The establishment of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park was aimed at reversing the “brain drain” of graduates from the area’s top research universities seeking science and engineering jobs in the Northeast and elsewhere.
Beyond providing jobs for North Carolinians, the expansion of IBM into the Park set the stage for an influx of highly-trained workers attracted to the state’s moderate climate and inexpensive housing on large, green lots.
With the weather allowing near-year-round golfing, one will still hear the lifestyle descriptor, “Tees, trees, and PhDs.”
It’s no surprise now that the Park is now home to 170 companies.
The sprawl of cities across the three cities that comprise “the Triangle” – Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill – made RTP a work destination for nearly 40,000 people who would then spend most of their earnings near their homes. Why not? RTP is such a central location: 9 to 11 miles from downtown Durham, 12 to 14 miles from the center of Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina, and 18 to 21 miles from the state capital of Raleigh. Plus, RTP’s early development plan never included housing or retail.
Over the last decade or so, the downtown areas began attracting young professionals back to the cities with redevelopment of old warehouses, mixed-use developments, and a revitalized arts, culture, and restaurant scene. A market began to emerge for more dense and convenient living that continues to expand.
Living and light rail?
The foundation that manages central North Carolina’s 7,000-acre research and technology park acquired a central, 100-acre parcel that is the geographic and figurative center.
The area will also include humanities attractions. Yes, an attempt to make RTP not just a place to live and work, but a place to go.
There is also an anticipated $2 billion in investment with the potential to add up to 100,000 new jobs to the Park. The plan also includes a long-overdue rail path that will connect Park Center with the three vertex cities of the Triangle.
Many predict that Park Center and the other Research Triangle Foundation development plans will work.
- People *love* Research Triangle Park.
- Some people who made it in the Park are now older and richer.
- A truly central location.
- Beautiful environs and existing bike and exercise paths.
- The young energy is already coming there after work hours.
- Low hassle factor for anticipated cultural events.
- People will really live in RTP if they can.