Northeastern University Finds a Home at ISB in South Lake Union

8/14/12Follow @xconomy

Northeastern University’s plan to open a graduate school in Seattle depends on delivering a lot of coursework via the Internet, but it still needs a physical location for students to occasionally meet each other and the faculty. Now it has picked a home, in one of the busiest high-tech and biotech neighborhoods in Seattle.

Northeastern said today it is setting up shop at the Institute for Systems Biology location at 401 Terry Avenue North in Seattle. That’s across the street from Amazon.com’s new headquarters, which has brought thousands of technology workers into South Lake Union. Northeastern is leasing 2,448 square feet of office space on the first floor of the ISB building, and will be sharing 4,815 square feet of classroom space, says Hsiao-Ching Chou, an ISB spokeswoman. Northeastern will use the classroom space mainly during nights and weekends and ISB will still use it during the day for internal meetings and seminars, she added.

The Boston-based private university’s expansion plan, which I featured here in July, is being spearheaded by longtime attorney and civic leader Tayloe Washburn. Northeastern plans to open its Seattle branch in early 2013, and will offer 15 different graduate degree programs in subjects such as cybersecurity, computer science, health informatics and engineering. Northeastern also plans to collaborate with the Institute for Systems Biology on developing new programs in systems biology and personalized medicine, according to a statement.

“By locating in South Lake Union and partnering with institutions like ISB, Northeastern University is making a strong statement about its commitment to building strategic partnerships with regional employers and research partners that will benefit students’ career success,” said Lee Hood, president of ISB, in a statement.

The Institute for Systems Biology has had some space available to accommodate Northeastern after some downsizing in the past year. The nonprofit research center took a lease on 140,000 square feet in the building in 2010, and moved in a year later with a plan to house 330 employees. But ISB co-founder Alan Aderem announced plans to leave the institute to take the president’s job at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute in March 2011, and bring a team of 40 people with him. The Institute for Systems Biology now has about 230 employees.

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  • Seattlite

    I’m deeply skeptical that a for profit university based on the East Coast setting up shop here is good for our local economy.