Special Collections Research Center
Centennial Campus Documentation Project
TRANSCRIPT—Interview with Jaine Place
CM: Alright. First off, just for the transcriptionist, could you state your name?
JP: Jaine Place.
CM: And thanks for talking with us. I wanted to begin by asking you a little about your background and how you came to be involved in Centennial Campus.
JP: I moved to the Triangle from Berkeley in 1985. And I had a small child at the time, very small. So I became a consultant, writing federal grant proposals for the university and for other non-profits but primarily for the university when I got here. My husband was hired as a professor in the School of Design. So I started writing grants as a consultant. After about nine years of that, I got burned out doing that, and Claude McKinney asked me what I thought I wanted to do. And I said, “I think I want your job.” He said, “What part of my job do you want?” I said, “I’d like to be involved in the part where you’re writing proposals to corporate partners to try to get them to move to Centennial Campus.” That was the part of the job he didn’t want to do. So they hired me at that point as an employee of the university to come in and do that. And anyway, that’s how I got here. I have a management background but I’m a writer as well so it works out well on the marketing side.
CM: And what was your actual job title back then? What were your—
JP: When I came, it was called Partnership Development Specialist. And at that time, the word marketing was a really foreign word for the university, so they didn’t want to have a marketing vice president or director or anything like that. They wanted—and, in fact, partnership development was our major marketing tool. And so Partnership Development Specialist was a title we just made up. And that’s what I was.
CM: And what were, for example, some of your duties in that capacity?
JP: You have to remember at that time—around 1994—the office, this Centennial Campus Development Office didn’t even exist on Centennial Campus—
JP: —It was in Holladay Hall. So they were just beginning to move over here in Partners Building. Excuse me, Research Building III had just opened, and space was designed in there. So I moved in when the office moved to Centennial Campus. At that time, we had no advertising or marketing materials, we had no logo, we had no rental rates, we had no floor plans, we had none of the materials that any private developer would have. And so that all had to be done. In the meantime, we were also dealing with a pretty steady stream of people from companies, some entrepreneurs, who wanted to move onto the campus. And at that point, all the buildings we had built were really university buildings. And so there was a lot of—we were making it up as we went along, I guess you would say. There were some buildings where we cannot rent out space. There were some buildings where they’re just not designed right for corporate partners. There was also no signage on the buildings at that time [laughter]. I mean, it was really not set up for a corporate partner who wants a prestigious road-front position. We began immediately accumulating a list of tenants who wanted less than a floor of a building, and many of them only, like, 1,000 or 2,000 square feet. When Centennial Campus first started, it was thought that it would develop along the Research Triangle Park model, where you’d get an ABB or an IBM, and they’d each have their own building up and down the row of the street. In truth, what happened was that we attracted a lot of—either parts of those companies or smaller companies that wanted to grow. And we were not sewed up at that time with buildings that were ready for partial-floor tenants. So we began with the help of George Worsley who decided he would help us put up speculative buildings. And I think he’s probably explained to you how they used the grant overhead as collateral to get financing—
CM: Actually, the interviews we have are kind of short and cursory. If you wouldn’t mind, I wondered if you would elaborate on that.
JP: Well, one of the biggest problems facing university research parks is that you have to have something to secure a loan to build a building—
JP: If you go out for financing and you’re a university, you can’t use taxpayer money for a down payment for an industry building. So what George Worsley and Charles Moreland—George Worsley was the Vice President for Finance and Charles Moreland was the Vice President for Research at that time—what they decided was that they will go out on a limb and use the overhead stream from federal grants—so it’s not state money—as collateral. It doesn’t mean we use it to pay for the buildings, but we use it to secure the loan. And that allowed us to put up speculative buildings because you just can’t group up 10 or 20 small tenants and get them to all sign leases way in advance—you know, two or three years in advance—of the building opening. You’ve got to get the building going up, at least the steel, before they believe you. And at that time, we were not good at getting buildings up in under three years, three or four years. So we were constantly turning [away] all these people who wanted to come but we could never get a building up. So that really changed everything. In 1996, we opened—we broke ground at least on Research IV and Partners Building I. And those were the first two multi-tenant buildings and, boy, we just jammed them full right away. They just filled up right away. At that time, it was a boom time in economic development in the Triangle. The dot-com revolution was going on. There were a lot of companies getting venture capital left and right. It was a very speculative time. And so we really didn’t have to go out and advertise to get clients or go out and visit people across the country. We went in the office every day and did three or four client presentations that we didn’t even solicit.
