On a blustery morning in early April, Dr. Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine, joined Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and local reporters at the UW Medicine Lake Union research hub to talk about the role of UW Medicine in Seattle’s fast-growing South Lake Union neighborhood.
Ramsey described the new UW Medicine research facilities, which currently house about 400 scientists focused on cutting-edge research in microbiology, biomarkers, biologic imaging, diabetes, cancer vaccines, heart regeneration, inflammation and proteomics. This research activity will be extended, he told the group, particularly in the area of regenerative medicine, which underscores UW Medicine’s strength in developmental biology, therapeutic delivery systems, neurobiology, genetics and aging.
“To grow biomedical research is one of the best investments our region and state can make,” Ramsey said.
The mid-morning gathering at UW Medicine Lake Union was one of several stops Mayor Greg Nickels made on his April 8 media walking tour of the South Lake Union neighborhood, meeting physicians, scientists and retailers along the way. He spoke about the future of the South Lake Union neighborhood and the need to improve mobility in this vital and growing part of the regional economy.
The first phase of the UW Medicine Lake Union research facilities, located at 815 Mercer St., opened in January 2005 to nearly 300 UW researchers and employees, and was soon followed by the opening of Phase II last summer. The new campus consists of a 170,000-square-foot laboratory building and an 86,000-square-foot office building.
Ramsey also spoke about the “green” design of the UW Medicine complex as a sustainable, eco-friendly facility that provides a healthier environment for employees. The buildings include many sustainable, high-performance features such as the use of “chilled beams” as a highly efficient radiant cooling system that reduces energy costs, lighting control systems and significant natural day-lighting in laboratory areas and exterior sun shades to limit solar gain and reduce energy use.
Nickels said in the past five years more than 2.7 million square feet of new office and biotech space has been built or is under construction in the area. Through his South Lake Union Action Agenda, Nickels said more than 9,000 jobs have been created, and by 2012, the city expects more than 20,000 new jobs.
In addition to his stop at UW Medicine, the Mayor’s South Lake Union walking tour included stops at several other key neighborhood employers, including Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Group Health and Amazon.com.