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cityboi

The Piedmont Triad could become an aerotropolis

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Charlotte is known for Banking and Finance. Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill is known for Education, government and research industries. The Triad could be known as an aerotropolis. The Triad may finally have an identity. Having an identity is important because it allows cities to set goals and execute them. This will involve turning to the Triad's roots in part as a major logistical and transportation center. But just what is an aerotropolis? The article explains.

http://www.news-record.com/content/2008/08...an_aerotropolis

Consider this. The FedEx mid-atantic air hub in Greensboro (now under construction) has already played a role in attracting a Dell computer factory to Winston-Salem, a Lenovo computer manufacturing/distribution center in Greensboro, and a Honda jet factory and world headquarters to Greensboro. The hub isnt even open yet so just imagine what the economic landscape in the region will look like in about 10 years after the FedEx hub opens. Its clear aviation, transportation and logistics will be the future of the Triad. The evidence can be seen in more recent news with Mack Trucks moving its headquarters to Greensboro and bringing 500 high paying jobs ($78,000 plus a year). When Honda Jet comes on line, it too will offer jobs to hundreds of people with a salary above $70,000 per year. Increasing the average salary in the region is very important because high salaries help attract things such as high end retail chains (Nordstrom, Saks 5th...ect), more urban large scale construction projects, a growing population, ect. In other words a major urban region with alot of high paying jobs, amenities and better qaulity of life (maybe even Major League Soccer :) ).

But these aviation and logistical industries will actually help spur other type of industries including hitech manufacturing. Bottom line, The Triad will finally have an identity and would compliment the economies of Charlotte and the Triangle. With the combined economies of the state's big three metros working together like an orchestra, North Carolina will become an even more power economic engine. With shipping connections between the Triad and the coastal ports, we could see plenty of ecnomic growth in the Wilmington area as well.

Edited by cityboi

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How can we become an "aerotropolis" with an airport on life support? :P

This is just my opinion, but I think Greensboro is going to be the one that reaps the most out of these future businesses. The PTI area has continually had transportation dollars (the most in the state) pumped into it in hopes of it becoming the new manufacturing/transportation hub of the state. These investments have not cross the Forsyth County line, yet. I'm not trying to pin one city against another, but in order to reach a common goal (or in this case, unify under a common label) everybody must be confident and willing to participate. Right now, that's not the case in Forsyth. Some city leaders I've spoken to feel that Winston always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to their bigger sibling, Greensboro. I explain that this is the projected heart of where our "transportation mecca" will be and investments have to be made there. In their eyes, you cannot invest in one certain area for years and then suddenly call it the regional center. From what I have seen and heard from people I've spoken to, Winston has its sights set on being a center for medical research and regenerative medicine. At our Governmental Affairs meeting yesterday with the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, we touched on the great things Dr. Anthony Atala is currently doing that will put this city on the map. If you want to talk about unreal and incredible things we'll be able to do in the future, imagine being able to regrow an arm or leg for a wounded soldier! Personally, I think this is a safer gamble for the Triad than investing in an industry that will always be needed, yet will have its up's and down's.

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No, the Piedmont Triad will not become an aerotropolis.

Air travel for passengers of modest means is in the beginning of its death throes. PTI has a good shot at being a freight/charter/VLJ for business-only airport within 10 years.

The sooner the Triad region stops betting its future on an industry that is completely dependent on oil, the better it will be. The life sciences stuff practiced at WFU Medical is a much better bet for the future.

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How can we become an "aerotropolis" with an airport on life support? :P

This is just my opinion, but I think Greensboro is going to be the one that reeps the most out of these future businesses. The PTI area has continually had transportation dollars (the most in the state) pumped into it in hopes of it becoming the new manufacturing/transportation hub of the state. These investments have not cross the Forsyth County line, yet. I'm not trying to pin one city against another, but in order to reach a common goal (or in this case, unify under a common label) everybody must be confident and willing to participate. Right now, that's not the case in Forsyth. Some city leaders I've spoken to feel that Winston always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to their bigger sibling, Greensboro. I explain that this is the projected heart of where our "transportation mecca" will be and investments have to be made there. In their eyes, you cannot invest in one certain area for years and then suddenly call it the regional center. From what I have seen and heard from people I've spoken to, Winston has its sights set on being a center for medical research and regenerative medicine. At our Governmental Affairs meeting yesterday with the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, we touched on the great things Dr. Anthony Atala is currently doing that will put this city on the map. If you want to talk about unreal and incredible things we'll be able to do in the future, imagine being able to regrow an arm or leg for a wounded soldier! Personally, I think this is a safer gamble for the Triad than investing in an industry that will always be needed, yet will have its up's and down's.

