UCLA to Open New Research Park at Former Mall With State-Allocated Funds

UCLA to Open New Research Park at Former Mall With State-Allocated Funds

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visits a property acquired by the University of California–Los Angeles in Los Angeles on Jan. 3, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

John Fredricks

John Fredricks

1/4/2024

Updated: 1/4/2024

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LOS ANGELES—Once a popular shopping mall in West Los Angeles after opening in 1985, the former Westside Pavilion was acquired in a $700 million deal for use as the UCLA Research Park, which will house an immunology center aimed at developing new treatments for cancer and other health ailments, said university officials on Jan. 3.
“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 Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.
The acquisition of the 700,000-square-foot site, located two miles south of UCLA’s Westwood campus, was made possible in part by a $500 million planned investment from the state, with $200 million already allocated, to establish the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at UCLA, according to university officials and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The academic hub and its multidisciplinary research centers, specifically the immunology and immunotherapy institute and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering, will take about eight years to complete.
“Just remember there’s a race with China, a race to global dominance in this space,” Mr. Newsom said to news media Jan. 3 after touring the property with UCLA officials.
California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 3, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 3, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

“This has huge direct impacts on artificial intelligence as well,” he said, “but the synergies around ... [the] medicine and healthcare sector and quantum provides limitless opportunities.”
The institute will draw on 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, according to UCLA.
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, according to the university.
“UCLA’s goal is to build the immunology equivalent of Silicon Valley in Los Angeles,” said Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor for health sciences and CEO of UCLA Health. “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 UCLA Research Park will also serve campus across multiple disciplines, including the use of a full 12-screen multiplex movie theater that may be converted into lecture halls or performance spaces, allowing UCLA to offer programming across the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences.
“The research park directly embodies UCLA’s strategic priority of expanding scholarship and engagement to benefit the public good,” said Roger Wakimoto, UCLA’s vice chancellor for research and creative activities. “The park’s scientific, technological, humanistic and creative advances will help to promote economic growth throughout the Southern California region and beyond.”
At one time, the site featured a three-level bookstore and multiple movie theaters and appeared as a backdrop in 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.
“We recognize the former Westside Pavilion’s place in L.A.’s history and are grateful for the chance to turn the empty former mall into the future home of discoveries that will change the world,” Mr. Block, UCLA’s chancellor, said. “This acquisition will be absolutely transformative for UCLA, our great city and the world.”
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block introduces a new addition to the University's properties in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 3, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block introduces a new addition to the University's properties in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 3, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

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John Fredricks

John Fredricks

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John Fredricks is a California-based journalist for The Epoch Times. His reportage and photojournalism features have been published in a variety of award-winning publications around the world.

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