Innovation Center Design Approved for Carolina North

Innovation Center

Something besides airplanes is finally off the ground at Carolina North. The UNC trustees have unanimously approved the design of the first building for the satellite campus that has been more than a decade in the planning.

The Innovation Center, which will be built and managed by a private developer, will house the University’s technology transfer office as well as laboratories and other facilities related to getting UNC’s research and private entrepreneurs together.

Unlike much of what is planned for parts of the 1,000-acre tract, the Innovation Center can be built without a zoning change from the town of Chapel Hill and without closing Horace Williams Airport. UNC will need a special-use permit and a zoning compliance permit from the town.

The three-floor, 85,000-square-foot building will have efficiency features related to energy and the environment, including solar panels and metal curtain walls with vertical sun shades. It will have glass facades and a brick entrance and will include public amenities, such as a coffee shop.

It will be built by Alexandria Real Estate Equities of San Francisco near the main entrance to Carolina North off Martin Luther King Boulevard, formerly Airport Road, and is expected to open in the first quarter of 2010.

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