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IRVINE : Tower Rising in Irvine Center

October 27, 1985

Construction is under way on University Tower, the only office building planned in the 55-acre University Town Center mixed-use development adjacent to the University of California's Irvine campus. Completion is expected in mid-1986.

The $26-million, 200,000-square foot tower will be a key element in the center, which will offer a variety of restaurants, shops, support services, a six-screen cinema and a hotel, as well as 3,000 homes and apartments in several styles and price ranges.

Office tenants will be able to take advantage of numerous facilities of the 12,000-student university directly across Campus Drive and linked by a pedestrian bridge. They will include an executive fitness program, cultural activities and the university's library, computer and research facilities, according to the office building's developers.

The first phase of the center, called The Marketplace, has been built; several shops and the cinema are open. Construction of the second phase is scheduled to start soon. The all-suites hotel planned adjacent to the tower will be designed for business travelers and contain dining facilities and fully equipped meeting rooms.

The tower is a joint venture of Davison & Ferguson Investment Developers, Irvine, and ICM Property Investors Inc. of New York City, with construction funding by First National Bank of Chicago.

Alan Davison, of the development group, noted that the center's location is "near the heart of the Irvine business district and less than 5 minutes drive from John Wayne Airport.

"There is a large greenbelt and a major wild bird sanctuary between the two areas, setting University Town Center apart from the hectic pace of the business district while having almost immediate access to it." The Town Center is a project of the Irvine Co., whose Sam Haynes, senior director of marketing and sales in the Commercial Office Division, said:

"University Town Center will be greatly enhanced by having an office building of the quality of University Tower. First-class office space has always been an important aspect of our commercial plans for this development in order to make the center a complete community offering a wide range of facilities and services."

The tower, designed by the Los Angeles office of WZMH Group Inc., comprises nine stories of office space above a ground floor containing 16,000 square feet of retail space.

The lobby will be finished in cream-colored Italian marble with an accent grid and trim of red Italian marble, providing a transition from the surrounding Marketplace and the building's own retail area to the offices above.

A special feature will be a computerized directory system in the lobby that, in addition to listing building tenants, can be used for announcing events in the center, showing maps of the center and locating other facilities there.

The retail ground floor will extend beyond the upper building onto the plaza, creating seven terraces for the second-floor and single-story elements at the pedestrian level. Other features of the tower will be 30,000 square feet of low-cost tenant storage space and free tenant parking.

Dillingham Construction Co. is the general contractor. Iliff, Thorn & Co. is the exclusive leasing agent for the office tower and Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services performs the same function for the retail facilities.

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