From Empty Google Space to UCLA Science Park: The Fascinating Transformation of a Former LA Mall

Remember the Westside Pavilion mall in Los Angeles that was once a bustling shopping destination? The mall, which closed its doors in 2018, has gotten a new lease on life. It has been transformed into a cutting-edge research park by UCLA after being sold by Hudson Pacific and Macerich to the university for $700 million. That’s right. The vacant mall, which was once home to retail giants like Macy’s and Nordstrom, is now a thriving technology and innovation hub. Keep reading to learn more about the fascinating transformation of this former LA mall into a promising research park!

The new UCLA research park, named UCLA Westwood Plaza, occupies around 1.8 million square feet of space. It is home to the university’s engineering, life sciences, and physical sciences departments. The park features multiple research labs, state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls, and coworking spaces. The old mall’s underground parking lot has been converted into a research facility with high-tech imaging equipment. The university has big plans for the space. They intend to use it to bring together researchers from different fields, to collaborate and innovate. The park’s prime location also attracts startups and established companies looking for partnerships with the university’s researchers.

The project to transform the mall into a research park has been in the works for over a decade. UCLA leased the space from Hudson Pacific in 2015 with the option to buy. Hudson Pacific and Macerich agreed to sell the space in 2018 after the mall’s retail tenants moved out. The sale was a win-win for everyone involved, as it gave UCLA valuable space to expand and allowed the mall’s owners to offload a dated mall that wasn’t attracting enough foot traffic. It’s a testament to the power of creativity and innovation to turn what was once a liability into an asset.

Transforming a mall into a research park wasn’t easy. The project required extensive renovations, including the addition of new plumbing and electrical systems, upgraded security, revamped entrances, and more. The transformation also required the addition of new amenities, including a food court, a fitness center, and outdoor spaces for socializing and networking. The end result is an inspiring and vibrant research park that represents the future of scientific innovation.

The UCLA Westwood Plaza research park is a significant addition to LA’s thriving tech and innovation scene. It’s part of a broader trend of repurposing underutilized malls and buildings for new uses. With the rise of e-commerce and changing consumer preferences, traditional malls are struggling to survive. However, there’s still hope for these spaces. They can be transformed into new and exciting spaces that meet the needs of modern businesses and communities. The UCLA Westwood Plaza project is proof that with the right vision and expertise, even the most outdated spaces can be transformed into something remarkable.

The transformation of the former Westside Pavilion mall into the UCLA Westwood Plaza research park is an inspiring story of innovation and creativity. The project is a testament to the power of collaboration and the potential that underutilized spaces hold. As LA’s innovation scene continues to thrive, we can expect similar transformations to take place in other parts of the city. Innovation is not only about coming up with new ideas but also about finding new uses for existing spaces. The UCLA Westwood Plaza project is a shining example of this. The former mall may be gone, but its legacy will live on as a hub of scientific discovery and innovation.

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