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SAN DIEGO-The Irvine Co. is adding former Equity Office Properties’ managing director Brittain Cheney to its San Diego payroll. Cheney, who used to oversee EOP’s Silicon Valley region, will now serve as the vice president of leasing for San Diego, an area in which the Irvine Co. has recently been expanding its office portfolio.

Cheney’s new duties will include overseeing the leasing team that is responsible for One America Plaza, Symphony Towers, Wells Fargo Plaza, 225 Broadway, 101 West Broadway and 501 West Broadway – the firm’s class A high rises in Downtown San Diego.

Cheney’s leasing responsibilities extend beyond the Downtown area. Cheney and his team will also preside over various other office properties throughout the Mission Valley, Sorrento-Mesa, Del Mar Heights and the University Towne Center submarkets, where the firm recently purchased 22 office buildings that totaled 2.5 million sf.

In addition to these projects and the mid-rise and campus-style office properties the firm owns in the La Jolla and Sorrento Mesa areas, the Irvine Co. is also working on a new office tower in Downtown. The 34-story, 680,000-sf marble office tower, whose construction commencement is slated for mid-2008, will go up on the corner of Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway. The Irvine Co. has not revealed the cost of the property, but based on comparisons with other recent projects, it may surpass $300 million.

Henry N. Cobb, co-founder of New York-based Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, has been signed on to design the structure. At buildout, the tower will boast the most square feet of any office tower in the city’s core. Plans call for the building to meet energy-efficiency standards set by the US Green Building Council.

As for the personnel news, it comes on the heels of the announcement in June that longtime company exec and vice chairman Michael D. McKee would become the Irvine Co.’s CEO, the first person to hold the title at the company in the 30 years since chairman Donald Bren took the reins of the firm. According to an earlier report by GlobeSt.com, McKee long served as No. 2 to chairman Bren, the Irvine Co.’s sole shareholder, who says that the new title reflects a need to adjust the company’s management structure.

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