RALEIGH – The Triangle is the focus of a forthcoming report from Capital Analytics Associates that highlights the factors accelerating the region’s economic growth, including the area’s highly educated workforce, strong life science industry, history as an innovative region, and dynamic and accelerating real estate markets in both commercial and residential property.

The report, Invest: Raleigh-Durham, will be released on Thursday at a two-hour launch event, at which Raleigh Chamber of Commerce  CEO Adrienne Cole will be the keynote speaker.

Cole told WRAL TechWire earlier this week that, in her keynote address, she plans to share the reasons why the Triangle region is “a best bet for companies, investors and talent,” noting that the region is a special place.

WRAL TechWire spoke with the report’s authors and with Cole earlier this week about what the report contains, and why the region is primed to attract investment across industries and sectors.

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  • Prior publications from Capital Analytics note an expansion of the Triangle’s economy.  What are the factors contributing to this expansion? 

Abby Melone, President & CEO, Capital Analytics Associates: There are multiple factors that have contributed to the region’s bustling economy, including the access to world-class talent, which can be attributed to the three renowned anchor universities of North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The leaders of all three institutions were interviewed and are featured in the upcoming publication.

The region’s red-hot real estate market has shown no signs of slowing down and presents a great opportunity for investors.  Raleigh-Durham ranking seventh in the country for its startup ecosystem and sixth nationally as a tech hub have attracted the likes of Fortune 100 companies like Google and Apple to establish and grow a significant presence in the region.  The overall business-friendly environment and overall quality of life both also play a significant factor in the expansion of the Triangle’s economy.

Adrienne Cole, President & CEO, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce: Investment in the Triangle has been very strong with plenty of activity. Our success is a result of years of intentional work. Wake County has had many successes in 2021. Since our fiscal year began in October 2020, we have announced over 5,800 jobs and $3.7 billion in planned new capital investment including expansions by FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and new companies to the market like Amgen, Penny Mac, Invitae, and of course Apple.

Having a vibrant innovation ecosystem of high-potential, high-growth companies is integral to our economic development strategy.

Companies want to come to this area because of the strong ecosystem that already exists here. They want to benefit from the energy of innovation that is present in the Research Triangle. It’s one of those scenarios where a rising tide lifts all ships. Talent attracts talent and innovation breeds more innovation.

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  • So where does the Triangle rank, and why, among regions for potential investment?

Melone: The Triangle should rank among the top regions in the country for potential investment. All of the factors listed in the previous answer create a hotbed for potential investment of all kinds—real estate, technology, healthcare, research—and much of that we’re already seeing in the region.

Cole: We have commissioned an annual study to compare the Raleigh Metro to 100 other US metros for several years now. That analysis has revealed that the Raleigh metro is the most competitive metro in the nation, outperforming other larger communities. The data and information in the Invest report provides great detail as to why Wake County and the entire Research Triangle region is so competitive and why people and businesses thrive here.

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  • What are the major themes that will be presented in the forthcoming report?

Melone: The major themes in the publication are the unprecedented growth and economic fortitude of the Triangle, how both private and public leaders are innovatively tackling the region’s most pressing issues, the resilience that the Triangle has shown over the course of the pandemic and the extraordinary potential for investment in the Triangle over the course of the next five to 10 years.

Cole: The collaborative spirit and connectedness of the Research Triangle region really comes out in this publication. That is certainly not something new but its a pointed reminder of how special, and important, that is to our success as a community.

Our community’s success is a result of years of intentionality and collaboration across our region. Our high quality of life, talent pipeline, education and workforce partnerships and diverse business ecosystem continue to anchor our community as one of the best places to live and work.

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  • What’s the current state of the real estate market, both for commercial properties and residential real estate?

Max Crampton-Thomas, Regional Editor, Capital Analytics Associates: Rapid and sustained population growth coupled with robust investment and relocation of business to the Triangle have boded well for almost all sectors of the real estate market.

The residential market remains red-hot, which has created a great opportunity for seller’s but a lack of inventory has created an imbalance in terms of buyer demand and actual supply.

The region is also grappling with a lack of affordable housing inventory, an issue not uncommon in growing metropolitan areas, particularly given the supply shortage impacting many sectors.

Commercial real estate is firing on all cylinders especially in terms of multifamily, industrial and life science properties, commensurate with the growth of business seen in the region. Even office, which was decimated by the pandemic, has started to show signs of recovery as of 2Q21.

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