Tom Cousins

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Tom Cousins
Tom Cousins.jpg
BornDecember 7, 1931
Alma mater University of Georgia
Occupation(s)Real Estate Developer, Philanthropist, Sports Supporter
Known forOwning the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Flames
SpouseAnn Cousins

Thomas Grady Cousins (born December 7, 1931) is a real estate developer, sports supporter and philanthropist, primarily based in Atlanta, Georgia. Cousins was a leader in shaping the skyline in Atlanta, [1] and he purchased and brought the Atlanta Hawks to the city.


Cousins is also known for his community redevelopment and his desire to help local neighborhoods. In 1995, he purchased the historic East Lake Golf Club with the intent that its profits would go back to help the local East Lake community. [2] Cousin's model of community redevelopment is now being implemented in cities all over the country through a program he founded to replicate the East Lake model called Purpose Built Communities. [3]

Commercial career

Cousins graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in 1952 from the Terry College of Business at The University of Georgia in Athens. He and his father started their real-estate company in 1958. During the 1960s, Tom Cousins moved from real-estate to property development and sports franchising. [4]

He developed buildings such as the CNN Center, the Omni Coliseum, 191 Peachtree Tower, the Pinnacle Building in Buckhead and the first phase of the Georgia World Congress Center. [5] He and competitor John Portman completely remade downtown Atlanta in the 1970s and 1980s.

He also helped revive and redesign the home course of golfing great Bobby Jones, East Lake Golf Club, which had fallen into disrepair. He hired Rees Jones (no relation to Bobby) to redesign the golf course, which has since hosted the PGA Tour's season ending Tour Championship several times, and become one of the leading golf courses in Atlanta. Cousins and his family financed the project to the tune of about $25 million. [6] [7] This was part of a greater revitalization of the East Lake Meadows housing project in the East Lake neighborhood around the golf course.

He retains air rights over the CNN Center parking deck in Atlanta's massive railroad gulch.

He stepped down as head of Cousins Properties in January 2002.

Philanthropic works

In 1995 Cousins founded the East Lake Foundation in Atlanta. [8] The Foundation partnered with the Atlanta Housing Authority [5] to build a mixed-income apartment block in a local low-income area with a high crime rate and put additional resources into education options and job provision for the tenants. Columnist Leonard Pitts Jnr. noted that these changes saw "violent crime down 96 percent" and "78 percent of kids passing the state math test when only 5 percent could do it before". [8]

Based on the results of the East Lake Foundation project, Cousins, with partner Warren Buffett, created Purpose Built Communities, an organization focused on supporting other communities working to replicate the successful community development seen in Atlanta. Purpose Built Communities currently partners with 13 other communities in the United States. [9]

Sporting franchises

Cousins helped to restore East Lake Golf Club which is now the permanent home of the Tour Championship East Lake Golf Club TOUR Championship.JPG
Cousins helped to restore East Lake Golf Club which is now the permanent home of the Tour Championship

In April 1968, Cousins purchased the NBA's St. Louis Hawks basketball team and moved them to Atlanta. At the time Atlanta did not have a major-league caliber arena, but Cousins was building a local arena complex. [10] Cousins also owned the Atlanta Flames until he sold them in 1980 for approximately $16 million to a consortium from Calgary. [11] He purchased the original Atlanta Chiefs soccer club of the North American Soccer League from the Braves in 1973, during this time they were renamed the Atlanta Apollos.

In 1993 Tom Cousins was the recipient of the Bill Hartman Award which recognises former varsity athletes from the University of Georgia who have demonstrated excellence in their profession. [12] On March 8, 2010, Cousins was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Atlanta Sports Awards for his role in promoting sports in Atlanta. [13]

In 1995 Cousins purchased East Lake Golf Club and restored it to its former glory. He also helped to establish East Lake as the permanent home of the TOUR Championship which is the season ending tournament for the PGA TOUR. [14] Profits from East Lake Golf Club go to the East Lake Foundation which in turn goes to help the East Lake Community.

Awards & honors

Further reading

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  1. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 12, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. Cousins, Thomas G. (September 13, 2013). "Thomas Cousins: The Atlanta Model for Reviving Poor Neighborhoods". Wall Street Journal via
  3. Davis, Eva; Leader, Resident; Community, East Lake. "History". Purpose Built Communities.
  4. Miller, Steven P. (April 8, 2009). Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South . University of Pennsylvania Press. p.  169. ISBN   9780812241518 via Internet Archive. Tom Cousins.
  5. 1 2 Communications, Emmis (May 8, 2006). "Atlanta Magazine". Emmis Communications via Google Books.
  6. "Page Not Found" (PDF). Archived from the original on February 17, 2010.{{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  7. City Park New Orleans City Park NOLA]
  8. 1 2 "A mixed-income housing miracle Leonard Pitts Jr., 8 March 2010, accessed 15 March 2010".
  9. "Our Network". Purpose Built Communities.
  10. Marecek, Greg (July 8, 2006). Full Court: The Untold Stories of the St. Louis Hawks. Reedy Press. ISBN   9781933370033 via Google Books.
  11. Staudohar, Paul D.; Mangan, J. A. (July 8, 1991). The Business of Professional Sports. University of Illinois Press. ISBN   9780252061615 via Google Books.
  12. "Bill Hartman Award accessed 15 March 2010". Archived from the original on February 6, 2010.
  13. Tom Cousins gets Lifetime Achievement honor in Atlanta Business Chronicle March 3 2010, accessed 15 March 2010
  14. Shop, Golf. "History". East Lake Golf Club.
  15. "AFP Greater Atlanta Chapter, November 3, 2015 National Philanthropy Day Recap - AFP GA, Greater Atlanta Chapter". Archived from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  16. Mobley, Chuck. "Civil rights icon, Atlanta developer will share stage at Feb. 11 GHS gala". Savannah Morning News.
  17. "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  18. Hoffman, Alexander Von (August 8, 2004). House by House, Block by Block: The Rebirth of America's Urban Neighborhoods . Oxford University Press. p.  192. ISBN   978-0-19-514437-6 via Internet Archive. Tom Cousins.