It’s no secret there are a lot of big brains in South Lake Union, but there’ll soon be a good many more when The Allen Institute for Brain Science transfers its headquarters to the neighborhood from its current location, spread across several buildings in Fremont.
The new six-story life sciences structure, developed by Vulcan Real Estate, will occupy 245,000 square feet at Mercer Street and Westlake Avenue North, with retail space on the ground floor and two levels of underground parking. It promises to be easy on the eyes, with integrated elements of the historic Ford and Pacific McKay buildings originally on that site, including exquisite terra cotta facades that were disassembled and stored earlier.
The new building is being designed by Perkins+Will and GLY is the general contractor. Vulcan anticipates building completion in fall of 2015.
“We are very excited at the prospect of bringing our entire team together under one roof,” said Allan Jones, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. “Having everyone in one place will greatly facilitate and enhance the kind of close collaboration across disciplines, projects and departments that is essential to the success of the large-scale research initiatives we undertake.”
The Brain at Work
Established in 2003 with seed funding from founder Paul G. Allen, The Allen Institute for Brain Science tackles big science projects and makes its results publicly available to researchers around the globe. Simply put, delicate slices of brain tissue are examined under high-powered microscopes to observe how certain genes are turned on and off.
Those discoveries are key to making advances in neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, among others, or understanding brain anomalies such as autism. A new $300 million contribution from Allen is underwriting the Institute’s move, doubling its staff and launching three new initiatives to complement earlier projects, all detailing different aspects of brain science, including those of mice, humans and other primates.
This is leading-edge science on the fast track, but The Allen Institute will find itself in good company in South Lake Union, known as a blossoming hub of life science innovation. Other members of the SLU science club include Seattle BioMed, PATH, the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Institute for Systems Biology.
"The Allen Institute's expansion is a testament to its groundbreaking work and the promise of the ambitious research it's staffing up to undertake,” said Paul Allen. “For me, it is especially gratifying that the Institute will be moving to South Lake Union, which has become a vibrant new neighborhood and a center for life science research."
Learn more about the Allen Institute for Brain Science at www.brain-map.org.