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ATLANTA-American Cancer Society has signed a 274,000-sf lease at Inforum, an office building at 850 Williams St. owned by locally based Cousins Properties Inc.

American Cancer Society will use the space to house its South Atlantic division, which is currently located at Lenox Park, and its international headquarters, which currently occupies 165,000 sf at 1599 Clifton Rd. near Emory University. The building is under contract to be sold to Emory University.

The society will occupy two floors at the 994,000-sf Inforum. The lease brings the building to 98% leased. John Shlesinger, Sam Holmes and Anne Lofye, of CB Richard Ellis, represented American Cancer Society. Walter Fish and Scott Rees, of Cousins, represented the landlord in the transaction. To make room for the society, BellSouth Corp. has agreed to terminate its lease on a full floor of the building and pay a termination fee of $3.6 million. “Practically any part of Metro Atlanta would have been thrilled to land the American Cancer Society. The competition among submarkets was fierce,” said Larry Gellerstedt, president of Cousins’ office/multifamily division, in a released statement.

Matt Gove, Cousins’ director of corporate communications, tells GlobeSt.com that, as a landlord, it’s important to have an organization like American Cancer Society to choose a Cousins-owned building. “It’s also very important for Downtown Atlanta to have a group like the Cancer Society to relocate here,” Gove says. “It speaks volumes about the momentum building in Downtown.”

The lease is the latest in a string of activity in Downtown activity for Cousins. Last week, the company announced that it had contracted to buy Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Inc.’s 1.2-million-sf, 20% occupied 191 Peachtree Tower for $153 million. Cousins plans to relocate its headquarters to the building during the first half of 2007. Last month, a partnership between Cousins and the Bank of America Corp. agreed to sell the 55-story Bank of America Plaza for $436 million to an affiliate of Los Angeles-based BentleyForbes, as GlobeSt.com previously reported.

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