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Civic San Diego exec goes to JLL

After Jeff Graham steps down from the presidency at Civic San Diego on March 3, he will become senior vice president of the public institutions consulting group at Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based professional services and investment management firm specializing in real estate.

Graham said his duties at the firm will be similar to his role at Civic San Diego, which involved working to create public-private partnerships that could support neighborhood developments. At JLL, he will be based in San Diego and work with public agencies throughout the western United States to establish similar partnerships.

JLL, whose roots date back to London in the 1780s, has 48,000 employees in 1,000 locations in 70 countries, including more than 50 professionals in its offices downtown and near University Towne Center.

The firm's recent local projects include relocating the offices of CSA Travel Protection in Kearny Mesa, and renovating and remarketing The Aventine office and retail complex downtown.

Currently, it is helping market office space in the IDEA District, a five-block area that Civic San Diego was helping develop in East Village.

Graham, who joined Civic San Diego's predecessor agency in 2007 and was named president in 2012, had two broad goals at the agency: to finish its pipeline of downtown projects funded through state redevelopment grants -- in a program that has since been axed by Gov. Jerry Brown, and to find alternate sources of funding for the agency that would allow it to expand its role into the neighborhoods.

Graham said he believes he was successful at moving a number of major projects forward, including redeveloping the old World Trade Center downtown into a center for providing housing and services for the homeless; developing a senior housing project in Logan Heights; beginning the first phase of a plan to renovate the waterfront; and expanding Horton Square.

Under Graham's leadership, Civic San Diego also obtained $35 million worth of federal projects to aid redevelopment plans in outlying neighborhoods, and is competing for $120 million in similar grants this year.

Unlike the state redevelopment funds that the agency had once relied on, this funding won't come with requirements that it be spent on downtown projects.

Graham said he believes the agency complements the work of the city Planning Department.

"Their chief task is going to be to come up with a general plan for the city and zoning plans for the neighborhoods, some of which haven't updated their plans in decades," he said.

Graham said he has no recommendations about who should take his place.

"That's really up to the mayor and council to decide," he said.

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said he was confident that Mayor-Elect Kevin Faulconer, who will take office just as Graham leaves, will find a qualified replacement candidate.

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