"I would like to personally thank Gov. Easley, Senator Dole, Senator Burr, Congressman Hayes, Senator Basnight, Speaker Black, and other members of our legislative delegation for their enthusiastic support and assistance in turning my vision for this project into reality. The receptiveness of all of our state leaders and their guidance and commitment to strengthening the economic viability of our state has been very gratifying to me as I have worked on this project over the past seven months," commented Mr. Murdock.
The 250-acre Cannon Mills Plant 1 site was purchased by Mr. Murdock at auction in December 2004. Mr. Murdock also owns another 100 acres in the downtown Kannapolis area and another 1000 acres throughout Cabarrus and Rowan counties.
"The most exciting part of this project is to be able to create sustainable, better-paying jobs for the people of Kannapolis and the region, and the creation of this scientific community centered on biotechnology will allow a transformation of this economy from a manufacturing-based one to one centered on scientific knowledge and research. Through the collaboration of the university scientists, the biotechnology research, and the state-of-the-art laboratories, new discoveries will be made that will further my goal of teaching people about proper health, nutrition, and wellness." explained Murdock.
UNC President Molly C. Broad observed, "We cannot overstate the significance of the University's embarking - in partnership with Dole and David Murdock - on a project of this magnitude, scale, and potential. This initiative advances our three-part mission of teaching, research, and public service - and in the process gives new meaning to the terms 'collaborative' and 'multi-disciplinary.' It underscores our commitment to foster statewide economic development and technology transfer - and demonstrates a new level of our commitment to serve the needs of the entire state. This project will serve as a national model for what can happen when private enterprise, higher education, and state government partner to affect positive change for the future."
When completed, the 350-acre campus will house the most state-of-the-art laboratory space in the nation and is expected to become home to over 100 biotechnology companies. A partnership with the University of North Carolina, including UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has been forged to advance groundbreaking research focused on health and nutrition and to enable each of these institutions to have a physical presence in Kannapolis. Advanced discussions with Duke University and other universities in the state are underway to define these institutions' involvement in the campus.
Construction on the first building will begin as soon as architectural plans are finalized. When completed, the North Carolina Research Campus will include more than one million square feet of office and laboratory space, 350,000 square feet of new retail and commercial space, and approximately 700 new residential units.
Components of the project announced today include:
-- The campus will be home to a new, privately- operated high school for girls from across the United States who have reached their junior or senior year and who have excelled in the fields of mathematics and science. To be founded by David Murdock and other private enterprises, the school will enroll 120 students and will have residential facilities on the campus. The curriculum will be devoted to mathematics and science and will provide interactive opportunities with the University's research components and the biotechnology campus. Women comprise the largest minority in the fields of math and science, and the campus will strive to alleviate this statistic through a specialized curriculum aimed at preparing women for careers in these fields. The most accomplished and gifted young women from throughout the country will be admitted to this institution.
-- The initial 330,000 square foot building will house the Core Laboratory facility, a state-of-the-art contract manufacturing biogenic facility, and the Dole Research Institute. In addition, this building will house temporary facilities for the University research institutes until permanent structures can be built. The facility also will provide more than 75,000 square feet of multi-tenant space.
The Core Laboratory will comprise approximately 60,000 square feet of laboratory and office suites and will contain a DNA sequencing facility, micro-array facilities, mass spectrometry facilities, and all other analytical tools. This facility will be available for use by all companies located on the campus.
The Contract Manufacturing biogenic fermentation facility will encompass roughly 30,000 square feet of a sterile environment and will provide a vehicle in which small to medium sized technology companies can produce single runs of biological products in a good manufacturing practice (GMP) facility.
The Dole Research Institute will contain 10,000 square feet and will focus on scientific research relating to nutrition and fruits and vegetables. This institute will collaborate with both UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University on research findings related to nutrition and the development of new varieties of fruits and vegetables.
The North Carolina State University Institute for Advanced Fruit and Vegetable Science will develop enabling technologies for research, education, extension, and outreach to bolster the economic and horticultural potential for fruit and vegetable production across the southeastern United States. The purpose of this Center is to improve the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables, to enhance human health, to increase agricultural production, and to support scientific ideas and technologies. Basic and applied researchers will work side by side in state-of-the-art facilities, allowing plant breeders and pathologists to quickly adopt the latest breakthroughs in plant genomics, metabolic profiling, and cell biology. The North Carolina State facilities will include approximately 50,000 square feet of laboratory and research space and 100,000 square feet of experimental and research-oriented greenhouse facilities.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will establish the UNC Institute for Excellence in Nutrition, which will focus on research examining the relationship between nutrition and the brain, obesity, and cancer. The work of the Center will include basic science on the causes of cancer and on the related genetic, biological, and behavioral mechanisms. Researchers will collaborate with NC State and other educational institutions to translate research into practice, with the goal of promoting better nutrition throughout the state and nation. Community-based interventions, population cohort studies, and clinical research on treatment and prevention also would be undertaken. The UNC-Chapel Hill facilities will encompass approximately 120,000 square feet.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte not only will be providing leadership in the preliminary design and academic plan for the girls' high school, but also will develop plans that could lead to its participation in the bioinformatics aspect of nutritional research. Other UNC campuses may play future roles as well.
