NC State University has selected Wexford Science & Technology LLC to begin negotiations for the next phase of public-private development on NC State’s Centennial Campus. The 32-acre site sits on the northeastern end of the campus near the Engineering II and Golden Leaf Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center buildings.
Created more than 30 years ago, NC State’s Centennial Campus is a nationally renowned public-private research and innovation hub where students, faculty, government and industry partners collaborate to advance North Carolina and the nation. Adjacent to the university’s main campus in Raleigh, Centennial is home to more than 75 companies, government agencies and industry partners who work alongside 75 university research centers, institutes, laboratories and departments.
“Centennial Campus has become an important economic driver for the region and a real differentiator for the State of North Carolina since it was first conceived by bipartisan state and university leaders more than 30 years ago,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson.
“We see the next phase of development as an important step toward fulfilling their vision by creating more jobs, educating more students who are better prepared for the workforce, and launching more products, technologies and ultimately companies that are born from the collaboration of industry partners with our world-class researchers.”
NC State invited development firms to respond to a Request for Qualifications for the project in July 2017. Following a comprehensive review and evaluation process, the university selected Wexford to be granted an exclusive right to begin negotiations.
Wexford works exclusively with universities, academic medical centers and research institutions to envision, develop and program highly activated environments that combine research, discovery, entrepreneurial activity and corporate engagement. Wexford was selected due to its experience in creating university-centric innovation districts across the country, including with the University of Pennsylvania at uCity Square in Philadelphia, Washington University in St. Louis at Cortex Innovation Community, and the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore.
Wexford has also developed The Chesterfield in downtown Durham, which contains innovation space for Duke University, and has developed more than 1.1 million square feet in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem.
“Wexford conveyed a deep understanding of developing and maintaining entrepreneurial hubs built on a foundation of research, discovery and entrepreneurial activity, which is the foundation we seek for the expanding public-private partnership on Centennial Campus,” said Scott Douglass, NC State’s vice chancellor for finance and administration. “In addition, Wexford has demonstrated a strong commitment to North Carolina and the economic development of regional and state economies.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with NC State on the next phase of development on Centennial Campus,” said Wexford president Dan Cramer. “We believe this represents a transformational opportunity not only to construct additional space for research, start-up and corporate activities, but also to create a catalytic, innovative, activated environment that brings researchers, entrepreneurs, corporate innovators and the community together into a place where they can live, work, play, learn and discover.”
In the coming weeks, NC State and Wexford will begin mapping out specific development and programmatic engagement plans. If the negotiations are successful, NC State could sign agreements by the fall and construction could begin by late 2019 or early 2020. Complete build out of the site would be expected to take between 10-20 years.
The spaces to be created as a part of the ongoing Centennial development will enhance the university’s framework for innovation in all phases of education, research and business, and include office space, laboratories, incubators, accelerators, shared work and maker spaces, as well as spaces for events and programming.
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