.
Cousins Properties and Parkway Properties have agreed to merge their portfolios of Sun Belt office properties and then spin off the Houston assets into a separate company.
“We are giving our investors increased transparency and a choice with respect to allocating capital,” said Jim Heistand, president and CEO of Parkway Properties, in a conference call discussing the merger. Heistand will lead the Houston spinoff, currently called HoustonCo.
Cousins Properties has 13.9 million square feet of office space, with a gross asset value of $3.4 billion, concentrated in Atlanta (44 percent); Houston (40 percent); Charlotte, N.C. (9 percent); and Austin (7 percent). Following the merger and spinoff, Cousins will have 15.8 million square feet of office space, with a gross asset