The next phase of development at N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus is moving forward with plans to not only expand the public-private partnerships of labs, offices and apartments but to help make it an attraction in the community at large.
On Tuesday, about 100 builders, consultants and contractors interested in winning contracts met with university officials at the James B. Hunt Library on the campus. Centennial sent out a request for qualifications last month for what will be the biggest private project on campus.
A final decision on who gets the job is likely early next year, and construction could begin in the second half of 2019.
The next phase entails developing up to 32 acres on the 1,260-acre campus situated between Avent-Ferry Road and Interstate 40. It would be more than double the 1.4 million square feet already privately developed.
Already, more than 600 people live on Centennial Campus and more than 70 companies are located there, including the U.S. headquarters of ABB’s power grid division. The university’s colleges of engineering and textiles are also there. The setup is meant to encourage students, faculty, researchers, public agencies and institutes to mingle.
In addition to the offices, labs, hotel, shops and residential space already developed, the idea is to create an urban, mixed-use landscape of cafes, greenways and a lake that encourage cultural and intellectual exchanges.
“That’s what makes great cities great,” Jeff Bandini, associate vice chancellor of real estate and development at NCSU, said in an interview Wednesday. “We’re looking to create that same diversity of thought and sharing of ideas here.”
Even though Centennial Campus has been gradually taking shape in recent years and NCSU is a significant part of the region’s economy, “It’s a very quiet university,” Bandini said, calling it “a hidden gem.”
“It’s such a critical part of Raleigh and the state,” he said. “What we’re really looking for Centennial Campus to do going forward is to tell that story and be more vocal about it, and just really showcase all the things that are going on at N.C. State. We want to be a part of pride for this community.”