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Originally published Friday, November 2, 2012 at 10:50 AM

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Allen brain institute moving to South Lake Union

Vulcan will build the growing institute a new headquarters in South Lake Union.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Paul Allen’s Vulcan Real Estate said Friday it will build a new South Lake Union headquarters for another organization inspired by the Microsoft co-founder, the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

The six-story building will be built at Westlake Avenue North and Mercer Street, and will include the historic facades and other key elements of the auto dealerships that once occupied the block.

Construction is expected to start next summer and take two years, Vulcan and the Allen Institute said.

The institute, which now operates out of several buildings in Fremont, this spring announced plans to double its staff and expand its program as a result of $300 million in new funding from Allen.

The 245,000-square-foot South Lake Union headquarters would include 9,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and two levels of underground parking.

For more than 80 years the block was the site of the William O. McKay Ford and Pacific Lincoln Mercury auto showrooms.

Vulcan demolished the buildings in 2010 to make way for the city’s Mercer Street reconfiguration, but preserved and stored the elements deemed most significant by city historic-preservation officials — the terra cotta facades and the Pacific showroom’s ornate interior — and said it would incorporate them in any new project on the site.

Vulcan obtained a city land-use permit in 2009 for an office building on the block, but now is seeking a new permit.

South Lake Union has become a biotech hub in recent years. Other organizations in the neighborhood include UW Medicine, global health nonprofit PATH, Seattle BioMed, the Institute for Systems Biology and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Eric Pryne: epryne@seattletimes.com or 206-464-2231

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