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REGIONALREPORT Triangle

Raleigh-based Progress Energy Inc., which plans to eliminate 700-1,000 jobs after its proposed merger with Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp., agreed to sublease 380,000 square feet at Two Progress Plaza to Red Hat Inc. through August 2035. Because there aren’t many companies in the market for that much space, the distributor of Linux computer software, which plans to move its headquarters there from the 191,000 square feet it rents at N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus by January 2013, got quite a deal.

 

 

 

 

 

“Cautiously optimistic”

— N.C. State University economist Michael Walden’s view on the Triangle’s economic prospects this year, which he says are better than other regions of the state because of its highly educated population.
Source: Eastern Wake News

 

Among the nine North Carolina metros examined by Wells Fargo Securities LLC, Durham-Chapel Hill boasted the highest percent increase in gross metro product in 2010.
1. Durham-Chapel Hill: 6.6%
2. Raleigh-Cary: 5.2%
3. Fayetteville: 4.1%
4. Greensboro-High Point: 3.9%
5. Asheville: 2.8%
6. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill: 2.6%
7. Winston-Salem: 2.4%
8. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton: 2.3%
9. Wilmington: 2.0%
U.S. (gross domestic product): 2.6% 

Raleigh’s station takes a new track

Several rail ideas have run off the track in the Triangle in recent years, but a new plan — or, rather, a retrofitted one — might have some real steam behind it. In January, the Raleigh City Council earmarked $3 million to renovate a former Dillon Supply Co. steel-fabrication building into its new Amtrak station. The city is home to the second-busiest passenger depot in the Southeast, but the station is a cramped 4,720 square feet. The Dillon option replaces a proposed transportation hub, dubbed Union Station, that city leaders put forward in 2010 for its Amtrak and wished-for light-rail and high-speed-rail services. Unfortunately, the price tag for it is $150 million. Triangle Transit already owns the nearly 40,000-square-foot Dillon building, and its renovation is projected to cost $30 million, with N.C. Department of Transportation picking up the balance. NCDOT should finish an environmental study by the end of the year, at which time the department will make funding the project a top priority, a Triangle Transit spokesman says.

 

 

 

Briefs

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — German-based chemical company BASF will move its plant-science division headquarters here, where it employs 777, from Ludwigshafen. It will add employees, though it did not specify how many or when.

RALEIGH — Gov. Beverly Perdue named senior policy adviser Al Delia secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Outgoing secretary Lanier M. Cansler will return to the private sector and chair Perdue’s Commission on an Affordable Healthcare System for North Carolina.

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Electric Membership Corp. named chief operating officer Joseph Brannan CEO. He will succeed Richard Thomas, who retires in April after five years in the job.

CHAPEL HILL — Cempra Pharmaceuticals hopes to raise $90 million in its initial public offering, estimating share price between $11 and $13, according to regulatory filings. It did not specify when it would offer the IPO. The company is developing treatments for skin infections and pneumonia and employs 15 statewide.

DURHAM — Resin manufacturer Reichhold Industries opened a manufacturing plant in China, giving it 20 worldwide. It will produce polyester resins, gel coats and bonding pastes. The company employs about 110 here and 1,400 globally.

CHAPEL HILL — Drug developer Pozen has contracted with Research Triangle Park-based Patheon to manufacture its next drug, a form of aspirin for patients at risk of developing gastric ulcers. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

RALEIGH — David Drutz replaced Richard Franco Sr., who retired, as CEO and president of drug developer Dara BioSciences. Drutz has served as CEO of three biotechnology companies. In an unrelated matter, Dara acquired pharmaceutical company Oncogenerix for an undisclosed amount. Dara named Christopher Clement, the Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based company’s CEO, its chief operating officer.

CHAPEL HILL — UNC Chapel Hill professor Myron S. Cohen’s discovery that early treatmentof HIV with anti-retroviral drugs prevents transmission of the disease was named the top breakthrough of 2011 by the journal Science.

DURHAM — Contract-research organization Quintiles Transnational invested about $4.6 million in Oxford Cancer Biomarkers, making it the largest shareholder. The U.K.-based research-and-development startup conducts cancer research. Quintiles’ more than 2,000 North Carolina employees won’t be affected, a spokesman says.