I think medical research is good for Winston's economy but the city shouldnt put all its eggs in one basket, especially since the Triangle is hub of research in this state so we will always play second fiddle to Raleigh/Durham in that department and that will never change and then add to the fact that just about every city with a big university is building a research park. So its very risky for Winston-Salem to focus solely on medical research. Winston has a banking economy but that industry can be shaky, especially when our larger neighbor to the south (Charlotte) is luring our banks away. BB&T could become a take over target at some point in the future. I think the reason why the Triad has lagged for so long is because we've tried to be like Charlotte and Raleigh. Its like the game follow the leader. The person whos following will always be behind. The Triad needs to set itself apart from those two regions and develop its own identity. Thats the difference in being a leader and a follower. Industries in research can come and go just like textiles and tobbacco but the Triad will always be a logistical center and thats where I would invest my community resources because you will reap greater benefits. I agree that Forsyth should reap benefits from being an aerotropolis and I also think the "Heart of the Triad" Project could be the opportunity to make that happen and to do something no region has ever done before.

No, the Piedmont Triad will not become an aerotropolis.

Air travel for passengers of modest means is in the beginning of its death throes. PTI has a good shot at being a freight/charter/VLJ for business-only airport within 10 years.

The sooner the Triad region stops betting its future on an industry that is completely dependent on oil, the better it will be. The life sciences stuff practiced at WFU Medical is a much better bet for the future.

understand this in MUCH bigger than just increasing passenger air travel. If the Triad embraces the idea of being an aerotropolis and do the things to attract jobs to the region, passenger air travel will take care of itself.

Edited by cityboi

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I think medical research is good for Winston's economy but the city shouldnt put all its eggs in one basket, especially since the Triangle is hub of research in this state so we will always play second fiddle to Raleigh/Durham in that department and that will never change and then add to the fact that just about every city with a big university is building a research park. So its very risky for Winston-Salem to focus solely on medical research. Winston has a banking economy but that industry can be shaky, especially when our larger neighbor to the south (Charlotte) is luring our banks away. BB&T could become a take over target at some point in the future. I think the reason why the Triad has lagged for so long is because we've tried to be like Charlotte and Raleigh. Its like the game follow the leader. The person whos following will always be behind. The Triad needs to set itself apart from those two regions and develop its own identity. Thats the difference in being a leader and a follower. Industries in research can come and go just like textiles and tobbacco but the Triad will always be a logistical center and thats where I would invest my community resources because you will reap greater benefits. I agree that Forsyth should reap benefits from being an aerotropolis and I also think the "Heart of the Triad" Project could be the opportunity to make that happen and to do something no region has ever done before.

understand this in MUCH bigger than just increasing passenger air travel. If the Triad embraces the idea of being an aerotropolis and do the things to attract jobs to the region, passenger air travel will take care of itself.

I don't know if it's because we were trying to be like Charlotte (hell, I think we're still trying to), but our significant downturn was increased by local leaders resting on the area's laurels and textiles moving away. Yes, every city wants research companies and to be known as the "hip-high tech center of innovation," but there are different fields of medicine and biotechnology. There is no doubt that UNC and Duke have an edge over us in medical research; however, with Atala's breakthroughs, a nationally renowned cancer center, and continued investments in the local economy by WFUBMC, we are starting to become competitive. The medical sector can do nothing but grow. There will always be diseases to cure and advancements that need to be made on old treatments. It is beyond believeable that the following technologies are being developed in the Triad:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/stem-cel...80813-3v2o.html

You say that it is risky for Winston to focus on medical research, but what about Greensboro's logistics and transportation hub? When oil is down, jobs are being created and the Greensboro economy is robust, but when it's up, there are layoffs and cutbacks that are detrimental to the local economy. As long as we continue to import 70% of our oil (NOTE: I'm not a proponent of offshore dilling), this type of industry will always be risky. There is no doubt that there will always be things that have to be transported or produced, but in this day and age, where everything depends on oil, it's not wise to continue to pour resources into this unstable sector of the economy. Maybe Greensboro should shift its focus to producing everyday products that emit little to no pollution and run on less oil or alternative fuels? HondaJet is a step in the right direction towards this.

