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Dramatic Changes for University Research Park

A panel of urban planning experts is recommending drastic changes to University Research Park. The proposal would add housing, shops and restaurants to what is now primarily a secluded office park near I-85 in Northeast Charlotte. Since 2000, occupancy at University Research Park has plateaued and competing developments have sprung up in Kannapolis and at UNC Charlotte. Now several major tenants at the park, including Wachovia, face an uncertain future. So University City Partners enlisted the Urban Land Institute to help chart a new course. Houston developer Zane Segal led the effort and he knows the current economy makes it difficult to suggest massive changes. However, "the planning process we propose - and branding process we propose, should be initiated immediately," says Segal. "And if this group wants to compete, then it needs to really start talking to each other in ways that it never has." The Urban Land Institute suggests University Research Park can only compete if landowners and city leaders agree to allow executive housing, restaurants and hotels on the campus. Tune to Morning Edition tomorrow (Friday, October 3) for an extended conversation on the future of University Research Park.