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The University of Washington's CoMotion program will move its headquarters to this building at 4545 Roosevelt. (Credit: University of Washington)
The University of Washington’s CoMotion program will move its headquarters to this building at 4545 Roosevelt. (Credit: Conrado Tapado, University of Washington CoMotion)

University of Washington’s CoMotion innovation program announced today it will move to a new University District headquarters that will include an incubator space for virtual and augmented startups.

Two virtual reality companies have already joined CoMotion. Mechanical Dreams produces virtual reality, film and television content with an emphasis on diverse voices. MultiModal Health makes virtual reality games that help people with neurological damage recover from injury.

CoMotion is taking two floors for its headquarters 4545 Roosevelt Way N.E., next door to Trader Joe’s, and it will open in August. Blume Co. Real Estate is developing the six-story project, which includes four stories and 53,400 square feet of new office space on top of an existing structure. University of Washington leased all the office space last year, but did not say which programs would occupy it.

Vikram Jandhyala.
Vikram Jandhyala.

Vikram Jandhyala, CoMotion executive director, told GeekWire he reached out to local leaders and entrepreneurs to see what kind of technology they would like to see UW focus on. The answer was virtual and augmented reality.

“Seattle is becoming a VR, AR center worldwide in terms of software and hardware,” Jandhyala said.

One floor of the new headquarters will include space for CoMotion’s day-to-day operations. The other floor will have a pair of virtual reality lab areas, 34 co-working desks and an event/teaching space with room for 150 to 200 people. CoMotion charges $350 a month for a desk and access to its programs.

CoMotion today has space at Fluke Hall that focuses on healthcare and biotech and Startup Hall with an emphasis on software and IT startups. CoMotion will keep those spaces, but it will leave its current administrative location at Roosevelt Commons.

The new headquarters and spaces at Fluke and Startup halls will collectively be known as CoMotion Labs.

CoMotion helps startups through education and access to experts and funding sources.

Jandhyala said CoMotion’s mission has broadened in the last few years. It used to be focused purely on technology, but now any kind of innovation is fair game.

“It’s about that innovative mindset, getting that to all 50,000 students on campus is a pretty big challenge but also exciting,” Jandhyala said.

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