I’ve said I understand why UNC feels compelled to push forward it plans for the Carolina North Innovation Center but I still want to see a master plan that incorporates this project, its supplementary infrastructure and the results of the on-going transit, fiscal equity and environmental studies before one concrete block is laid.

Timing is important as is soliciting continued community input.

My hope is that UNC, the three local government entities, other local stakeholders and the wider community will use the Innovation Center approval process as an opportunity to create a structured framework for further sustained negotiations on Carolina North. While committees like the Horace-Williams Citizens group have helped define some of the principles we want to see the project adhere to, an intermittent process, whose existence is subject to the whims of the Mayor, will not serve our citizens well.

From the outset, we need to create a flexible framework for open and inclusive discussions on Carolina North. As opportunities and obstacles arise over the first fifteen years of Carolina North’s development, how else will we address these challenges?

UNC is giving the community a chance to meet with both their staff and that of their developers, Alexandria Real Estate Equities (whose on-line presence could use a serious upgrade) to see how innovative their cornerstone project – the Innovation Center – will be.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The University and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. are planning the Carolina Innovation Center on the Carolina North property at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and the former Municipal Drive. The Innovation Center will provide an environment where innovation-based companies affiliated with the University can turn laboratory concepts into viable businesses.

The design process for this building is in its early stages. I hope that you can join us on Thursday evening, November 29, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center at 2551 Homestead Road for a community meeting on the Innovation Center. Representatives from UNC, Alexandria and the architect for the building will present preliminary sketches of the building design.

We have submitted a concept plan for the Innovation Center to the Town of Chapel Hill. The Town Council is currently scheduled to consider that concept plan at its January 23, 2008 meeting.

We look forward to meeting with neighbors and community members to answer your questions and to listen to your ideas. You can learn more about the Innovation Center in an article from the University Gazette here .

We hope to see you on November 29. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. If you are a neighborhood or community contact, please forward this to your group or others who may be interested.

Best,

Linda

Linda Convissor, Director of Local Relations
Office of University Relations
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Linda_Convissor@unc.edu
CB# 6225
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6225
919-962-9245
919-843-5966 (fax)

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