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Feb. 7, 2014

Research Triangle Foundation Buys 100 Acres for Triangle’s First Mixed-Use Expansion

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Research Triangle Foundation, the nonprofit that built the Research Triangle Park (RTP) back in the 50s, has recently announced the acquisition of several adjacent properties along I-40, where it intends to add new development.

The organization, which currently manages the nearly 7,000-acre business park, has paid about $17 million for the parcels, which total nearly 100 acres.

“(This is) maybe the biggest news we’ve had to share since the creation of the park itself a little over 50 years ago,” Bob Geolas, RTF’s president and CEO told the Herald Sun.

Known as Park Center, the expansion project would feature RTP’s first area of mixed-use growth, supporting as much as 3 million square feet of new residential, retail, hotel and other types of development, including meeting spaces for entrepreneurs and executives. Construction plans have yet to be finalized.

In the months ahead, a Governor’s Inn hotel and more than a dozen outdated office buildings located on the newly acquired properties will be demolished. The foundation will also work closely with Research Triangle High School, a two-year-old charter school currently operating in converted retail space on one of the properties, to select a new location for the institution within the redevelopment plan.    

In November 2012, Park officials unveiled a new master plan for the future growth of RTP that proposed three new higher-density clusters of development known as the Triangle Commons, Park Center and Kit Creek Center.

The newspaper reports that the foundation had initially planned to start construction on the Triangle Commons, a mixed-use project that called for the development of apartments and commercial space on about 50 acres of land near the corner of Cornwallis Road and Davis Drive. The nonprofit has yet to acquire the property and plans to connect the two clusters with an “innovation corridor.”

According to Geolas, the Triangle Commons and Park Center combined would create the opportunity for 6 million square feet of new development, $2 billion worth of private investment and an estimated 100,000 new jobs within the Research Triangle Park.

Photo credits: www.rtp.org

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