- Discussions are underway with the North Carolina Community College System for a 40,000 square foot structure on the campus that will focus on the education and training for biotechnology jobs that will be created as a result of these various initiatives. The facility will provide significant retraining opportunities for displaced textile workers, including the more than 4,000 former Pillowtex employees who lost their jobs in 2003.
-- A 1000 seat auditorium and conference facility will be constructed on the campus, along with a 125-room hotel. The conference facility will be the home to national scientific conferences and meetings and will also provide opportunities for community cultural and performing arts events.
-- A new retail area to be developed on the site will include a multiplex movie theater, new shops, restaurants, and other commercial properties.
-- Cabarrus Family Medicine, founded by Dr. Allen Dobson, who is also the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance Director, will locate a 50,000 square foot facility on the campus and will partner with UNC Chapel Hill in several areas of research, including wellness, obesity, and illness prevention. The facility will provide primary care for the employees who will populate the new companies locating on the campus, and will collaborate with these entities on research projects.
-- Northeast Medical Center, a 457-bed community hospital located in Cabarrus County, will provide specialty care and other services on the campus. Space planning for this facility will begin shortly and is estimated to be between 25,000 and 50,000 square feet, depending on the clinical offerings sited at this location. Northeast's participation on the campus will focus largely on providing specialty and integrative medicine, an array of alternative healthcare services built into a traditional medical plan of care. From a research perspective, NorthEast Medical Center's Clinical Research Institute currently participates in clinical trials with academic medical centers in the state, in addition to conducting smaller original research studies. NorthEast will work directly with the research centers on campus to determine future collaborative efforts.
-- Burlington, N.C.-based Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp), a pioneer in genomic testing, has announced intentions to place a facility on the campus. The size of this facility and the number of staff has not yet been determined. LabCorp, with more than 25,000 employees, offers more than 4,400 clinical tests, ranging from routine blood analyses to the most sophisticated molecular diagnostics and tests more than 360,000 specimens daily for over 220,000 clients nationwide.
-- Negotiations with dozens of biotechnology tenants are already underway, with several tenants in final lease discussions for the new facilities.
Last month, Mr. Murdock and Dole announced that they would construct a $54 million vegetable processing plant in Gaston County that, when fully functional, is expected to create about 1,000 jobs. Mr. Murdock announced today that he has begun searching the state for a second site, not yet identified, for the construction of a packaging plant for frozen fruit.
Mr. Murdock and Dole Food Company have been traveling across North Carolina with state officials and with the state's farming community to identify multiple geographic regions of the state that could transition from tobacco to healthy fruits and vegetables that could be processed at one of the Dole facilities being constructed. Working with North Carolina State University, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, this program will significantly advance the state's agricultural transition and expansion.
"It has been an exciting endeavor for me to work with the scientific community in North Carolina on this project. As a scientist, it is a place like this campus that will inspire research and allow great scientific discovery for years to come," commented Dr. Andrew Conrad, chief scientific officer of LabCorp's National Genetics Institute, and a member of the Board of Directors for both Castle and Cooke, Inc. and Dole Food Company, Inc.
"It's exciting to be able to express how I feel," said Kannapolis Mayor Ray Moss. "Mr. Murdock's plans to take silent factories, demolish them and create new industry will have a remarkable impact in our city. We have seen many wonderful new development projects in the last few years, and have worked hard to bring them here. The North Carolina Research Campus marks a new level of excitement and achievement where people will be able to live, learn, work, play and worship in the city they love."
Justin Murdock, son of David Murdock and Senior Vice President for Dole and Castle & Cooke, stated, "This project will bring full circle the synergies of education, job retraining, and employment; and with this, the creation of new business for the future. Young people who are graduating from high school in North Carolina will go on to institutes of higher education in this state, and then will be able to return to Kannapolis for employment in the scientific laboratories or to create their own new businesses. It is my generation who needs to advance the study of life sciences and the life-changing discoveries that will alter the world for years to come, discoveries which will bring a brighter and healthier future for people throughout the world."
"I am very excited to be working with our state government leaders and the University system on what is the beginning of the economic revitalization not only of Kannapolis, but also of Gaston County, the surrounding region, and the entire state of North Carolina. As the plans for this project have taken shape over the last seven months, I have been impressed by how receptive state leaders have been to new ideas and how warmly I have been welcomed in communities all across North Carolina. With their cooperation and involvement, this initiative will extend far beyond the laboratories in Kannapolis to regional manufacturing plants and farms statewide. I commend the state's farming community, the University leaders, and state officials for joining in this great example of public-private partnership," stated David Murdock.