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DanRNC

Research Triangle Park (RTP) & the Triangle Biotech Cluster

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It looks like the data center is being built in Durham contrary to TBJ stories-I am starting to think their writing is some of the worst researched material. It is listed in the latest report I received from RTPRP.

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TBJ was right.

Durham, specifically CSC, lost the *Homeland Security* data center to EDS. It would have created hundreds of jobs.

The social security datacenter is a seperate project creating fewer jobs. It may wind up at the same site (old EPA campus at 54/Alexander) but activity there still has yet to pick up since homeland security decided to go elsewhere with EDS.

If TBJ's research is bad, then the N&O and Durham Herald-Sun are horrible, since the local dailys are routinely scooped by a weekly.

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IBM is building a $360M data center for "cloud computing" in RTP on it's campus. Wow, if that's not a typo (60k sf), that is one incredibly expensive building. It will not be a big job boost (10?), except for construction-related activities.

Cloud computing enables computers in remote locations to be used in a collaborative function over high-speed networks. The technology also helps workers access networks through mobile and other devices from remote locations.

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I think IBM has a few buildings mothballed on their RTP campus?

They were used for manufacturing, then repair, and then call centers/IT outsourcing, but most/all that has gone elsewhere.

It is good to see another data center online, but it looks like Durham offered a lot of incentives for so few jobs. There might be some money for upfitting a server room, but it won't be like breaking ground for a new structure.

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From the rumor mill: Biogen Idec may be moving their HQ from Boston to RTP. Additionally, a regenerative medicine company based in Winston-Salem is also eyeing a move to the Triangle.

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Here is a story about Biogen Idec building additional facilities on its RTP campus-I had mentioned in an earlier post that the HQ may be moving here and this is pretty solid evidence of that.

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I randomly found this article published by TechJournal South discussing how RTP is based on an outdated 1950's planning methodology, how that's not sustainable, and what can be done to change it. It touches on the complete segregation of uses and the ridiculous minimum setback requirement of 250 feet. The RTP foundation recognizes that this is a problem, but they haven't really figured out how yet. The article cites PTRP in Winston-Salem as an example of a direction RTP could take.

How about this: as Nortel gradually evaporates (Let's face it, it's inevitable) the RTP foundation should buy back all or part of their land and redevelop it as an urban RTP campus. Rather than developing it 100 acres at a time for each company that relocates, build a street grid, and develop it one block at a time, maybe 4 or 5 acres per parcel. Also include some sort of a requirement for retail. The Nortel property would work well because it's the closest RTP parcel to Triangle Metro Center, and that's what I'd consider to be "downtown RTP".

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I think there is a very fine line to walk on this one as these "urban" research parks have been pretty much failures to this point in attracting companies. There may be other underlying reasons such as these parks being based in cities/towns that just won't foster tech industries, etc. (the "build it anywhere and they will come" mentality) I know from an inside source that PTRP is in big-time trouble with buildings that sit empty so I don't know if I would cite this as an example-many of the companies that are listed as tenants don't have a soul working there but have to maintain addresses there for political reasons. I think the best option for RTP is to build a central hub with amenities combined with smaller lab/office space for startups. Transit should run out from this hub to the larger campuses in the park. One reason Biogen wants to relocate here is they want space to expand easily where they feel confined in Cambridge along with exorbinant real estate costs-this came from my source.

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I think there is a very fine line to walk on this one as these "urban" research parks have been pretty much failures to this point in attracting companies. There may be other underlying reasons such as these parks being based in cities/towns that just won't foster tech industries, etc. (the "build it anywhere and they will come" mentality) I know from an inside source that PTRP is in big-time trouble with buildings that sit empty so I don't know if I would cite this as an example-many of the companies that are listed as tenants don't have a soul working there but have to maintain addresses there for political reasons. I think the best option for RTP is to build a central hub with amenities combined with smaller lab/office space for startups. Transit should run out from this hub to the larger campuses in the park. One reason Biogen wants to relocate here is they want space to expand easily where they feel confined in Cambridge along with exorbinant real estate costs-this came from my source.

Yes, but the real point is use of space, and the potential revision of design ideas that may be hitting a sell-by date. The validity of PTRP could be debated, but it's just as true that RTP could be better connected to the remainder of the Triangle. Tweaking setbacks, and working to bring various amenities closer (whether coffeehouses, gyms, living spaces, et. al.) has many advantages, and need not threathen the 'room to expand' that various companies will continue to look for. Boosting density at the park need not make it any more expensive than it would anywhere in the Triangle, and it won't hit Cambridge-like levels of expensiveness anywhere. Except maybe Chapel Hill.

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I always thought the main (or a big one) attraction of large campus setups was keeping research secret. Patented ideas and multimillion dollar formulas probably aren't cool to have sitting a few feet from the street. I had always thought downtown Raleigh should have postured itself to land at least the marketing and administrative functions of some of RTP's companies though I don't have an idea if this is feasible operationally for any company let alone the ones currently in RTP. Connecting downtown Raleigh and RTP with LRT would then have another big driver (no pun intended).

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I always thought the main (or a big one) attraction of large campus setups was keeping research secret. Patented ideas and multimillion dollar formulas probably aren't cool to have sitting a few feet from the street. I had always thought downtown Raleigh should have postured itself to land at least the marketing and administrative functions of some of RTP's companies though I don't have an idea if this is feasible operationally for any company let alone the ones currently in RTP. Connecting downtown Raleigh and RTP with LRT would then have another big driver (no pun intended).

