RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Beefing up its commitment to providing more retail and other amenities to Research Triangle Park, the Research Triangle Foundation is bringing a food and beverage complex to the Frontier Campus.

Called Boxyard RTP, the facility is designed to accommodate as many as nine food and beverage outlets plus other retailers and service providers.

And the Foundation is launching the project with its own resources.

“This is a Research Triangle Park Foundation only funded project,” Kristie VanAuken Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement for the Foundation, told WRAL TechWire.

Asked about the often-heard complaint regarding lack of food and entertainment options in the Park, VanAuken concurred and said this effort is in response to those concerns.

“This is the beginning at least,” she explained.

“We expect Boxyard RTP to attract visitors from inside and outside the park. It’ll be a super cool new place to hang out.”

‘Flip the energy switch’

“Boxyard RTP is a workhorse opportunity for RTP and the region,” said Scott Levitan, CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, who is spearheading new development for the Park. “Experimental food, libations and retail, cool programming and event opportunities will flip the energy switch for RTP and our neighborhood communities.”

The complex is expected to open in 2020.

The deal follows the announcement last October that Maryland-based developer, Willard Retail, will build what it calls a new “town center” in the heart of Park.

“Boxyard RTP is an awesome complement to the retail plan in Park Center.,” VanAuken pointed out.

“Boxyard RTP will be hyper local and will allow small, awesome food and beverage concepts to move from a food truck or a home kitchen affordably. Rent/ leasing in  downtown locations can be too expensive for a small entrepreneur. ”

The project will cover 12 acres in the larger area of land designated as Park Center that is adjacent to I-40.

Research Triangle Foundation picks developer to build ‘town center’

“Willard, our retail development partner,  is working to attract a cool mix of new food/beverage and retail options to the Heart of the Park.,” VanAuken said. “Park Center is our future Hub of activity, collaboration, and growth. We will break ground on site improvements (thanks in part to $20M investment by Durham County) in early 2020. ”

Boxyard RTP will be located near the Frontier complex operated by the Foundation near the intersection of Highway 54 and T.W. Alexander Drive.

The Foundation oversees the Park.

Tulsa inspiration

Boxyard RTP was inspired by a similar facility built in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

To be built in part with re-purposed shipping containers, the Foundation says Boxyard RTP will offer “partial kitchen equipment upfits, enabling smaller businesses to focus on preparing food rather than expensive overhead.”

Events and other programs also be offered with “covered areas” for seating.

The Foundation says it is “creating an indoor/outdoor shopping and dining experience to enjoy year round.”

Maverick Partners will work with the Foundation, offering brokerage for potential tenants, the Foundation said.