Reviving Legacy:UCLA Transforms Vintage Mall into Innovation Oasis

UCLA Research Park
UCLA Research ParkImage Source: UCLA


UCLA has invested $700 million to transform the 1980s Westside Pavilion mall into a cutting-edge research hub known as the UCLA Research Park. With $500 million from California and private donations, the 700,000-sq-ft facility will host the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering. Previously famous as a backdrop in media, the mall's decline led to its purchase by UCLA, with plans to convert it into a center for pioneering research.


In a strategic move to bolster innovation, UCLA has acquired the Westside Pavilion mall, a relic of the 1980s, for a transformative venture into the realms of advanced research. With a substantial investment of $700 million, including $500 million from California's state funds and private contributions, UCLA envisions converting this sprawling 700,000-sq-ft space into the UCLA Research Park. Nestled just two minutes away from UCLA's Westwood campus by bus, this ambitious project aims to house the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering.

Built in 1985, the mall holds historical significance, having served as the backdrop for Tom Petty's iconic 1989 music video, "Free Fallin'," and featuring in various television shows and films over the years. However, the mall witnessed a decline in the 2010s, losing major anchors like Nordstrom in 2015 and Macy's in 2018, along with the closure of a 12-screen cinema in 2022.

Undeterred by its faded glory, UCLA sees potential in revitalizing this space. The extensive conversion initiated in 2019 by the joint venture of Hudson Pacific (75%) and Macerich (25%) already transformed a significant portion of the mall into Class A office space. This rejuvenation effort attracted Google, which leased the entire development, named One Westside, for 14 years. While Google's current lease status remains undisclosed, UCLA acknowledges Google's role in facilitating the purchase of the mall. The vision for the UCLA Research Park extends beyond repurposing an old mall. It represents a strategic investment in the future, leveraging the next waves of technology and science. Governor Gavin Newsom emphasized California's status as the epicenter of global innovation, and the UCLA Research Park is poised to propel the state's dominance in economics, science, and technology well into the 22nd century.


The metamorphosis of the Westside Pavilion mall into the UCLA Research Park symbolizes more than a mere real estate transaction; it marks a commitment to fostering innovation and pioneering research. As this vintage mall undergoes a radical transformation, it not only preserves a piece of local history but also propels California into a future where quantum computing and immunology take center stage. The collaboration between public and private entities underscores the collective vision to secure California's position as a global leader in technological and scientific advancements.

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