CM: So this is something I’m interested in—you didn’t actually have to go and try to attract partners—
JP: At that time, we did not. It’s different today. But at that time, during the dot-com boom, we did not. And there was also a lot of backed-up demand, remember, because we hadn’t had buildings going on. People had been hearing about Centennial Campus for 10 years and they wanted to come but they didn’t know how to get here. So as soon as those buildings were ready, boy, we had a lot of latent demand. We filled them up. And that was great. That enabled us then to say, okay, we’re going to do the next building, which was Partners Building II, and that was our first laboratory building that was multi-tenant. And one of the problems we had with these other buildings was that there was no wet lab space, and there were a lot of biotech companies also starting up at that time. So we build Partners II and it had smaller lab spaces and it also had laboratory incubator space on the top floor. And that filled up pretty quickly. And as that was filling up, that allowed us then to recruit a private developer, Craig Davis, who could see what the demand was, who would come in and speculatively build buildings that were office buildings. That’s Venture I, II, and III, and IV, and Venture Place are all by that developer. And I think he’s going to build some more. So he’s getting his own financing, and he’s managing all the tenants moving in and moving out and all that. But he’s working with the university to make sure that every tenant has a partnership relationship with the university. So the growth of Centennial Campus that really took off in the late nineties—
JP: —was really a result of our putting up speculative multi-tenant buildings. And that changed the way everybody thought about the campus.
CM: So these are called “Venture” because of the way they were capitalized?
JP: Well, it’s because he thought that would be a good word. One of the rules of thumb in the university research park business is don’t number your buildings in the order that you build them because you don’t really build them in order down the row; you can see when you drive in here you come to Research IV first, then there’s Research I, and then there’s III, and then there’s II. And they also say don’t put roman numerals on them whatever you do, because people can only read roman numerals up to about III. Especially when you’re driving fast down a street. So we immediately started numbering our buildings, and we got to four and we realized, hey, we gotta get a new number series because we’re getting too high. So then we started the Partners series. Then this is the Venture series. And I think ultimately what really has to happen is that all these buildings would be named for somebody and—either donors or whatever. In fact we had a corporate series—I think ABB’s building is now called Corporate I [laughter]. Ultimately, they need to fix that problem.
CM: This is something I actually hadn’t heard before. What’s the thinking behind not numbering your buildings in sequence? What—
JP: Well, we don’t start at the entrance and then build them down the street, right?
JP: So we know why Research IV comes before Research I. That’s because we built Research IV fourth. But to a visitor, it’s completely confusing. To the fire department, if there’s a fire, I mean, they come in, there’s Research IV, III must be right next to it. No, it’s the second. So that—everybody says don’t do that. But we were saving it as naming opportunities and why they haven’t sold those naming opportunities is a question for someone in development.
CM: But the idea is that eventually Research I through IV will be named something different?
JP: That’s right. EGRC—what used to be known as the Engineering Graduate Research Center—has been named for former chancellor Monteith. So there could be honorary naming opportunities as opposed to things used for fund-raising. But if the College of Textiles, for example, brought in a huge multi-million dollar donor, they might rename the whole College of Textiles, for example, or any of these other buildings. Less likely on these privately owned buildings. Now, these privately owned buildings are built on university land, so they’re on leased land. But they still own them.
CM: And what were the dates, roughly, that you worked in this capacity?
JP: I started in January ‘94 and I left in December 2000. By that time, the dot-com bust was upon us. And it didn’t last very long—about five years. Since I left—and no connection—but since I left, it’s a much different kind of environment in the office. You can’t just go in and wait for the train to run over you every day now. You have to go out and look for people and you have to make—you really have to use relationships with the rest of the economic development community. Much more interaction with faculty. It’s a harder job to do now. At that time, we had four people in the office making, say, four presentations each a day. It was crazy, trying to keep up with the demand. Now, the big thing that changed right at the point when the office opened up on the campus was that, to that point, although we had said that everybody who would be here would have some connection with the faculty, we really only had ABB. And that was an obvious thing. And they did make connections with engineering and math and physical sciences. But the world isn’t always so obvious. A little software company—pretty obvious. Let’s get some computer science people in here and do it. But we started to realize that these clients who came in were really not organized the way we were. They weren’t in a single field; they were in a multi-disciplinary area. For example, if you get a company coming in that makes minimally invasive surgical instruments—you know what I’m talking about? Laproscopes and endoscopes and things like that—
CM: I think so.
JP: They don’t have to crack your chest; they can. . . . Okay, the kind of expertise they need is in mechanical engineering but it’s in maybe composite materials [also]. There’s usually a video. You know, they’re watching a video source while they’re doing it. There’s optics for the lenses. They have to test those instruments on animals. There’s all kinds of electronics involved. And then there’s the whole biomedical engineering aspects of it. So it’s very multi-disciplinary. The partnership development model that we pioneered/developed in the late-, well, mid-nineties was that, okay, let me learn—I, as a partnership development specialist—learn as much as I can about your company and what you do before you come to visit. And then I’ll line up not just the dean or the research vice chancellor to talk to you but our top people in the fields where you are looking for research solutions for a roundtable. They’ll each give you a little presentation just for you, just along your interests. And they [the company] would also bring in their chief scientific officer and some of their developers [and] engineers. And it was just so successful; I mean, it just knocked their socks off. Can you imagine if you went to a big university in a town you’d never been to before and they lined up all their best people around the table? Just for you? For hours? Then we gave them tours and presentations and all kinds of things. And then our proposal became much more than, “Here, sign this intent to lease.” It was a binder of materials describing those programs and what those people were doing and talking about what we can do together, what amenities they might share on Centennial Campus. I would say we became much more professional about marketing right during that time because Claude McKinney had a staff for the first time, a couple of people on staff. That partnership development model, to my knowledge, is still in place today. Usually, it would take us about three times as long to prepare for the meeting as it would to actually have the meeting. And when we did it right, it really, really worked.
