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Research Triangle Park (RTP) & the Triangle Biotech Cluster


DanRNC

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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.

I think it's more like "will" lay off workers... The Wall Street Journal has an article on that. I have a family member that works in that area. Hoping it doesn't affect her... What's disturbing about the whole scenario is that IBM is seeking stimulus money, yet its US workforce is shrinking and they are sending jobs overseas to India.

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  • 1 month later...

  • 2 months later...

This seems to be the best fit for this, so I"ll put it here...

Red Hat has moved up in the world....they are going to be replacing the faultering CIT Group on the S&P 500, making them the second Triangle-based business to be listed there! Progress-Energy is the other listed there. This will only raise Raleigh's profile even more.

http://www.newsobserver.com/business/story/1612209.html

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  • 4 months later...

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.

To resurrect this discussion, here's an article from BusinessWeek magazine about RTP being retooled a bit to include some residential/retail in order to remain competitive in an age where urban research parks are successfully taking root all around the world. There's also an article about this trend of "urban innovation," which mentions RTP:

Say "science park" to most Americans and they probably will think of beautifully landscaped campuses of low-rise buildings on the outskirts of a city, where researchers commute to their cubicles each morning and fight the evening traffic to return home. For 50 years the prototype was Research Triangle Park—an 11-sq.-mile district snuggled into the piney hills outside of Durham, N.C., with such multinational tenants as IBM (IBM) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

No longer. Today's high-tech meccas are being constructed deep inside major cities. Michael Joroff, an urban-planning guru at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dubs them "new century cities." Their goal, says Joroff, an adviser to projects in South Korea, Britain, Sweden, and Abu Dhabi, is to "kick-start high-priority industries with new spaces where companies and universities can work together and develop the next generation of workers."

Planners also hope to tap into the "new urbanism" movement by offering plenty of amenities where scientists, entrepreneurs, and creative types from an array of industries can intermingle and, with a bit of serendipity, cross-pollinate ventures. "To be a neurocenter of the knowledge economy, fiber and telecom are not enough," says Josep Miquel Piqué, [email protected]'s chief executive. "You also need things like good food, wine, and aesthetics."

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That second paragraph starts to sound like Centennial Campus. Centennial of course having the student/private partnerships and some small amount of private housing, still is not of course the true urban set up the article really is talking about. Its almost like the Centennial planners got out of the gate too soon or didn't fully see where the future was heading...

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It looks like RIM, the maker of the Blackberry Smartphone, has the area in its crosshair for opening a campus. They apparently were in the area recently interviewing and had a dot on the Triangle on their map of RIM locations. The article speculates that they could possibly be looking to snatch up skilled employees laid off by Sony-Ericsson, as they have apparently done in other places where Motorola and others have laid people off. That would really be a big boost to our tech sector here, after the large number of layoffs we have seen :)

http://www.newsobserver.com/business/story/232124.html

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  • 3 weeks later...

It looks like RIM, the maker of the Blackberry Smartphone, has the area in its crosshair for opening a campus. They apparently were in the area recently interviewing and had a dot on the Triangle on their map of RIM locations. The article speculates that they could possibly be looking to snatch up skilled employees laid off by Sony-Ericsson, as they have apparently done in other places where Motorola and others have laid people off. That would really be a big boost to our tech sector here, after the large number of layoffs we have seen :)

http://www.newsobserver.com/business/story/232124.html

Looks like RIM is making it semi-official. They are moving into RTP. No word on the number of jobs they will create. More good news for the local economy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

GPS maker Garmin has announced that they will be opening an R&D center in the Triangle. Apparently from a statement Garmin made, they, like RIM has done, is moving in to take avantage of the pool of laid off engineers from Sony-Ericsson and others. The company is looking for space and wants to set up shop ASAP, so this will be a quick addition of about 40 jobs back to the tech pool here. They also hinted that more jobs could come as business increases again. Another vote of confidence from the tech sector for the Triangle!

http://www.newsobser...ory/281473.html

Edited by Gard
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  • 6 months later...

A Canadian vaccine maker, MedicaGo, has announced that they are opening a vaccine plant in RTP, adding another biotech company to the portfolio already here in the Triangle. The company will employ 85 people and states that they chose the Triangle over two other locations because of the high-tech workforce available here. The company currently only employs 90 people, all in Canada, so there is the possibility that the Triangle could become the US HQ as the company grows.

http://blogs.newsobserver.com/business/rtp-attracts-new-vaccine-plant

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Research Triangle Foundation has decided to re-vision RTP for the first time since 1959:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/08/27/650707/rtp-foundation-preparing-new-master.html#storylink=misearch

It's an interesting time for RTP. Nortel (at one time the park's second-largest employer) is nearly out of business, and Sony Ericsson is shutting down here. IBM's headcount in RTP has been flat at best. GSK headcount is trending down, and Cisco hasn't been growing recently either.

