The rumors are confirmed: The former Westside Pavilion shopping mall has been acquired by UCLA. The school, named the nation’s top public university, has plans to use the 700,000-square-foot property along Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles for the UCLA Research Park.
Students, faculty, and scholars in the fields of immunology and quantum engineering will soon innovate and learn in the former retail venue soon-to-be repurposed into laboratories, offices, classrooms, lecture halls, and event space. The 12-screen cinema, a bygone feature of the shopping mall, will be used by the university as lecture and performing space.
“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,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in a press release.
The three-story, enclosed shopping center, designed by architect Jon Jerde, opened in 1985. In the early 21st century shops started moving out. Hudson Pacific Properties acquired the site in 2018 with the intention of repurposing it. As previously reported by AN, Google signed a 14 year lease to occupy the building as office space.
Among the programming slated to take place in the education facility is clinical and biomedical research to develop treatments and cures for myriad illnesses and diseases, among this cancer, heart conditions, and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, other facilities will accommodate research related to quantum computing.
A substantial amount of work has already taken place to ready the building for conversion. Hudson Pacific Properties and Macerich—the developers UCLA acquired the building from, following a leasing stint by Google—have updated building systems, conducted a seismic retrofit, and added a new window wall and several courtyards, terraces, and patios.
“We look forward to working together post-acquisition on the continued redevelopment of the property to help UCLA realize its full vision for the site,” said Victor Coleman, chairman and CEO of Hudson Pacific in a statement.
“We’re delighted that UCLA will be further developing this state-of-the-art facility to help accelerate transformative research and innovation,” added Scott Foster, Google’s vice president of real estate and workplace services. “Google has called the greater Los Angeles area home for over 20 years, and we saw an opportunity for the space to be better utilized in a way that benefits the broader community.”
A $500 million investment will fund the project. Already, $200 million has been set aside from the state of California to support the medical research. This acquisition follows two others made by UCLA in recent years, both of which elected to reuse buildings rather than build new.