UW News

September 4, 2003

UW Medicine Launches South Lake Union Research Hub

SEATTLE — Sept. 4, 2003 — Design and construction planning began this week by Vulcan Inc. on the newest phase of UW Medicine Lake Union, the University of Washington’s new medical research hub that will be located in the heart of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

UW Medicine is leasing a 105,000-square-foot facility from Vulcan. Located at 815 Mercer St., the building is the former home of Washington Natural Gas. The four-story building is being renovated to provide state-of-the-art lab facilities. Today at 10 a.m., the UW, Vulcan, elected officials and community members will celebrate the kick-off of the building project at the site. The total size of the future hub could grow to more than 800,000 square feet–providing critically needed new space for biomedical research.

The space will house UW Medicine programs focused on specific medical conditions and challenges. Research groups based there will cut across traditional departmental lines. Among the first expected to locate in the building are teams researching the molecular basis of cardiovascular disease, and a women’s health group with a wide range of interests, including cancer vaccines and other methods of preventing cancers. Approximately 300 employees will work at the site.

“South Lake Union is key to UW Medicine’s ability to lead a significant portion of the nation’s biomedical research enterprise well into the 21st Century,” said Dr. Paul G. Ramsey, UW vice president for medical affairs and dean of medicine. “The opportunities for research collaboration across organizational and disciplinary lines are already enormous here, and the future holds much promise for UW Medicine to develop new interdisciplinary initiatives.”

“The UW is one of the nation’s most highly regarded medical research institutions and Vulcan is thrilled to provide a facility to expressly meet the needs of these groundbreaking research programs,” said Ada M. Healey, vice president of real estate for Vulcan. “The work conducted at this site will not only impact world health, but it will also infuse our regional economy with new jobs and new revenue.”

“This is great news for Seattle’s economy,” said Mayor Greg Nickels. “With this announcement, we’re moving forward on creating jobs now and building the foundation for thousands of new jobs. South Lake Union is a critical element of my economic strategy for the city, and this is proof that, with partners like Vulcan and the University, we are getting the job done.”

Construction is slated to start in January 2004 and occupation is scheduled for November 2004. The UW also has an option for a second phase on the same block that could total up to 300,000 square feet, as well as an option for a third phase in the area that could total 400,000 square feet. The area for the third phase is bordered by Mercer, Republican, Dexter and 9th Avenue.

UW Medicine already has a presence in South Lake Union at Vulcan’s 60,000-square-foot Rosen Building on Republican Street and Terry Avenue North, which is also used for medical research programs, and at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance building at 825 Eastlake Ave. E.

Other current and future research institutions in South Lake Union include the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Merck and ZymoGenetics.

“This new research facility will anchor a world-class center of excellence for scientific discovery in the Northwest, building upon the synergy of the many scientific leaders already in the area,” said Healey.

Vulcan owns approximately 50 acres in South Lake Union. Its vision for the area is to partner with the community to foster a vibrant, connected neighborhood that blends housing, retail, office, biotechnology, open space, public transportation, culture and education.