Developers of the Durham Innovation District unveiled plans Thursday to build two seven-story buildings downtown.
The buildings, which will total nearly 350,000 square feet, will be located on Morris Street between Hunt and Roney streets in what is currently a large parking lot. An eight-story, 1,200-space parking deck will be built behind the buildings. The deck will offer parking for community events and the adjacent Durham Farmers’ Market, according to the developers.
Construction is set to begin by the end of September and is expected to be completed in spring 2018.
The buildings are part of the 15-acre Durham Innovation District being developed through a partnership between Longfellow Real Estate Partners and Measurement Inc. The initial master plan for the district, which is just north of West Village and west of the historic Durham Athletic Park, called for 1 million square feet of lab and office space for life sciences and technology companies, as well as 300,000 square feet of residential.
To date, execution of the Innovation District master plan for the research hub campus has centered on renovating existing buildings, such as the Carmichael Warehouse and the 1916 Imperial Building.
“We’ve come to the ‘end of the beginning’ in terms of downtown Durham’s redevelopment,” Scott Selig, associate vice president of real estate for Duke University, a significant tenant in the district, said in a statement. “It’s no longer about restoring historic properties.”
With the two new buildings, along with other projects, downtown is entering a phase of new construction that will shape the city’s experience and economy, Selig said.
The two new buildings, dubbed North and South, focus primarily on office and technology use, but will include retail space and restaurants. Duke Clinical Research Institute has signed a lease to occupy all of the office space in the South Building. Longfellow is now marketing the North Building, focusing on technology and innovation-based enterprises. Architects from Durham’s Duda Paine will design the building that will include a shared plaza connecting the buildings.
Other significant new building projects downtown include a 10-story, 240,000 square-foot office tower on the corner of South Mangum Street and Jackie Robinson Drive and a 27-story office tower at Corcoran and Parrish streets.