In a crowded outdoor tent on a chilly Thursday morning, about 150 people gathered with circus performers and stakeholders from Longfellow Real Estate Partners and Duke University to launch the first phase of new construction on the Durham Innovation District in downtown.

The event marked the start of close to $100 million in new construction at the corner of Morris and Hunt streets for two seven-story office buildings – one of which has been fully preleased to Duke Clinical Research Institute – and a 1,200-vehicle, eight-story parking deck.

“To the people of Durham, this is your innovation district, and these will be your buildings," said Adam Sichol, co-founder and managing partner of Boston-based Longfellow, adding that he now considers Durham a “second home” with business trips to the Bull City almost weekly. "Today we’re betting on the future of Durham and its people.”

“Some other cities are constrained by ceilings and roofs, but in Durham, we know that the sky is the limit,” Sichol said, with a chuckle from the crowd at the expense of basketball great Michael Jordan’s “ceiling is the roof” blunder during a halftime speech at the recent UNC-Duke basketball game in Chapel Hill.

The Durham.ID office buildings, known as 200 Morris and 300 Morris, will together total nearly 350,000 square feet of office, research, retail and restaurant space on land that was previously a parking lot. Delays in the launch of construction have moved the completion timeline from spring 2018 to summer 2018.

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Source: Triangle Business Journal