This story was written for WRAL TechWire partner CBRE | Raleigh.

The Triangle is home to the internationally acclaimed Research Triangle Park. At 7,000 acres, RTP is the largest research park in the country.

It is also home to more than 300 companies, from tech giants like IBM, Cisco and NetApp, to small start-ups in the life sciences. For the past six decades, RTP has focused almost exclusively on building businesses, corporations and research — until now.

Hub RTP, a new mixed-use urban center in the heart of the Park, is one of the most exciting new developments in the Triangle. It will occupy a large block located at the intersection of Davis Drive and NC Highway 54, bordered by I-40. Local commercial real estate company CBRE | Raleigh is managing the leasing of the retail section.

“The Hub RTP project will be the first of its kind in the RTP area. It is one that will provide retail, hotel and residential amenities in a way that supports a full community,” said Charlie Coyne, director of CBRE | Raleigh’s retail services team. “We are excited to be a part of this project and help enhance the nationally acclaimed RTP.”

Hub RTP will be an urban, walkable district offering modern restaurants, retail and other experiences amidst 6 million square feet of proposed office, hotel and residential units (more than 850 units are planned), creating a fusion of vibrant lifestyle amenities and top employers.

Hub visitors can also expect engaging outdoor spaces for the whole family, including a splash pad, large pocket park areas, and other attractions across 13.5 acres of green space.

“For RTP to thrive and attract the best talent, it must offer easily accessible amenities and housing options for its workforce. This is something other top office districts throughout the U.S. offer today,” said Howard Jenkins, a senior vice president with CBRE | Raleigh’s Multifamily team. “Hub RTP will take the Park to the next level in the evolving Triangle marketplace.”

CBRE | Raleigh announced its partnership with Willard Retail, a commercial real estate development firm based in Bethesda, Md., in 2019. Willard Retail signed an agreement with RTP to acquire a 12-acre parcel, which it plans to develop into an amenity-rich retail district.

“Hub RTP and the retail amenities we plan to bring will enhance the region’s success in attracting and retaining an exceptional workforce across growing verticals,” Jenkins continued.

RTP is home to more than 55,000 workers — that’s a lot of people who are looking for things to do in their down time, places to grab a quick lunch or exercise, as well as entertain clients.

Jenkins noted the revitalization and “still early innings growth” of both the Raleigh and Durham downtown areas, but said there are other pockets in the Triangle, like North Hills, that have adapted to what both suburban employees and employers alike want — places to live and things to do in a workplace community that doesn’t feel too generic.

Tiffany Barrier, senior vice president with CBRE | Raleigh’s Retail Services team, explained the Park’s boundaries have previously not allowed for this type of retail or multi-family residential. Durham County, home to Hub RTP, is investing $20 million in site work, with a projected return to County residents of $1.3 billion annually.

Respected new investors and developers alongside the Research Triangle Foundation are making Hub RTP a reality, with work beginning in 2020. Retail and the initial phase of multifamily will deliver in 2022. The planned 2.3 million-square-foot development on the eastern half of the 100-acre Hub RTP project is expected to be completed in 2026, with the ultimate goal of developing 6 million square feet over the full 100 acres.

“Many of the companies in RTP operate in a campus-like setting with limited amenities onsite; but people want to get out, they want places to work remotely in the community. Having such a dynamic space to visit during and after work is crucial,” Barrier said. “With so many employees in and out of the Park each day, that’s a huge economic driver. It is really exciting to work on such a forward-thinking project that will ultimately aid in maintaining the strength of RTP and our region on a national scale as it continues to compete with other parks to attract and retain talent and companies. It’s going to give people in the Triangle who don’t work in RTP a reason to come into RTP.”

Added Jenkins, “Hub RTP is going to deliver thoughtful uses carefully phased over time that will appeal to the highly skilled workforce in RTP and the growing Triangle region as a whole. It will be a destination like no other.”

This story was written for WRAL TechWire partner CBRE | Raleigh.