Innovation Center on Hold Due to Economic Crisis

Innovation Center

Just as earth finally was about to be turned at Carolina North, the first project on the satellite campus has gone into a holding pattern due to the economic slowdown.

The Chapel Hill Town Council was told Monday that Alexandria Real Estate Equities has put UNC’s Innovation Center and its other projects on hold indefinitely. The University has contracted with Alexandria to build a three-floor, 85,000-square-foot building to house its technology transfer office as well as laboratories and other facilities related to getting UNC’s research and private entrepreneurs together.

The contract calls for the San Francisco company to manage the building, which was expected to open in fall 2010.

Jack Evans, executive director of Carolina North, said, “The next move is up to them. They’re going to have to sort out what they can do and on what schedule.” Evans said any plan to go in a different direction would come only if Alexandria decided not to pursue the project.

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.

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