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I don't know if it's because we were trying to be like Charlotte (hell, I think we're still trying to), but our significant downturn was increased by local leaders resting on the area's laurels and textiles moving away. Yes, every city wants research companies and to be known as the "hip-high tech center of innovation," but there are different fields of medicine and biotechnology. There is no doubt that UNC and Duke have an edge over us in medical research; however, with Atala's breakthroughs, a nationally renowned cancer center, and continued investments in the local economy by WFUBMC, we are starting to become competitive. The medical sector can do nothing but grow. There will always be diseases to cure and advancements that need to be made on old treatments. It is beyond believeable that the following technologies are being developed in the Triad:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/stem-cel...80813-3v2o.html

You say that it is risky for Winston to focus on medical research, but what about Greensboro's logisitics and transportation hub? When oil is down, jobs are being created and the Greensboro economy is robust, but when it's up, there are layoffs and cutbacks that are detrimental to the local economy. As long as we continue to import 70% of our oil (NOTE: I'm not a proponent of offshore dilling), this type of industry will always be risky. There is no doubt that there will always be things that have to be transported or produced, but in this day and age, where everything depends on oil, it's not wise to continue to pour resources into this unstable sector of the economy. Maybe Greensboro should shift its focus to producing everyday products that emit little to no pollution and run on less oil or alternative fuels. HondaJet is a step in the right direction towards this.

I think we will be fine. Yes the oil prices are high but remember the oil crisis in the 1970s? It was worse and this nation rebounded. This is eactly why this region should persue becoming a major aerotropolis....

from business NC:

"The Triad appears to have prevailed because of old-fashion capitalism that values its more-centralized location. It's moving up in stature as a cargo center as the FedEx hub nears completion. Logistics Today magazine, in its rating of the 50 top logistics-friendly cities and metropolitan areas, ranked Greensboro-High Point tops in the state and 20th in the Southeast last year, up from 31st in 2005. It passed Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, which slipped from 18th in the Southeast in 2005 to 22nd. Raleigh-Cary came in 28th in the Southeast in the latest ranking."

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa53...07/ai_n21290666

The region already has an advantage over Charlotte and the Triangle in this area so clearly this is the path the Triad needs to take if it wants to become a leader. We have to focus on what we do best. Yes research is very important and Winston-Salem and Greensboro should continue to persue it. But the breakthroughs that can happen in Winston-Salem can happen in just about any city thats invested heavily in medical research. This is not to discourage medical research in Winston-Salem. I just wouldnt bet the farm on it and put all my eggs in one basket when there are plenty of cities much further along in this area. Now if Winston-Salem combines its research economy with an aerotropolis economy, that could give the region an edge in attracting hitech manufacturing in association with the research thats going on in PTRP and even GURP in Greensboro. But having an aerotropolis economy transcends focus on just one or two sectors of an industry. Healthy cities have diverse economies. We have to get rid of the myth that having a logistics economy means having low wage distribution center jobs. Now if that Global TransPark had been built in the Triad instead of Kinston, we would be further along today. I dont think the Global Transpark would have failed if it were built in the Triad. Kinston was just a bad location with bad transporation infrastructure. Kinston needed everything the Triad already has to make that project a success. I understand the reasoning for building it there hoping it would improve the economic situation in eastern NC but sometimes you have to use some common sense and our state leaders didnt use common sense in that matter. Building that Global TransPark in Kinston is alot like building a 2,000 room hotel with a mega convention center in the middle of Kinston hoping that it will attract the nation's biggest conventions.

read this article

(Aerotropolis - The plan was to build one around Kinston’s airport, but market forces blew it off course to Greensboro)

http://www.businessnc.com/index.php?src=di...c881ed40cc7f3fb

Who knows. If the Global Transpark had been built near PTI, the region could have an auto plant today.

