The campus lands along Main Street west of the railroad to Route 4 are a primary gateway to campus with open agricultural lands to the north and sports fields to the south. These functions have been essential parts of the University’s heritage and our planning looks at ways to enhance these functions for the future. At the same time development opportunities are appearing from outside entities interested in partnering with the University. This concept has been discussed for many years in a limited fashion, but in this Campus Master Plan effort it is being considered more broadly to determine what University lands would be most suitable for public-private development of various types – research/incubator/entrepreneurial, hotel, workforce/family housing, retail, etc.
As we think about these possibilities internally at first, we will prepare to engage the Durham community and the regional community as our ideas come into focus. Because these would be private developments they would be required to pay taxes and to comply with all local land use regulations that the University in general does not need to do. So it is essential that we identify in this Campus Master Plan update process the potential lands that could be privately developed in partnership with the University, so that productive discussions about specific development concepts can occur in the future.
Our consideration and evaluation of Public-Private Venture opportunities is a work in progress. In response to comments and questions we are receiving, we want to clarify that:
There have been several meetings with campus leaders and representatives of COLSA and Athletics to begin evaluating all of the lands along Main Street and Mast Road for the potential development capability. A strategy to focus potential public-private development onto certain parcels of University lands has been put forward in the Campus Master Plan update process for our further evaluation. There is no specific sequence, time frame, or priority to this strategy at this point in the process. There are impacts and displacements to existing buildings and land uses that need to be carefully considered and by the end of this process the plan would need to show how these impacts and displacements would be addressed.
These slides illustrate the zones for possible public-private ventures, and the importance of design guidelines that would need to be part of any discussions about specific public-private development proposals in the future.