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December 7, 2015

Here's a first look at NBBJ's design for the Global Innovation Exchange

Courtesy NBBJ [enlarge]

Students are expected to start classes at the Bellevue campus of the Global Innovation Exchange by fall 2017.

To make that deadline, Wright Runstad & Co. wants to begin construction next spring at the 36-acre Spring District on a three-story, 86,000-square-foot building to house the initial graduate technology program.

Wright Runstad recently filed a design review application with the city of Bellevue showing images of the proposed structure and giving a construction timeline.

NBBJ is designing the GIX building, and Lease Crutcher Lewis is the general contractor.

GIX is a project-based technology institute created through a partnership of the University of Washington and Tsinghua University in China. The GIX website describes it as “a new way to educate innovators and spur innovation.” Programs will focus on the development and design of new technology, as well as entrepreneurship.

Microsoft contributed $40 million to GIX.

Next fall, the two universities will offer a dual-degree program. The initial cohort of students will spend their first year at Tsinghua before moving to the GIX campus in Bellevue in 2017. Subsequent cohorts will start at GIX in Bellevue.

The school initially will offer a 15-month master's degree in technology innovation with a focus on connected devices. In 10 years, GIX's website said, the goal is to have more than 3,000 students and offer additional programs in subjects such as mobile medicine, clean technology and smart cities.

A public meeting on the project is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 15 at Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. N.E.

In addition to space for GIX, the building will have 3,200 square feet of retail, 200 underground parking spaces and about 5,500 square feet of decks.

The design shows a “folded roof” with heights that range from 45 to 55 feet.

The team is going for a modern aesthetic but will use vertical expanses of glass and brick to reflect the area's industrial history, according to design documents.

The Spring District will be built around a future Sound Transit light rail station and could have up to 5.3 million square feet of offices, retail, housing and parks. Development could cost more than $2 billion.

Security Properties now is constructing five apartments buildings with 309 units and beginning to plan the second phase: 279 units in three buildings. Wright Runstad has permits for an office building and is seeking permits for a building that will house a brewery and creative office space.

The GIX website said it will try out new models of global learning. Other research universities could join as partners in the future, as well as companies and nonprofits.

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