Edited by cityboi

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I think as the region grows, in the future each city with probably have their own identiy outisde of the regional Triad identity. Greensboro will be know as a trucking and shipping hub, while Winston will be know for the Piedmont Triad Research Park and Wake Forest University/Medical Center. Greensboro will see growth in and around the airport, while Winston will see growth downtown. I really am amused by the comments some make on this forum especially about cities they are not from. Folks who are not associated with Winston-Salem or the PTRP have no idea what their talking about when it comes to the great things that are going to happen in Winston-Salem because of its association with WFU and the Research Park. I for one live in downtown Greensboro and work in downtown Winston-Salem and I am fully aware of what is going on in each city. To bad Greensboro does not have a PTRP in their downtown. I love downtown Greensboro, but I don't think it will see much growth in the business sector with high paying jobs to support future downtown growth. I have talked to several of the restaurant owners and they all tell me that they are sturggling. I think downtown Greensboro will keeps it identity as a entertainment district, but I serioulsly doubt there will be the kind of growth that is expected in downtown Winston.

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I think as the region grows, in the future each city with probably have their own identiy outisde of the regional Triad identity. Greensboro will be know as a trucking and shipping hub, while Winston will be know for the Piedmont Triad Research Park and Wake Forest University/Medical Center. Greensboro will see growth in and around the airport, while Winston will see growth downtown. I really am amused by the comments some make on this forum especially about cities they are not from. Folks who are not associated with Winston-Salem or the PTRP have no idea what their talking about when it comes to the great things that are going to happen in Winston-Salem because of its association with WFU and the Research Park. I for one live in downtown Greensboro and work in downtown Winston-Salem and I am fully aware of what is going on in each city. To bad Greensboro does not have a PTRP in their downtown. I love downtown Greensboro, but I don't think it will see much growth in the business sector with high paying jobs to support future downtown growth. I have talked to several of the restaurant owners and they all tell me that they are sturggling. I think downtown Greensboro will keeps it identity as a entertainment district, but I serioulsly doubt there will be the kind of growth that is expected in downtown Winston.

I mostly agree with your thoughts on the differences between the cities and their respective future growth. I have said in the past that Greensboro continues to pump money into the unstable manufacturing industry instead of targeting more stable industries. W/S has done a great job with its continued growth and partnership of Baptist Medical and WFU. I think we have a long way to go if we want to be an aerotropolis in Greensboro and we'd better start pumping some serious cash into the aviation industry if that is the direction the city wants to take. We have a ways to go to compete with the likes of Atlanta Hartsfield, Chicago OHare, Beijing International, and Dubai International.

I do however think that it is possible to be involved in the growth and development of more than one city even though you don't live in them all. Especially in an area like the triad where we are looked at as a region and not just as a city.

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I think there are people who have no idea what kind of impact FedEx is going to have on the region. This is more than just Greensboro being a "trucking and shipping hub". Again I say neither city is going to be able to compete with cities such as Charlotte and Atlanta going it alone. Greensboro and Winston-Salem are not two different countries hundreds of miles a part. I think both cities can have a collective identity focused around being an aerotropolis. PTRP is a great development for Winston-Salem and GURP is a great research park development or Greensboro. But lets face it. Neither of those developments can hold a candle to whats already happening in RTP and some research parks. They are already ahead of the curve and will always be the hub for research and development. Again I state, both research parks in GSO and W-S will still be a boon for the local economy and PTRP fits nicely with the urban fabric of downtown Winston-Salem but thats not where I would put ALL of my focus. Not everyone wants to work in a research park. Again its all about having a diverse economy which is what being an aerotropolis can accomplish. Cities cant focus just on one or two sectors of an industry. Thats where Greensboro and Winston-Salem went wrong in the first place. Greensboro focused on textiles while Winston-Salem focued on Tobbacco. When the textiles jobs went to Mexico, there was no other industry to fall back on.