Exactly. In today's world with cell phone cameras and other high-tech gadgets, companies are looking to keep research facilities more than ever in areas with a lot of room between them and access to roads, etc. Such secrets are the bread & butter of many companies (especially some of the ones we have here....high-tech, pharmaceuticals and so forth) and densifying them too much would only make them move their research out of the park and possibly the Triangle all together. Companies don't fool around or make compromises on their trade secrets and will will spend millions to keep them that way, even if that means putting a facility on a deserted island. As for the marketing and administrative functions, it would largely depend on the costs. Sometimes its cheaper to spread out operations and sometimes its actually quite expensive, so keeping them on on campus saves money. Its all about what will bring shareholders the better value on their investments.

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I randomly found this article published by TechJournal South discussing how RTP is based on an outdated 1950's planning methodology, how that's not sustainable, and what can be done to change it. It touches on the complete segregation of uses and the ridiculous minimum setback requirement of 250 feet. The RTP foundation recognizes that this is a problem, but they haven't really figured out how yet. The article cites PTRP in Winston-Salem as an example of a direction RTP could take.

How about this: as Nortel gradually evaporates (Let's face it, it's inevitable) the RTP foundation should buy back all or part of their land and redevelop it as an urban RTP campus. Rather than developing it 100 acres at a time for each company that relocates, build a street grid, and develop it one block at a time, maybe 4 or 5 acres per parcel. Also include some sort of a requirement for retail. The Nortel property would work well because it's the closest RTP parcel to Triangle Metro Center, and that's what I'd consider to be "downtown RTP".

It is an outdated model when the land becomes more valuable as redevelopment than as it is today. RTP is not at that point and RTP is very viable becuase it is near the airport and near all 3 popluation centers. An example where the large park is nbot viable is the IBM plant in San Jose. One mile square. Land is worth a fortune. Salaries are so high in the area , they make everyone work from home. All mfg has been gone for a long time.

Other points of viable office space is some people might say .... "people don't want to be isolated ina park" but guess what, companies don't care. An office building is an office building. There is no real difference between the large campuses in RTP when compared to the Airport Road new buildings like Lenovo, Salix and others that are being built. Again, an office building is an office building. The only difference is the older buildings are already paid for which make them better for the owner who bought the location 30 to 40 years ago.

For the redevelopment of a site comment. I agree. But there must be that demand for that land or it is a bust. I think this would be done by private enterprise and not RTP foundations. The IBM land in San Jose is an example of land that was rural for so many years and growth that was urban enough to be redeveloped. RTP is not there...yet and sompanies,especially in the tech and todays business world are looking for the most inexpensive location to house their employees while still trying to act somewhat like a company.

JMHO

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Other points of viable office space is some people might say .... "people don't want to be isolated ina park" but guess what, companies don't care. An office building is an office building. There is no real difference between the large campuses in RTP when compared to the Airport Road new buildings like Lenovo, Salix and others that are being built. Again, an office building is an office building.

When oil returns to $100, 150 a barrel and higher, and long commutes cost their employees in time and money, I suspect companies might have a more difficult time attracting top talent. As you said, we are not there yet, but expensive energy (global demand & a carbon pricing scheme) alters the paradigm and "an office is an office" doesn't continue to hold true, as tenants absorb the external costs of just another auto-dependent suburban office park.... and that says nothing about healthcare costs and other quality of life issues.

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^

Not necessarily. More companies will likely offer telecommuting or expand the ones they have, which both saves them and the employee money. There is also a little used Federal program which may get more use also as a result. The program allows for the deduction of pre-tax dollars to use on the purchase of mass transit tickets. My company has been testing the waters on this program, in addition to negotiating lower ticket prices for employees nationwide. Ultimately, companies are going to look for the best of both worlds; the cheapest land possible AND ways to attract workers.

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When oil returns to $100, 150 a barrel and higher, and long commutes cost their employees in time and money, I suspect companies might have a more difficult time attracting top talent. As you said, we are not there yet, but expensive energy (global demand & a carbon pricing scheme) alters the paradigm and "an office is an office" doesn't continue to hold true, as tenants absorb the external costs of just another auto-dependent suburban office park.... and that says nothing about healthcare costs and other quality of life issues.

I guess I kind of understand but if you put a company in Raleigh, the talent pool gets smaller when looking at comutes. Put in RTP, a company pulls from 360 degree circle from Durham to Raleigh to Cary to Apex to Orange County. Put in Raleigh, it is harder to pull from talent pool that lives in Durham and Chapel hill. Big companies want that larger talent pool. Not to mention the airport factor. That is one major factor that makes RTP and area around so effective. You can hold a meeting till later in the day since the airport is 2 exits away. Also, people can fly in the morning and fly out at night and go 2 or 3 exits away. Not 30 min to to over 1 hour depending on traffic.

Also "just another auto-dependent suburban office park" work well when people live in the suburbs which is Raleigh. For all the building downtown and even inside the beltline, I do not see the mad rush to get there. Even if it does happen in 50 years, there will always be 200% to a lot more percent that live in suburbs. This is seen in almost every city except NY and even seen there with Westchester, Princess Co and Jersey and Long Island.

The idea in Wake county of offices not being auto-dependent, I just don't see it in my lifetime or in 2 generations ahead. I see improvement but workers will always be auto based. Even in crowded metros that Raleigh could become like San Jose, the market is still auto-dependent. Now telemarketing,which so many people do today, could hurt the entire office area but there will still need to be offices of some kind.

Edited by Subway Scoundrel

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There's a TBJ report circulating that IBM may layoff 5,000 workers in it's global services division... which is based in RTP. These jobs would be moved to India. Let's hope this is a rumor, because it would be devastating to the region. IBM has been the backbone of RTP for 3+ decades.

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