One week after we broke the news, it's now official: UCLA has acquired the former Westside Pavilion shopping mall.

The $700-million deal, formally announced at a press conference on January 2 with California Governor Gavin Newsom, will lead to the conversion of the shuttered mall into UCLA Research Park, a roughly 700,000-square-foot home two miles south of the main Westwood campus. The interior of the former Westside Pavilion, previously slated for conversion to a Google office campus, will instead house the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at UCLA, the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering, and other programs.

Aerial view looking northeastHudson Pacific Properties

“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,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “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.”

UCLA acquired the property using $200 million already allocated by the state of California for the establishment of an immunology and immunotherapy institute at the university, which was combined with $500 million raised by a group of donors that includes Meyer Luskin, Dr. Gary Michelson, Dr. Eric Esrailian, Dr. Arie Belldegrun, Sean Parker and Michael Milken.

The immunology center will focus its efforts on biomedical research, with the aim of producing new treatments for cancer, autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, allergies, heart conditions, and other health issues. University officials have stated that they hope the center will be the start to the "immunology equivalent to Silicon Valley in Los Angeles."

View of UCLA Research Park from terrace deckDavid Esquivel and Suzannah Mathur/UCLA

Likewise, the Center for Quantum Science and Engineering will conduct research into quantum computing and communication, with the goal of improving information processing power. The center was founded in 2018 and falls under UCLA's Division of Physical Sciences and the Samueli School of Engineering.

In addition to acquiring the portion of the mall located on the east side of Westwood Boulevard - located at 10800-10830 W. Pico Boulevard - UCLA is also buying the western portion of the mall at 10850 W. Pico Boulevard. The space, which includes a 12-screen theater, could be converted into lecture halls or performance spaces for UCLA's arts, humanities, and social sciences disciplines.

While sellers Hudson Pacific Properties and Macerich have already completed much of the work to convert the mall away from its original use - including a seismic retrofit and the addition of a new facade - Governor Newsom indicated in remarks that roughly 40 months of construction remain ahead before the facility is ready to open. After that point, it may take an additional 24 months for the Center for Quantum Science, the Immunology Institute, and other occupants to move in.

Interior of UCLA Research ParkDavid Esquivel/UCLA

“California is the epicenter of global innovation — from the creation of the internet to the dominance of artificial intelligence, humanity’s future happens here first,” said Newsom in a news release. “Leveraging the next waves of technology and science — quantum computing and the immense potential of immunology — the UCLA Research Park will cement California’s global economic, scientific and technological dominance into the 22nd century, and beyond.”

The purchase of the Westside Pavilion is the largest acquisition in the past 15 months for UCLA, which bought the historic Trust Building in Downtown Los Angeles and the former Marymount California University campus in Rancho Palos Verdes to use as satellite campuses.

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