Edited by cityboi

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There is strength in diversifying the local economic base. This isn't a case of either/or, it's a case of both/and. Each city in the Triad should continue to build upon its strengths and that in turn makes the region stronger. I seriously doubt that either PTRP or GURP will reach the heights of RTP, but that's not the point. They will help to round out the local economies of the cities in which they are located.

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im not a big fan of labels. to me, people, like the guy form UNC, tend to get eager when similar businesses open in close proximity in a short period of time. sure, its impressive and exciting. but it being deemed as the next hot spot for growth via a fancy name? this idea may come true but its a little too early...especially when air travel is declining

If Guilford really wants the Triad to become an "Aerotropolis", and want all 3 cities to benefit, then lets start some initiatives for Smith-Reynolds/North Liberty corridor. if I see Greensboro and High Point market and offer incentives for aviation/distribution companies to locate at the Airport Business Park over here, then I would buy this idea as a new identiy for the region. honestly, its only fair since Winston has supported HondaJet, and now Fed-EX's new proposal for K-ville in Guilford County. but still, its too early.

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im not a big fan of labels. to me, people, like the guy form UNC, tend to get eager when similar businesses open in close proximity in a short period of time. sure, its impressive and exciting. but it being deemed as the next hot spot for growth via a fancy name? this idea may come true but its a little too early...especially when air travel is declining

If Guilford really wants the Triad to become an "Aerotropolis", and want all 3 cities to benefit, then lets start some initiatives for Smith-Reynolds/North Liberty corridor. if I see Greensboro and High Point market and offer incentives for aviation/distribution companies to locate at the Airport Business Park over here, then I would buy this idea as a new identiy for the region. honestly, its only fair since Winston has supported HondaJet, and now Fed-EX's new proposal for K-ville in Guilford County. but still, its too early.

Well there you go. Another way for Winston to benefit is to promote its Smiths Reynolds Airport as a place for business expansion and some logistical operations. There is a planned toll freeway that will run parallel to I-40 between Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The freeway will connect PTI with Smiths Reynolds. That would be an excellent corridor for aerotropolis related industries. Remember, industry doesnt always have to cluster immediately around the airport. In fact in some aerotropolis, industry has relocated as far away as 30 miles from the airport. The Triad has an excellent interstate system and with commuter rail on the horizon in the next 15 years or so, I think there wont be a problem at all with Winston-Salem sharing the benefits.

Edited by cityboi

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I sense this thread is getting poisoned with the "my city is better than your city" meme... here we go again.

The Global Transpark in Kinston was/is a flawed experiment in bureaucratic site selection. Global Transpark and Greensboro's FedEx facility are essentially the same thing. They are both sorting and distribution nodes that facilitate 'just in time' inventorying and enable companies to operate without warehouses. FedEx's location was selected by market forces to attain proximity to markets, skilled labor, and regional quality of life. Global Transpark's location selection was perverted by politics in the form of the States' desire to re-invigorate Eastern NC's economy.

But the breakthroughs that can happen in Winston-Salem can happen in just about any city thats invested heavily in medical research. This is not to discourage medical research in Winston-Salem. I just wouldnt bet the farm on it and put all my eggs in one basket when there are plenty of cities much further along in this area.

What other cities' research activities are on the 'cutting edge' of regenerative medicine?

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I thought the same thing about the Global Transpark. I would be wary of investing too many dollars into an industry that has seen better times. From an environmentalist's point of view, how many roads does the Triad really need? We'll have:

2775578861_3b6868f130_o.jpg

I-40

I-73

I-74

I-77

I-85

I-274

I-285

I-785

I-840

Not to mention Business 40, Business 85, and roads that could be signed as an interstate (421 & Triad Toll Connector). We'll have just about as many interstates as the Tri-State Region (NY/NJ/CT). For a metro area with about 1.5 million citizens, we'll have roughly 550 miles of interstates in Davie, Yadkin, Surry, Forsyth, Davidson, Guilford, Rockingham, Stokes, Randolph, and Alamance Counties. I would call this absurd. What happens if our best laid plans go awry? If the system gets built out completely and manufacturing/logistics goes through another round of outsourcing, we'll have about 1/2 of 1000 miles of interstates to maintain. :scared:

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The Global Transpark was suppose to be more than a regional sorting air hub for bulk mail. It was supposed to be a complex that would attract all sorts of companies, including FedEx. State leaders wanted to see a number of fortune 500 companies move to the complex. I mean it was pie in the sky kinda stuff for a community with no infrastructure for it. Now they must have been smoking something if they believed that was going to happen but the concept of the Global Transpark was bigger than just a bulk sorting hub. People here are missing the point. The point I was making is that Greensboro and Winston-Salem should not concentrate on just one particular industry. Others here seem to indicate that Winston-Salem doesnt need to be a part of a regional aerotropolis because its doing fine with research and medicine.

