Durham developers adopt ‘build it and they will come’ attitude

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Durham developers adopt ‘build it and they will come’ attitude

BY ALEX DIXON
THE HERALD SUN

 Real estate firms often can count on Duke University being a first investor or tenant in some of the major mixed-use projects downtown, but drawing in more companies to fill the millions of square feet coming online over the next several years is more of a gamble, developers said at a Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce panel Tuesday morning.

“We look at the landscape and we all kind of drink the Kool Aid and go, ‘Fantastic, we need more office space otherwise we’re going to become irrelevant;’ a question I often ask is, ‘if not for Duke, who?,’” said Paul Smith, managing partner of Austin Lawrence Partners. “I think we’re all making a bet that particularly tech and life science (companies) are going to come here … I feel very optimistic about it, but, we don’t really have a lot of data to support what we’re doing right now.”

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