UW Unveils Portage Bay Crossing: A New Urban Campus

Blending Education, Research, and Community in Seattle

The University of Washington (UW) is spearheading a new urban district in Seattle, known as Portage Bay Crossing. This project aims to integrate education, research, and community engagement in a dynamic, multidisciplinary environment. It’s a long-term venture, designed to address global challenges by fostering collaboration between students, faculty, and various sectors.

“We envision a lively and vibrant place…where students, researchers, innovators and community members can engage in support of the UW’s learning, research, health-care and public-service missions.”

Lou Cariello, UW Vice President for Facilities

The Campus Blueprint

Portage Bay Crossing will span a 69-acre urban campus, featuring 19 new buildings and a public freshwater shoreline. This 30-year development plan is set to transform the west side of the UW campus, fostering a unique blend of academic and community spaces.

Brightwork: The Inaugural Building

Brightwork, an 11-story collaborative hub, marks the commencement of this district. It will house offices, labs, and spaces for organizations focused on clean energy, biotech, healthcare, and more. Key tenants include the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds, the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine, and the Institute for Protein Design.

Strategic Partnerships

UW collaborates with Wexford Science + Technology for Brightwork’s development. This partnership aligns with Wexford’s mission of creating knowledge communities that integrate research, entrepreneurship, and community inclusion.

Community and Innovation Synergy

Portage Bay Crossing is designed to foster a vibrant mix of academic, arts, culture, and retail spaces. This ecosystem will encourage collaboration among students, faculty, and the broader community, promoting innovative solutions and knowledge exchange.

Sustainable Future and Inclusivity

The project commits to sustainability and inclusivity. It honors the Coast Salish peoples and acknowledges the Tribal nations across Washington. The campus will feature green spaces and a freshwater shoreline, enhancing the University District’s communal spirit.


Portage Bay Crossing is an urban project with a visionary blend of academia, industry, and community. It represents a significant stride towards addressing global challenges, fostering innovation, and building a sustainable, inclusive future in Seattle.


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