UCLA to Turn Vacant Mall Into Research Park

The 700,000-square-foot property will house research centers at UCLA, made possible by a planned $500 million state investment.
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Published on January 5, 2024
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  • UCLA has acquired the former Westside Pavilion shopping mall and plans to develop it into a research park.
  • It will be home to the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at UCLA and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering.
  • The purchase was made possible by donors and the state of California, which has planned to invest $500 million in the development.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has acquired the former Westside Pavilion shopping mall and will develop it into a research park, the university announced Wednesday.

The 700,000-square-foot property, located 2 miles from UCLA's Westwood campus, will be home to two research centers: the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at UCLA and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering.

The acquisition was made possible by a group of founding donors and a planned $500 million investment by the state of California, with $200 million already allocated to establish and fund the immunology and immunotherapy institute.

Google, which previously leased part of the property, assisted in the acquisition, according to UCLA.

"This acquisition will be absolutely transformative for UCLA, our great city, and the world. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature helped make this possible through a generous state investment, and we are deeply thankful for their support," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a press release.

"We will remake the empty former mall into a state-of-the-art hub of research and innovation that will bring scholars from different higher education institutions, corporate partners, government agencies, and startups together to explore new areas of inquiry and achieve breakthroughs that will serve our global society."

Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor for health sciences and CEO of UCLA Health, said that the university's goal is to build the "immunology equivalent of Silicon Valley in Los Angeles."

"Given the university's expertise and state-of-the-art facilities, we are expecting to attract the world's best scientists in immunology and immunotherapy, as well as top students," he said in the release.

Additionally, the research park will include "flexible work areas," including the possibility of the mall's 12-screen multiplex theater being turned into lecture halls or performance spaces for students.

"The research park directly embodies UCLA's strategic priority of expanding scholarship and engagement to benefit the public good," Roger Wakimoto, UCLA's vice chancellor for research and creative activities, said in the release.

"The park's scientific, technological, humanistic, and creative advances will help to promote economic growth throughout the Southern California region and beyond."

This is UCLA's third major acquisition in the past year and a half, including the purchase of the historic Trust Building, a 334,000-square-foot building in downtown Los Angeles in June 2023, and two sites from now-defunct Marymount California University in September 2022.