RTP to unveil new master plan on Nov. 9

Foundation also will announce a new partner in effort

dbracken@newsobserver.comNovember 2, 2012 

Designer's concept of the Research Triangle Park's Mixed Use Cluster near a future mass-transit station. Park administrators plan to reconfigure the 53-year-old research park to bring it up to 21st-century date.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK

The Research Triangle Foundation, which manages the Research Triangle Park, plans to unveil its new master plan at an event on Nov. 9.

The foundation also will announce the selection of a private partner to support redevelopment efforts in the 7,000-acre park. And later this month the park will launch a bus tour across the state that is designed to raise awareness about RTP’s role as an economic engine for the state.

“We want to reaffirm the park’s founding mission, which is to serve all of North Carolina,” said Bob Geolas, the foundation’s president and CEO, in a statement. “We should begin that process by getting around the state, meeting with people and hearing about the challenges and opportunities they face.”

The bus tour will begin after a kickoff luncheon at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh on Nov. 13.

The relaunching of the park has been a long time coming.

It’s been more than two years since the foundation hired a New York urban design firm to update its master plan. It’s the first update to the park’s master plan since North Carolina legislators created RTP in 1959.

The reimagined RTP will include “Urban Research Service Districts” that are expected to include a mix of retail, restaurants and residential developments. Adding such amenities to the park is a key component of the plan, which seeks to transform RTP from a suburban, isolated campus environment into a place where workers and visitors alike can eat, shop, stay overnight at a hotel and even live.

Although many tenants have continued to invest heavily in their RTP facilities in recent years, the park’s leaders have been criticized by some for being too slow to adapt to changing conditions. Many companies today are seeking more collaborative work environments as opposed to the isolated suburban campuses that dot RTP’s landscape.

The park is facing increased competition from other high-tech and science clusters that feature more urban settings.

RTP is home to more than 170 companies, and about 39,000 employees now work in the park, plus an estimated 10,000 more contractors.

Bracken: 919-829-4548

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