But just to name a few. The Triangle already leads the state in biotechnology research. Madison, Wisconsin is building a downtown research park. Richmond, VA has a downtown research park devoted to medical research. The park there already has more than 2,000 scientists, researchers, engineers and technicians in fields that include drug development, medical diagnostics, biomedical engineering, forensics and environmental analysis. The research park in Richmond is part of a downtown revitalization effort and also has "satellite parks" for the main downtown park that can accommodate larger companies on suburban campuses in the Greater Richmond area. There are already two satellte parks in the Richmond. The downtown research park in Richmond has more than 50 biosciences companies and research institutes.

The North Carolina Research Park in downtown Kannapolis will eventually become a 350 acres research park and its expected that over 100 biotechnology companies will be based there. The complex will incorporate corporate, academic, commercial, and residential space. (sounds a whole lot like the PTRP master plan, but 150 acres larger) UNC Chapel Hill happens to be supporting the Kannapolis research park project even though its in the Charlotte region. Certainly UNC's support will give that park alot of clout.

There are also a number of biotech research parks in California, Boston has one, Memphis has a $300 million biotech/medical research park and the list goes on.

link to the bio research park in Memphis which is being built in 6 phases over a 10 year period. It too is an urban research park devoted to medical/biotechnology research. In fact The downtown research park is at the heart of a city-wide bioscience development strategy for Memphis.

bioresearchpark.jpgimg-aboutus_1.jpg

http://www.utbaptistresearchpark.com/

Whats the point of me listing other research parks? While pursusing this is absolutly great, it shouldnt be the only focus for economic development in any city. Everybody is doing this and there is alot of competition out there for these research companies, especially within North Carolina. That was my whole point. I was making the point that this region would have a more diverse economy if it became an areotropolis. The more diverse the economy is, the more jobs the region will have.

But it seems that the attitude is that Greensboro and Winston-Salem need to go their seperate ways. On the contrary, the discussion is more about the two cities working together for one common goal. But some want the two cities to continue to stick their nose up at each other.

Edited by cityboi

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I thought the same thing about the Global Transpark. I would be wary of investing too many dollars into an industry that has seen better times. From an environmentalist's point of view, how many roads does the Triad really need? We'll have:

I-40

I-73

I-74

I-77

I-85

I-274

I-285

I-785

I-840

It will all pay off too. I know it seems like its bad because many say it increases sprawl and makes us rely more and more on our cars. But the interstate network is whats going to help bring the jobs here like the railroad did in the early 20th century. Its going to give the Triad a strategical advantage. Its one of the BIG reasons FedEx, Dell and others moved to the area.

Edited by cityboi

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But it seems that the attitude is that Greensboro and Winston-Salem need to go their seperate ways. On the contrary, the discussion is more about the two cities working together for one common goal. But some want the two cities to continue to stick their nose up at each other.

Bummer, thats the hurdle for sure.

Richmond and Winston-Salem are near parallel in their transition from cancer cause to cancer cure.

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I think the idea of the area being labeled an 'aretropolis' is great (if you go for these expert created labels.) However, the benefits of this with the FEDEX hub are mainly being felt by Greensboro, High Point, Kernersville/E. Forsyth, and Alamance County. Winston-Salem is, again, to far out of the loop to garner big benefits from this and hence needs to focus on other areas.

As far as the argument over biotech research parks, yes there are many already up and running and many in development, but it is a field of the future and I think Winston-Salem has a firm footing here and that the PTRP will be a success. However, W-S is fostering other industry, from manufacturing to IT backoffice. I think the city is doing a good job of diversifying our economy here.

