An interesting announcement of sorts today from Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, as per Oliver Strand and the New York Times Diner’s Journal:

Doug Zell, the founder of Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, announced that he will share his duties as chief executive with the philanthropist and former real estate developer Robert Buono. Mr. Zell and Mr. Buono will both have the title of Co-C.E.O. in a professional association that Mr. Buono characterizes as a “partnership.”

But both said that Mr. Buono was not investing in Intelligentsia, only contributing his management experience to help the company move forward with stalled expansion plans.

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Mr. Zell and Mr. Buono met when they were undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin, where they were members of the same fraternity.

Speaking with Mr. Strand, Mr. Buono indicated that Intelli’s long-planned roadmap for moving Ecco from Santa Rosa to San Francisco is still in the works, with construction yet to begin on the company’s palatial space in the Protero Hill neighborhood. Strand goes on:

“According to Mr. Buono, the first phase of the Ecco Caffé build-out will begin soon. It’s a part of what Mr. Buono calls “responsible growth” – even though Mr. Buono’s real estate company was responsible for $700 million in development, he said his relationship with Intelligentsia is that of an administrator, not an investor.”

Fascinating stuff here, as that Ecco expansion, once completed, will bring just one more layer of plenty to the unimaginable humongoloid colossus of a coffee scene currently underway in San Francisco. Read the full feature here via the NYT.

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