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IRVINE, CA-Wachovia Corp. has signed a lease for 25,400 sf of regional headquarters space at 2211 Michelson Dr., a joint venture office development of Hines and Crescent Real Estate Equities that is a LEED-certified tower due to be completed in the spring. The deal, which calls for Wachovia to rent the entire second floor of the 266,000-sf office tower, also includes a ground floor retail banking location and landmark signage.

Wachovia intends to occupy the building later this year, according to Doug Holte, western regional partner and director of Hines’ Orange County and San Diego operations. Wachovia chose the 2211 Michelson space because the diversified financial services company views Orange County as “a key expansion market,” according to Frank Newman III, chief operating officer of Wachovia’s Western Banking Group.

Newman says that other factors in choosing the building were its strategic location and convenience for employees, along with its status as the first building pre-certified by the US Green Building Council in California for its LEED-CS (core and shell) designation. Terms of the Wachovia lease were not disclosed, but asking rates for class A space in the airport submarket were about $3 per sf per month at the end of 2006.

Wachovia was represented by Webber Beall and Justin Collins of Lincoln Property Co. Commercial Inc., with Hines and Crescent represented by Robert Thagard of Orion Property Partners. The financial services company’s lease follows news in recent months that Pathway Capital Management would be the first tenant in the 2211 Michelson tower, which was designed by Paul Danna of DMJM’s Los Angeles office.

Pathway, which creates and manages specialized private equity funds for institutional investors worldwide, has signed for 37,250 sf in a long-term deal that will put the private equity fund manager into the entire ninth floor and a portion of the eighth floor of the 12-story tower.

The 2211 Michelson project is located within the original Koll Center Irvine Southwest Campus east of John Wayne Airport. It is part of a 75-acre extended campus that includes its neighbors in Von Karman Towers, Lakeshore Towers and the Irvine Towers.

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