I don't think this is a case of city vs city, it's more a case of reality. If Winston-Salem threw it's complete support behind this, most of the actual growth would still occur in Guilford County. We have to look at other options.

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I think the idea of the area being labeled an 'aretropolis' is great (if you go for these expert created labels.) However, the benefits of this with the FEDEX hub are mainly being felt by Greensboro, High Point, Kernersville/E. Forsyth, and Alamance County. Winston-Salem is, again, to far out of the loop to garner big benefits from this and hence needs to focus on other areas.

As far as the argument over biotech research parks, yes there are many already up and running and many in development, but it is a field of the future and I think Winston-Salem has a firm footing here and that the PTRP will be a success. However, W-S is fostering other industry, from manufacturing to IT backoffice. I think the city is doing a good job of diversifying our economy here.

I don't think this is a case of city vs city, it's more a case of reality. If Winston-Salem threw it's complete support behind this, most of the actual growth would still occur in Guilford County. We have to look at other options.

I dont think Winston-Salem is too far to benefit from being an aerotropolis. I think Dell makes the case for that. Without the airport and maybe even without the help of FedEx, Dell would not be in Winston-Salem today. Just because the airport is in Greensboro, that doesnt mean all the industry is going to set up in Greensboro near the airport. Also most major aerotropolises can extend as far as 30 miles from the airport. And Again I think converting the Smith Reynolds airport to a major business complex (keeping flights operational) would benefit Winston-Salem as well. There is this myth that aerotropolises attracts only low paying distribution jobs which in fact they can attract alot of white collar corporate jobs and high paying hitech manufacturing jobs. But when I say the Triad needs to become an aerotropolis, I mean it needs to be a "well planned" development that will help foster new companies and bring plenty of high paying jobs and not sporadic unplanned development.

As for the research park, I have no doubt it will be a succesful development its great for downtown Winston-Salem and will lead to alot of downtown residential developments. A key to have a strong and vibrant downtown are jobs, jobs, jobs and PTRP will provide that. But I guess it depends on the goal of PTRP's planners. Is the park intended to be a regional park here in the Triad as its name indicates or is it intended to become a major research park in the United States? If its the later, it may be a little tough to compete because there are so many research parks out there already and the ones that are under construction and on the drawing boards. I think the cities that will benefit the most are the cities that started on the path 40 or 20 years ago where there is already a strong base and reputation for being a research and development hub.

Edited by cityboi

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Talk about putting all of our eggs in one basket: thats a bunch of asphalt to maintain and all that highway mileage will burden our communities with high maintenence costs in the years to come. 21st century problems serviced by 20th century solutions... [sigh].

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There is a considerable level of denial in this thread about the vulnerability of fossil-fuel intensive industries. (aviation, trucking) Aviation, broadly speaking, is in deep trouble for passenger transport, and is increasingly going to be in trouble for air freight.

The situation we are in today is not remotely like that of the 1970s. The 70s oil shock was political in nature, or false in terms of actual resource supplies, and this one is fundamental in terms of resource constraints. That which we face today is geology running into the forces of increasing demand (India, China, Eastern Europe) and falling supply.

Anyone interested in understanding the depth and seriousness of the energy challenges we face should read the Overview of Peak Oil at The Oil Drum.

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Interesting discussion going here. I will put in my two cents.

I think its easy to think of gasoline guzzling big rigs going down the interstates and think of an old economy. However, I argue that we will always need the ability to move goods. That gasoline guzzling big rig will soon be replaced by an alternative fuel driven rig. Our highways will be used well into the future yet in cleaner and more sustainable ways.

Personally I have no interest in seeing the Piedmont Triad become a large metropolitan area. What I would like to see is a healthy and diverse economy. In that regard we don't have to be the biggest and best at anything. We only have to be good at a number of things. Research parks are great. Logistical operations are great. A mix of industries which will provide employment for everyone is what I like to see.

I also think the hopes for any focus industry is for it to generate jobs outside of itself. When you bring in companies in one type of industry you can expect spill over growth in non-related industries. So what is good for research will have a positive effect on other areas of the economy. Just like what is good for logistics will have a positive effect on other areas of the economy.

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Others here seem to indicate that Winston-Salem doesnt need to be a part of a regional aerotropolis because its doing fine with research and medicine.

