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Research Triangle Draws
International Firms

The Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) reports the 13-county region it represents posted its "highest first-quarter investment in memory."
        With international companies leading the way, new and expanding industries announced more than $346 million in investment and 2,801 new jobs during the first three months of 2002. This includes a $160-million expansion by Japan-based AW North Carolina in Durham and a $20-million expansion by Singapore-based Flextronics International in Franklin County.
        Clustering was a factor in Bayer's decision to locate the North American business headquarters of its Bayer CropScience operations in Research Triangle Park.
Movies, Tourism and Wine

        Its sets may be as temporary as the stardom its products ignite, but filmmaking has long been big business in North Carolina. The N.C. Dept. of Commerce recently released statistics that film, television and commercial production brought an estimated $250.6 million in revenues to the state last year, up slightly from 2000. During the year, the sites and sights of North Carolina hosted 12 theatrical features and 32 TV series episodes. Much of that activity came during the first half of 2001 as companies rushed production before anticipated strikes. Production slowed in North Carolina during the second half of 2001, and the first half of 2002 has seen more of the same.
        Despite a small decline in revenues, North Carolina moved up the tourism ladder in 2001 to become the sixth most-visited state, trailing only California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York, according to a Travel Industry Association of America study. The study uses tax revenue data to determine overall economic impact of travel. North Carolina's travel-related revenues fell 1.4 percent to 11.9 billion.
        And, while North Carolina doesn't spring to mind when considering the winemaking regions of the world, its small industry is growing. The state currently has 22 wineries with 10 set to open this year. The latest is in Shelby, where the city council okayed a recent vineyard and winery proposal.

        "We will have a modern infrastructure situated among a number of other well-known research-based companies such as ours," said Emil Lansu, president of Bayer's Agriculture Division. "It's a location where we can readily retain and attract top quality employees."
        Symbolic of the growing importance placed on clustering, former Gov. Jim Hunt will chair an RTRP task force on regional clusters. The task force will review the Clusters of Innovation study by Harvard University professor Michael Porter and make recommendations.
        Raleigh/Durham was the fourth-fastest growing area in the country according to the 2000 U.S. Census. CoStar says that growth and its subsequent development surge, coupled with the "imploding" of the technology sector, crippled the commercial office market. In its first quarter report, CoStar says the vacancy rate has nearly doubled from the end of 2000 to 19 percent at the end of March. Vacancy is even higher in Research Triangle Park where it is approaching 30 percent, according to CoStar.
        "The good news for Raleigh/Durham is that the technology industry seems to have stabilized and there is less than a half million square feet of new space under construction," states the CoStar report.


©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. SiteNet data is from many sources and not warranted to be accurate or current.