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Research Triangle Park Makes Room For Urban "Park Center" Project

RTP, Research Triangle Foundation
Leoneda Inge

The head of the Research Triangle Foundation announced Thursday they’ve raised enough money to move forward with a major, more urban redevelopment project in Research Triangle Park.

The Research Triangle Foundation has secured $50 million to begin breaking ground on Park Center.  The plan is for this 100-acre property to include two hotels, housing, restaurants and entertainment.

Bob Geolas is President and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, the non-profit that manages RTP.  Geolas says Park Center won’t be another downtown.

“We’ve got a great downtown Durham, we’ve got a great downtown Raleigh. We don’t need another downtown," said Geolas.  "What we need is a great collaboration space and we can tie that with the natural elements that make the Research Triangle Park so special.”

Geolas envisions Park Center as a place where people can stay all day.

“Think about the most collaborative park-like experience that you can.  Think about a place full of trees, landscaping and materials that allows you to have a somewhat urban experience but in a park," said Geolas.

Earlier this week, Durham County commissioners agreed to contribute $20 million towards the project.  The money will be used to build public infrastructure.

Michael Page chairs the county board of commissioners and welcomes the Park Center project.

“When I moved to Durham County, Research Triangle Park was a very quiet community, especially on the weekends," said Page.  But now, we will no longer see that because this project is going to help invest in people living here, working here, playing here.”

To secure the $50 million to begin the urban project, $20 million came from Durham County, $20 million from the Research Triangle Foundation and $10 million from the Durham-Wake Counties Research and Production Service District.

Construction at the 100 acre Park Center will begin next year.    It will be the first development of its kind in RTP since the park was developed 56-years ago.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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