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Nov. 15, 2012

Hines to Begin Work on 7,000-Acre Research Triangle Park Master Planned Community

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Research Triangle Foundation has formally unveiled its new master plan for the future growth of the 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park (RTP). It is the first update to the master plan since the park was created in 1959.  The foundation has also announced it has selected the Houston real estate company Hines to work on the initial phase of the project.

The Herald Sun reports that RTP leaders have envisioned three development clusters in three main areas of the park.

Called “Triangle Commons,” the first area to be developed will bring a 7 million gross square feet mixed-use center to the Durham County end of RTP. It will include office space, shops and restaurants, residential space, a conference center and hotel, as well as program space for local universities. Plans for the residential component call for up to 1,400 multifamily units, which will be located in walking distance of the development’s center. A commuter rail station has also been proposed within the first cluster. Over the coming months, Hines plans to identify development partners and line up financing for the project.

The second proposal envisions the redevelopment of the aging Park Center buildings, totaling approximately 970,000 square feet. Currently, the area includes a hotel, a school and mostly vacant retail and office space. Under the new plan, the Park Center could host as much as 2 million gross square feet of office and research space.

The third cluster has been planned for the Wake County portion of the park. Called Kit Creek Center, the area surrounding Kit Creek Lakes aims to create a critical mass of research businesses.

“We’re looking to make the park more attractive for a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Bob Geolas, president and CEO of the Research Triangle Park Foundation. “They want physical density, but they also want a density of ideas.”

Under the new master plan, the park’s capacity for employment could more than triple to around 150,000 employees. Furthermore, capacity for research and office building space could grow from a current 26 million square feet to more than 84 million square feet.

RTP is currently home to more than 170 companies employing around 39,000 workers and operating from about 22 million square feet of research and office space.

Photo credits: www.rtp.org