Editor’s note: Local and state officials as well as the Duke Clinical Research Institute and Longfellow Real Estate Partners gathered in Durham on Thursday to break grown on new buildings as part of the Durham Innovation District. Managing Partner Adam Sichol explains what the project means to Durham, the region – and his company. Two seven-story buildings (named North and South) covering almost 350,000 square feet will be constructed on what is now a large parking lot. One of the buildings is already leased. Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) has signed to lease the entire “South Building.” It plans to consolidate other operations around Durham to the new building. The Innovation District could draw as much as $500 million in investment. The project was announced in 2014.

DURHAM – Longfellow Real Estate Partners was born in Boston and today we imported some cool New England air to recognize the expansion of our signature project… The Durham Innovation District.

Almost a decade ago, someone asked us to come to Durham to look at the Research Lab Building, a little old Tobacco Building on the corner of Duke and Main Street. Although we were in the middle of the Great Recession and the conditions on the inside of the building could be described as “grim” at best, Scott Selig at Duke persuaded us to spend some time in Durham and learn more about the Bull City. We listened, we learned and we liked what we saw.

Specifically, we saw:

  • World class institutions and a talented workforce anchored by Duke University, NC Central and Durham Tech
  • One of the largest science and technology clusters in the world, built-in-and-around the Research Triangle Park
  • Scrappy and smart entrepreneurs in the American Underground
  • A progressive City and County government
  • Really great food… and friendly people
  • A City and region that value and are purposeful about diversity and inclusivity

Today, I count Durham as my second home and work here almost every week. Longfellow has approximately 2 million SF in the region and two offices with 8 employees that live and work locally. In addition, we work with hundreds of highly qualified and outstanding local service providers, architects, contractors and subcontractors on an annual basis.
We also take community involvement seriously and participate in youth, education and workforce programs with the YMCA, Office of Workforce Development and Duke TIP. We believe that the only way to build in a community is to become a part of that community.

I am honored to welcome you all here to break ground on the centerpiece of the Durham.ID – 200 and 300 Morris. I’d like to thank all of our hardworking employees for making this day possible, particularly Jessica Brock, Joe Van Saun and Brian Carlisle.

The combined buildings will total more than 330,000 SF of office, research and ground floor retail space. The science and technology companies that will come here will create opportunity for the Durham workforce and game-changing innovation for the world.

At the same time, the Durham.ID will be a place that will knit together Downtown Durham – from Main Street to Geer Street and from West Village to Motorco and Fullsteam. The streets around us, now busy with construction, will bustle with people enjoying restaurants, amenities, green space and some much needed parking.

To the people of Durham… this is your Innovation District and these will be your buildings. Today we are betting on the future of Durham and its people.

A future that is bright and beckoning.