The North Carolina Research Park in downtown Kannapolis will eventually become a 350 acres research park and its expected that over 100 biotechnology companies will be based there. The complex will incorporate corporate, academic, commercial, and residential space. (sounds a whole lot like the PTRP master plan, but 150 acres larger) UNC Chapel Hill happens to be supporting the Kannapolis research park project even though its in the Charlotte region. Certainly UNC's support will give that park alot of clout.

There are also a number of biotech research parks in California, Boston has one, Memphis has a $300 million biotech/medical research park and the list goes on.

Whats the point of me listing other research parks? While pursusing this is absolutly great, it shouldnt be the only focus for economic development in any city. Everybody is doing this and there is alot of competition out there for these research companies, especially within North Carolina. That was my whole point. I was making the point that this region would have a more diverse economy if it became an areotropolis. The more diverse the economy is, the more jobs the region will have.

But it seems that the attitude is that Greensboro and Winston-Salem need to go their seperate ways. On the contrary, the discussion is more about the two cities working together for one common goal. But some want the two cities to continue to stick their nose up at each other.

Sure, those cities have successful research parks, but they are focused on different fields of medicine. Wake Forest Health Sciences, the W-S Chamber of Commerce, and PTRP worked hard to attract Dr. Atala because of his promising work at Harvard Children's Hospital. His work there involved growing human tissues and organs to replace those damaged by disease or defects. This work became important due to shortages in the organ-donor program. WFU Health Sciences knew they needed a leading doctor in regenerative medicine to jumpstart their program in order to become competitive with the schools and research parks you mentioned. After the Dean Biomedical Research Building opened, it became one of the world’s largest research facilities dedicated to regenerative medicine. He is currently working on tissue replacement projects for blood vessels and nerves, muscles, cartilage and bones, esophagus and trachea, pancreas, kidneys, liver, and the heart.

The Kannapolis Research Park is a perfect example of a "build it and they will come" mentality. PTRP is a research park/city concept and sustainable development through innovation. This new park attracted companies, GlycoMark and Onconix, from PTRP in 2006, but one of them, GlycoMark, decided to move back to Winston in July. Least we forget Targacept, who is developing a new class of drugs for the treatment of multiple diseases and disorders of the central nervous system. They have recently signed a deal with AstraZeneca to develop these sorts of medications for them.

In recent months, here are some headlines that have come out of PTRP:

"Southeast TechInventures of Research Triangle Park will base its new Triad operations out of Winston-Salem, where it will help foster growth among local startups."

"Stantec Consulting, is working on a plan to create the Triad International Bioscience Business Center at PTRP"

"BioNetwork will locate a $1.5 million, high-tech analytical instrumentation training center for the pharmaceutical industry in Winston-Salem"

Not to mention that PTRP has decided to make all of its future buildings LEED certified and have the Department of Defense as an anchor for the Soldier Institute.

Let's all face the facts, Forsyth County has not had the investments in its infrastructure like the PTI area to become part of the "aerotropolis." If you want to get to the nitty-gritty of it, Greensboro's goal is to have all of these aeronautics companies located around the 68/I-40 intersection. They want the the bragging rights and tax dollars. There's nothing wrong with that. Do we see the two counties coming together to form an aerospace research campus on the border? No, but this is what it will take if we wish to have this term. Clearly, the only area that will be the aerotropolis is between Sandy Ridge Road and the Greensboro Beltway and Bryan Boulevard/I-73 and Piedmont Parkway. Winston can have its regnerative medicine and Greensboro can have the aerospace companies. This isn't a direct question to anybody, but why do we have to rally together under a term that clearly has nothing to do with the region's history? This is a branding term that screams of '80's and '90's marketing fads. It's not that I'm against regional unity (the whole premise of my "Jealousy in the Triad" thread was to promote this cause), it's just that Greensboro and Winston-Salem are each marketing themselves for two different economies that are not related at all. The two cities will continue to feed off of each other just as they always have.

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Not to mention that PTRP will be the only LEED certified research park in the country

Clemson's International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville and USC's Innovista research campus in downtown Columbia already have LEED-certified buildings.

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