Jul 13, 2023 - Development

Plans filed for new “Innovation District” lab building at N.C. State

An aerial view of N.C. State's Centennial Campus. Photo: N.C. State University

As part of a push to bring more private companies to N.C. State’s Centennial Campus, developer Lincoln Harris has submitted plans for a new lab building.

Why it matters: Centennial Campus has been one of N.C. State's and Raleigh's strongest economic drivers in recent years, helping the school expand its engineering program and become a landing spot for several tech companies.

  • Firms like ABB have long had a presence on the campus and tech companies like Red Hat and Bandwidth have used it as a launching pad before growing into much larger enterprises.

Of note: When Amazon was considering Raleigh during its HQ2 tours, the company pitched the idea of building high-rise towers near Centennial Campus.

Catch up quick: N.C. State won a rezoning from the city in 2021 that would allow for it to significantly expand its Centennial Campus, including adding buildings up to 28 stories tall on parts of it.

  • The school is billing the vision as its "Innovation District," which will eventually be a 30-acre dense, urban area featuring lab and office spaces, and potentially housing options.

Details: The first lab building would be located on the campus' Block 07, which sits just north of the school's new Plant Sciences Building.

Between the lines: The office market has changed dramatically in recent months, as remote work continues to hold great traction. The former Citrix office, which sits completely empty now in downtown Raleigh, is a prime example of the struggles facing the sector.

  • But lab space, like the school is proposing, has proved more resilient, since such work must typically be done in person.
  • Downtown Raleigh is now even considering recruiting more lab developers as a way to revive foot traffic.

What we're watching: A construction timeline is not yet known, as the project still needs approval from the city.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to say that the developer Lincoln Harris (not N.C. State) has submitted plans for N.C. State’s new lab building.


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