Mayor Bill Bell and County Commission Chair Wendy Jacobs joined leaders from the NC Department of Commerce, Duke University, the Economic Development Partnership of NC and Longfellow Real Estate Partners today to break ground on two landmark new office and research buildings that form the Southern Gateway of the Durham Innovation District (aka Durham.ID).

Fast facts:

  • The buildings – focused primarily on office and technology use, but also including retail and restaurants – will be located on Morris Street between Hunt and Roney in what is currently a large parking lot.
  • Each building – known as 200 Morris (to be occupied by the Duke Clinical Research Institute) and 300 Morris – will reach seven stories, together totaling nearly 350,000 square feet. Renderings are available here.
  • A new eight-story, architecturally screened parking deck will be constructed behind the buildings, accessible from the south and east sides of Roney Street, accommodating approximately 1,200 vehicles. The deck will offer supplemental public parking for community events and the adjacent Downtown Durham Farmers’ Market.
  • Longfellow and its partners expect to complete construction during the summer of 2018.

As circus performers (representing the Bull City’s “big tent”) entertained well-wishers, the project’s many partners and stakeholders donned Durham.ID caps and turned the ceremonial dirt. They included Mayor Bill Bell, NC Secretary of Commerce’s John Hardin (Executive Director, Office of Science, Technology & Innovation), Durham County Commission Chair Wendy Jacobs, Durham Chamber CEO Geoff Durham, Downtown Durham Inc. CEO Nicole J. Thompson, representatives of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University, Duda|Paine Architects, Barnhill Contracting, Measurement Inc. and the developer, Longfellow Real Estate Partners.

New Builds Open New Chapter

The buildings – under construction led by Barnhill Contracting – mark an important milestone for the award-winning Durham.ID, a 15-acre research hub and live-work-play campus that connects dynamic neighborhoods on the west side of the Bull City’s thriving downtown.

To date, execution of the master plan has primarily involved the adaptive reuse of existing buildings, such as the transformation of Carmichael Warehouse into the Triangle’s first urban located Class-A lab building, and of the 1916 Imperial Building into the sleek home of the Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. 200 and 300 Morris are new buildings with a mission to further accommodate the burgeoning demand of innovative tenants in downtown Durham.

Research

Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), the largest academic research organization in the world, has signed a lease to occupy all 160,000 square feet of the office space in 200 Morris.

The DCRI conducts multinational clinical trials, manages major national patient registries and performs outcomes research. DCRI research spans multiple disciplines, from pediatrics to geriatrics, primary care to subspecialty medicine, and genomics to proteomics. With its new location in 200 Morris, DCRI will consolidate operations adjacent to its other offices in the center of innovation activity in downtown.

Longfellow is well along in the process of marketing the remaining 150,000 square feet of office and 20,000 square feet of retail available in 300 Morris, focusing on technology and innovation based enterprises ranging from fast growing start-ups to full building tenants.

Design

Architects from Durham’s Duda|Paine were chosen to design Durham.ID’s new buildings. The firm is headquartered just steps away from the building site, giving its architects unique insight into a project that is further energizing the growth and dynamism of downtown Durham. Design highlights include:

  • The building’s design responds to its industrial warehouse context while using innovative materials, such as metal panels and high performance glass, which speak to the the Innovation District’s forward-thinking vision.
  • A shared plaza between the buildings connects to Morris Green, which will remain a permanent open space on the corner of Fernway Avenue and Morris Street.
  • Along Morris, considered Durham.ID’s ‘Main Street,’ a continuous arcade with ground floor retail will engage the street and nurture a lively pedestrian environment.
  • The project is being designed to U.S. Green Building Building Council LEED Silver standards, seeking innovative solutions to improve our environment and the community.