The Research Triangle area of North Carolina is a destination for technology, biotechnology and healthcare companies. With the highest rate of Ph.D.s per capita in the United States, one the fastest growth rates in the country, its central location, and nationally known for cutting edge research and development across a wide range of fields, fueled by Duke University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.
Quintiles Transnational Corporation, like many other companies, is taking advantage of the power of research in this area as it provides a broad range of professional services in drug development, financial partnering and commercialization for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare industries. With 18,000 employees and offices in more than 50 countries, Quintiles was searching for the most appropriate place for its global headquarters. It was found as Quintiles has unveiled plans for its new global corporate headquarters at what will now be called Quintiles Plaza in Imperial Business Park, located at Interstate 40 and Page Road in Durham, the heart of the Research Triangle.
More than 1,300 of Quintiles’ employees work in the Triangle area, a number that is expected to grow to approximately 2,000 by 2012. To accommodate the growth, Quintiles is building the 252,000-square-foot facility, which will be the largest office building along I-40 in North Carolina. Standing 10 stories tall, Quintiles Plaza will be a visual landmark. Adjacent to the office tower will be the eight-story, 138,000-square-foot, 207-room Westin Hotel Triangle Park that will include a spa, workout areas, meeting rooms, a restaurant and a bar.
ŇQuintiles Plaza consists of three distinct structures: Quintiles headquarters, the Westin Hotel and a parking deck,’ says Greg Sanchez, president of Tri Properties. ŇThe overall project goal was to create a unified layout between the three and at the same time maximize the visibility of the site from Interstate 40.’
That challenge was accomplished by taking advantage of the natural qualities of the site, thus engaging the parking deck into an existing ravine so that the entrance to the site occurs on the top level of the parking deck, called the plaza.
ŇThe underground parking deck, in turn, minimizes the presence of automobiles on the site and places the focus on the office and hotel buildings,’ Sanchez says.
The plaza creates a link between Quintiles headquarters and the Westin Hotel. It also provides a public space and a pedestrian link. A tree-lined boulevard signifies the main entrance to Quintiles headquarters, while a separate entrance is used for the Westin Hotel.
Site preparation is underway and a formal groundbreaking is planned for the fall. Construction on the site is expected to be complete by the end of next year. Durham-based Tri Properties is the developer and in charge of leasing, while Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Real Estate Investors owns the property. Little & Associates has been hired as the project architectural firm and Clancy & Theys as the general contractor. Quintiles Plaza’s project design is a joint collaboration of two architectural firms, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Gensler and Raleigh, North Carolina-based Cherry Huffman Architects. The hotel’s architect is Atlanta-based Cooper Carry.
Quintiles presently has employees located in four nearby buildings, two of which it will continue to occupy. An expansion project is underway at one of the existing sites to add room for another 150 employees.
ŇThis project is a great success for both the local community and the state as it adds a global headquarters for a growing company and a classy hotel to meet the area’s demand for more upscale hotel rooms,’ Sanchez says. ŇIt will have an immediate effect of bringing high-paying jobs to the area and a long-term effect as Quintiles continues to grow.’
According to Sanchez, Quintiles Plaza has been the anticipated crown jewel of Imperial Center since the park’s inception. ŇWe are excited to finally be able to develop such a grand building at Imperial Center’s main entrance,’ Sanchez says.