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IRVINE, CA-Accounting and business advisory firm Grant Thornton has signed a $5.5-million lease extension and expansion to remain at the Irvine Center Towers (ICT) complex through 2013, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Under the terms of the lease, Grant Thornton will move from its 10,739-sf Orange County office at 18300 Von Karman Ave., where it has been for the past 18 years, to 17,050 sf at adjacent 18400 Von Karman building on Jan. 1. Both buildings are part of the four 11-story, blue quartz and black glass office buildings making up the nearly 900,000-sf Irvine Center Towers office campus at Von Karman Avenue and Michelson Drive near the John Wayne Airport.

Mark McAdams and David Dowd in the Irvine office of C&W, along with Mitchell Barnett in the firm’s New York office, represented the tenant. Greg May and David Girty of Transwestern Commercial Services represented the landlord.

May notes that Grant Thornton was one of the original tenants at Irvine Center Towers and has grown significantly over the years. According to Don Dahl, tax partner in Grant Thornton’s local office, the firm’s latest expansion not only accommodates its existing staff, but will accommodate future growth that Grant Thornton anticipates as a result of growing demand for its services among middle-market companies. Mark Baggason, Grant Thornton’s Southern California managing partner, notes that the company is the nation’s fifth largest accounting firm and that the US operation of Grant Thornton International posted a record revenue increase during the past year, growing 25% to $459 million.

Irvine Center Towers is jointly owned by Cigna Investment Management and Chicago-based Transwestern Investment Co. Built in phases between 1983 and 1988, the complex is currently 88% leased to such tenants as Union Bank, New Century Mortgage, Pfizer Inc., Sprint Telecommunications, and Lincoln Financial.

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