Meanwhile, development and annexation have essentially surrounded RTP and prevent the park from expanding its boundaries. A number of office parks with less restrictive covenants have sucked off many of the smaller employers like Lenovo. Although the park's common area at NC 54 near Davis Drive was renovated, it hasn't been successful. Some of the original buildings in RTP, like the Hercules facility, aren't attractive to new companies and lie idle -- or have been razed already, like part of the original EPA complex.

The good news is that the Triangle remains attractive to corporations and RTP enjoys easy access to RDU. Roads into the park are much better than 25 years ago. The park still has a lot of undeveloped land; if the covenants were revised to allow higher density, the park could probably accommodate many times its current headcount. Of course, that would require some type of mass transit into the park.

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The Research Triangle Foundation has decided to re-vision RTP for the first time since 1959:

http://www.newsobser...rylink=misearch

It's an interesting time for RTP. Nortel (at one time the park's second-largest employer) is nearly out of business, and Sony Ericsson is shutting down here. IBM's headcount in RTP has been flat at best. GSK headcount is trending down, and Cisco hasn't been growing recently either.

Meanwhile, development and annexation have essentially surrounded RTP and prevent the park from expanding its boundaries. A number of office parks with less restrictive covenants have sucked off many of the smaller employers like Lenovo. Although the park's common area at NC 54 near Davis Drive was renovated, it hasn't been successful. Some of the original buildings in RTP, like the Hercules facility, aren't attractive to new companies and lie idle -- or have been razed already, like part of the original EPA complex.

The good news is that the Triangle remains attractive to corporations and RTP enjoys easy access to RDU. Roads into the park are much better than 25 years ago. The park still has a lot of undeveloped land; if the covenants were revised to allow higher density, the park could probably accommodate many times its current headcount. Of course, that would require some type of mass transit into the park.

I agree. I work in the RTI campus which has just put up two new buildings in as many years, but the rest of the RTP seems to be slowly declining. I'm sure once the economy picks up again this will have a direct impact on the park. I'm glad to see that people are paying attention to the area though and moving towards making it a better place. As for mass transit, I couldn't be more for that. That north raleigh to rtp commute blows.

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Well, the commute into RTP is better than it was when I moved here in 1986. At that time there were only two-lane country roads. Despite the congestion on I-540, it's faster today than it once was. Safer too.

Most of the construction in RTP in the last 15 years has been along or south of Hopson Road. Those areas still look good. A few of the older buildings, like the American Assoc. of Textile Chemists and Colorists at Cornwallis & Davis, have a nice retro appearance. Some of the other buildings, however, like the former TUCC aren't holding up well.

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  • 1 year later...

I say let all unused parcels in RTP go to park space. Demolish vacant buildings and convert to open space. Concentrate all new building construction in downtowns of Durham and Raleigh. This would create dense urban centers that people can commute to via light rail and commuter rail, while preserving open natural space between the two cities. RTP will never be urban and even light rail lines will have limited success due to the sprawling nature. Only possibility for succes would be if 5 major corporations decide to construct campuses together as part of a master plan. Odds?

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Three types of undeveloped space in the park: (1) parcels whose title still rests with the RTP Foundation, (2) parcels that have been purchased fromthe RTP Foundation by an owner who hasn't built anything yet, and (3) parcels that have at least one building already but have lots of undeveloped acreage because of restrictive covenants forcing low density. Not a lot of #1 and #2, but lots of #3. There are some vacant buildings but not that many in RTP itself. Occupancy of adjacent properties that aren't formally in RTP is a different question.

One problem faced by RTP going forward is competition from Raleigh (both downtown and the Centennial Campus) and Durham (e.g. American Tobacco complex).

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RTP realizes that Durham has really become a competitor as an incubator and DT Raleigh is trying to get in the game now http://research.ncsu.edu/innovation/ as well as massive efforts in other locales including NYC to build up this sector. RTP know they are going to have to up their game now. While they have been uber successful at recruiting large companies, they haven't been so focused on startups that don't need nearly as much space as most of the current tenants.

Edited by DanRNC
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Agreed. At the earliest stages, RTP may have had an entrepreneurial interest (before it was cool to do so) -- but this went out the door as soon as IBM agreed to move here in 1965. For the next 40 years, RTP favored large organizations. They did turn one old building on Davis Drive into a small business incubator, but otherwise they stuck to their big-organization path. And for a long time, that was highly successful: EPA, Glaxo, BW, Nortel, Cisco, etc. Without those large organizations, the Triangle as we know it today really wouldn't exist.

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  • 3 months later...

Article on Triangle Business Journal mentions the possibility of a RTP campus of Wake Tech Comm College in Morrisville. Just what we need, more people commuting (99% driving) on I-40. I really wish they would consider downtown Raleigh instead.

http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/print-edition/2012/05/18/rtp-college-campus-could-become-reality.html

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WakeTech in Morrisville makes plenty of sense. More people live in Cary, Morrisville, and Apex today (200,000) than lived in Raleigh in 1980 when the WakeTech campus near Fuquay-Varina was being expanded.

It's fine to be a proponent of downtown Raleigh, but the reality is that fewer than half of Wake County residents live in Raleigh -- and that percentage has been dropping consistently for 30 years now.

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