Times correspondent

FDA Leases Offices: The federal Food and Drug Administration is moving its district office and more than 110 employees from Los Angeles to Orange County.

Attracted by the proximity to the John Wayne Airport and the chance to present a "polished image," the FDA has signed a lease for 40,000 square feet at Newport Gateway's Tower II, one of twin black granite office towers. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.

"We are a government agency and need to present a professional, polished image to our clients and visitors," said Lloyd Lehrer, compliance officer for the FDA.

The agency will house its investigation staff, a compliance department and administrative support team in the new office in Newport Beach. The former Los Angeles office on 1521 W. Pico, near the Los Angeles Convention Center, will be converted into an FDA laboratory site. The new tenant will mean Newport Gateway is now 89% leased.

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