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UCLA has acquired the former Westside Pavilion shopping mall, which the university will transform into the UCLA Research Park – bringing together scholars and industry experts from around the world to create a nexus for discovery and innovation that will benefit Southern California and beyond. The 700,000-square-foot property, located 2 miles south of the Westwood campus, will initially host two multidisciplinary research centers: the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at UCLA and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering.

The vast new space, which straddles the southeast and southwest corners of Pico Boulevard and is connected by an enclosed pedestrian bridge over Westwood Boulevard, features a broad metal and glass facade and open areas with 17-foot ceilings, panoramic windows and expansive atriums inside and out. In addition to research labs and offices, the property has the potential for additional uses, including classrooms, lecture halls and event venues.

A fixture of West Los Angeles since its opening in 1985, the Westside Pavilion quickly became a much-visited retail location and gathering spot and continued to evolve over the following three decades. At one time, the site featured a three-level bookstore and multiple movie theaters and appeared as a backdrop to numerous movies and TV shows. Over the past decade, it suffered from a decline alongside other indoor malls across the country, leaving storefronts largely empty.

The new UCLA Research Park is made possible in part by an intended $500 million investment, with $200 million already allocated, from the state of California to establish and fund the immunology and immunotherapy institute at UCLA. The institute is also supported by a group of founding donors from the biotechnology, academic, entrepreneurship and philanthropic communities led by Meyer Luskin, Dr. Gary Michelson, Dr. Eric Esrailian, Dr. Arie Belldegrun, Sean Parker and Michael Milken.

In addition, Google – which previously leased part of the property – helped enable and support UCLA’s acquisition. Favorable real estate market conditions helped create the historic opportunity for the university as well.

The California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy has the potential to reshape the future of science and medicine,” said the institute’s founding donors. “We are proud to join UCLA, UC President Drake, Gov. Newsom and the state Legislature in helping make California a world leader in decoding the still-mysterious workings of the human immune system and translating breakthrough discoveries into lifesaving immunotherapies. Launching a research park that joins biosciences with quantum science and engineering – as well as other emerging technologies, like next-generation artificial intelligence – is a once-in-a-generation event, and we are honored to be a part of it all.”

The acquisition caps a multiyear effort by Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor for health sciences and CEO of UCLA Health, to establish the institute at UCLA and provide it with leading-edge facilities.

UCLA’s goal is to build the immunology equivalent of Silicon Valley in Los Angeles,” said Mazziotta. “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.”

The institute will draw on the expertise of UCLA faculty members, scholars from different higher education institutions, and other leading scientists and practitioners in clinical and biomedical scientific research, including human genetics, genomics, computer science, engineering and information science. Researchers will pursue new tools, treatments and vaccines for cancer, autoimmune and immune deficiency disorders, infectious diseases, allergies, heart conditions, solid organ transplantation and other major health-related issues.

The UCLA Research Park will also be home to the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering, which conducts research in the emerging field of quantum science and technology – including quantum computing, communication and sensing – with the aim of dramatically increasing information processing power by harnessing the unusual behavior of subatomic particles.

This latest major acquisition – UCLA’s third in the past 15 months – is part of a transformative expansion designed to broadly extend UCLA’s top-flight resources and institutional expertise, deepen the campus’ connections to Los Angeles’ diverse and dynamic communities, and meet the growing demand for top-tier higher education across the city and region. Each acquisition has been an adaptive and sustainable development, repurposing existing structures for new uses while avoiding the need for major construction.

In June of this year, UCLA bridged the gap between Westwood and downtown Los Angeles with its purchase of UCLA Downtown, a 334,000-square-foot building in downtown’s Historic Core.

And in September 2022, the university acquired its UCLA South Bay campus, including the 24.5 acres of the former Marymount California University campus in Rancho Palos Verdes and an 11-acre residential site in San Pedro — allowing UCLA to expand its offerings, serve more students and advance the University of California’s 2030 systemwide goals.