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ATLANTA-Cousins Properties Inc. on Monday reported 71% higher funds from operations for the second quarter compared with the same period last year, though its first-half results were 12% lower than in 2007. FFO to common stockholders for the three months ending June 30 was $16.1 million or 31 cents per share, compared with $9.4 million or 18 cents in last year’s second quarter.

Through the first six months of this year, Atlanta-based Cousins reported FFO of $29.9 million or 58 cents per share, down from $33.9 million or 63 cents per share through the first half of 2007. Net income was $2.9 million for the second quarter and $4.8 million for the first half of 2008.

“With economic conditions continuing to deteriorate, leasing remains a top priority for us, and our team is looking for distressed transactions where we can use our expertise to create value for our shareholders,” Tom Bell, chairman and CEO of Cousins, stated in a release. He added that sales of entitled land to users or other developers continues to be a bright spot for its business, even though it is often overlooked.

Operating highlights for Cousins’ second quarter include the $8.5-million sale of two tracts totaling 70 acres at Jefferson Mill Business Park, generating FFO of approximately $748,000, plus an agreement to sell another 53 acres at Jefferson Mill and 44 acres at King Mill Distribution Park for an aggregate price of $10.1 million, closing by the end of 2009. The company also sold a 28-acre parcel adjacent to its Avenue at Forsyth lifestyle center in north Atlanta for $17.6 million, generating FFO of approximately $3.4 million.

Last week, Cousins announced that it completed the sale of 120 remaining residential condominium units at 50 Biscayne, a 54-story structure in Miami, for $30.3 million. The 528-unit luxury condo tower is a joint venture between Cousins and Miami-based Related Group.

Cousins also stated in its latest earnings report that its office portfolio was 93% leased at midyear, while its retail holdings were 91% leased and its industrial buildings were 40% leased. The company had seven office and retail projects under development and redevelopment as of June 30, totaling 3.8 million sf, along with two multifamily projects with more than 200 units. The total cost of these projects is expected to be $957 million, with completion scheduled over the next three years.

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