19-story tower will rise at Newport Center

The Irvine Co. plans to expand its Newport Center headquarters by adding a 19-story tower to its complex there, a news release said last week.

Construction on the building at 520 Newport Center Drive is expected to begin early next year and be completed by the end of 2014. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects of New York designed the roughly 300,000-squre-foot tower.

The firm's I.M. Pei is perhaps best-known for designing the glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Architect William Pereira's original 1960s Irvine Ranch master plan included the first concept for the tower, the news release said.

520 Newport Center Drive will join two other company towers, which are about 120,000 square feet each, Irvine Co. spokesman Mike Lyster wrote in an email. About 250 employees work from 550 Newport Center Drive, while neighboring 500 Newport Center is leased to other companies, including Bank of America and Pacific Trust Bank.

Irvine Co., which owns Fashion Island and Irvine Spectrum, and developed Irvine's master plan in the 1960s, operates from the Newport Center complex and University Research Park in Irvine. Retail, office and apartment divisions of the company moved to Irvine in 2004, the release said.

Lyster said he didn't know which divisions of the company will be housed in the new building.

"We plan to evaluate our space needs and whether part of the new building could be leased to other companies," he said.

The new building will follow a spate of Newport Center construction projects, including the Newport Beach Civic Center and an ongoing expansion of Fashion Island.

"Similar to PIMCO, which is expanding their Newport Center presence with the building of their new headquarters at 650 Newport Center Drive, our long-term desire is to maintain our corporate headquarters and operations here in Newport Center," Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren said in a statement.


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