The Research Triangle Park

The future of great ideas

RTP: Designing the Future of the Research Triangle Park

Planning and Progress

In 1959, the founders of RTP pioneered a new model for conducting R&D: the university-driven research park. Their innovative focus on the link between university, business and government sectors created a groundbreaking innovation model that has since been replicated worldwide.

But models of innovation are never static. To fulfill the ever-changing needs of RTP’s fast-paced global businesses, leaders of the Park continue to invest in design, technology and infrastructure to maximize use of the 7,000-acre park.

In 2012, RTP’s present-day leaders unveiled a new Master Plan: the first in 50 years.

The future lies before us, and we aim to build a place unlike any other: where big ideas can happen and industry, education and innovation can converge and collaborate. An innovation district, at the heart of which will be an iconic structure for all North Carolina, that we call "Archie."

[Download the Master Plan here.]

Our timeline to date:


September, 2010. The Research Triangle Foundation engages Cooper, Robertson & Partners, a preeminent architecture and urban design firm based in New York, to create the RTP Master Plan. CRP assembles a team of highly qualified firms to contribute to various aspects of the Plan, including HR&A (markets & economics), Grimshaw (design), and Buro Happold (sustainable landscapes).


February, 2012. After drafting and initial refinement, the Plan is presented to Park companies, regional public officials, and other key stakeholders. Their input and buy-in was crucial for finalizing the Plan.

Updates to RTP’s state enabling legislation are passed by the NC General Assembly in June of 2012 to allow clustered, mixed-use development in the Park.

Updates to RTP’s general zoning are adopted by Wake and Durham Counties, in September and December of 2012, to allow more development flexibility for Park companies.

November 9, 2012. The master plan is unveiled. At the launch event, the Research Triangle Foundation announces Hines as their new development partner and EE&K as designer for a new mixed-use village in RTP. Master Plan launch event (watch the video here).

November 13, 2012. The Research Triangle Park and its staff embark on a state-wide bus tour ( to reconnect with people across North Carolina. RTP was funded by anonymous donations from everyday people all across NC, and it still serves that mission -- and the entire state. This was a listening tour to serve as a reminder of that service, and that pledge.


In 2013, RTP passes a $1 billion threshhold -- RTP companies have invested over $1 billion in the past 5 years alone.

January 2013. An amendment to the RTP restrictive covenants is adopted, to allow retail and residential buildings in the Research Triangle Park for the first time in its history.

In March of 2013, RTP launches the monthly #RTP180 event series to help celebrate and bring together the Triangle's communities, businesses and universities. To date, 180s sell out with regularity.

May, 2013. The land plan for the mixed-use village approaches finalization. Additional steps in the development process will include negotiating with landowners, securing entitlements, and pursuing financing.

May, 2013 -- a new event series, "1 Million Cups" is launched in collaboration between RTP, UNC LAUNCH and Kauffman Labs (an arm of the Kauffman Foundation). "1MC," a peer-to-peer entrepreneurship forum, continues to meet every week, drawing innovators, investors and other curious minds.

June 1, 2013: Several of the world's best architects fly in to the Research Triangle Park for a design summit -- answering it's call for dreamers.

July 2, 2013: RTP A.R.C.H.I.E. Summit is held at RTP HQ -- everyone in North Carolina is invited to participate in brainstorming for ideas for the future of the Research Triangle Park.

RTP announces that an official term sheet has been signed with Hines as a development partner in November of 2013.

From meeting point to turning point: in November, 2013 RTP acquired the Radisson Hotel (also known as the Governor's Inn).

December 10, 2013: Grubb Properties and Rubenstein Partners team up to acquire the Sony Ericsson Campus in RTP.

December, 12, 2013 - RTP CEO Bob Geolas declares: "2014 is the year you will see action."


January 3, 2014: The Research Triangle Foundation announces the surprise, $17 million purchase of 100 acres of land adjacent to its HQ. This site, "Park Center," will be the new location of the first phase of RTP's anticipated redevelopment.

Want to know more?  Follow along and share your thoughts...

Send your ideas about new development and the future of RTP, as well as questions or comments on the Master Plan, to

Engineers, designers, and other development services professionals who are interested in future opportunities at RTP, can contact

Media professionals interested in covering this story can email RTP's Strategic Communications Advisor, Ruth Sheehan, at

Merely curious? Anyone can follow along on Twitter for a consistent stream of updates -- @TheRTP. We invite RTP companies and other innovators in our region to ReTweet us as they can -- and to Tweet "@TheRTP" if they have exciting news or information they would like us to share.