CM: Terrific. Could you talk for a second about the difference—some of the difference between private and government partnerships? Are there any special considerations for a government project that might not apply otherwise?
JP: It’s a little bit more the other way. The biggest part of the negotiation when you’re doing industry research, whether they’re located here or elsewhere, is the intellectual property rights—who owns what’s going to be invented. If I hire your graduate students to work in my for-profit company and they discover something while they’re in there, are they gonna go publish it? Before I can patent it? Who owns that patent? And can I make them wait for a year? Well, we can’t. They have to be able to publish. So you have to decide what people are going to be doing, what the rights will be, whether you’re going to keep those people away from areas where they’ll be doing that and keep them more on the development side. So that’s always the biggest thing. With government, if they fund you, you get the intellectual property rights. At N.C. State during that time, the Office of Technology Transfer became known all around the world as one of the best in terms of having the right instruments and the right attitudes about negotiating with private industry. Still, you get my lawyers and your lawyers in a room, it’s still not a simple discussion. But the idea was, “Let’s keep it simple.” If you invent it, it’s yours; if I invent it, it’s mine. If we invent it together, we both own it. So that was really important to licensing the rights to inventions that the university owned. Then, too, sometimes our employees or students or faculty would spin off companies and then locate here. All of that was really hand-in-hand. So we had sort of a homegrown strategy for generating companies, small companies, incubator-type companies that would locate here. And then they also added a venture capital fund for Centennial Campus projects at that time. All of that came together, and we were really out in front, especially with that venture capital fund. This was a big tourist attraction—and it still is but at that time people were coming from all over the world, [asking] “How were you able to do this?” Because the world is full of research parks that have an incredible entrance sign, beautiful lawns and streets, and no buildings, or maybe one building. And it’s because they haven’t cracked that nut of how to get speculative buildings up. So with that in our whole entrepreneurial strategy here, it all really came together during that time. It was a great time to be at Centennial Campus.
CM: What were some of the characteristics, do you feel, that were required of companies to make them a good fit for Centennial Campus?
JP: There were lots of ways that companies could partner. The simplest was—and remember, at that time, the dot-com companies were all after our young engineers and you may remember in the news, they were hiring some kids in the sixth and seventh grade that were just incredible computer scientists already. . . . So they didn’t care if they were even graduated yet. They wanted to get them before they graduated because there was so much competition out in Research Triangle Park. They wanted to get as close to the campus as possible, hire them before they graduated, test them out, and then keep them on the payroll because it was very tough to get young graduating engineers at that time. So that’s probably the simplest way of partnering. And in a way, with that, it’s really an agreement between the company and the student. We don’t make any money on it. Others would hire—they would sponsor senior design projects maybe. Or they would actually contract for a research project, which would bring in a faculty member and maybe a couple of students. Others would join our research centers, which have fees anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000/ year. Some would sponsor big research projects. Many of them had employees who wanted to become adjunct faculty and they, therefore, were helping teach courses and advising graduate students. We shared brownbag lunch-type presentations about what each other were doing. A lot of training partnerships—so they could send their employees to our computer training unit at McKimmon Center and get trained. They could take advantage of conference rooms all over campus and share in things we were already doing. So if we were having a speaker for a particular department they were interested in, they could do that. It’s not—the partnership isn’t that the company writes us a big check. That’s the old development model, the fundraising model. And we’re certainly happy [to have companies write big checks]. And some of them have written us big checks; they’ve sponsored chaired professorships and so forth. The partnership is that the company keeps you grounded in the real world, saying “these are the problems that we’re facing.” Say an automobile company has problems with fuel efficiency today. The weight of the car is a big factor in fuel efficiency. Well guess what? The College of Textiles—textiles make up 90 different components in a car. And so to the extent that they can [use] composites—
[PHONE RINGING—Interview suspended while interviewee answers call.]
CM: Okay, here we go. We’re recording now.
JP: Okay. The real partnership happens when a company keeps us in the real world by telling us, “Here are the problems in my field. You guys have all the researchers and scientists. Help me figure out a different way to look at this.” So I was saying that in cars, one way to get the weight down was to make the components lighter. So textiles—there are 90 different textile components in an automobile. They’ve just had a big conference in the College of Textiles to talk about automotive. And [they] have the companies come in and then the researchers come in and it’s “What are the problems and what are new ways we can look at that?” So if certain parts of the engine that are normally made of steel can be made out of carbon fibers—which are something like ten times the strength per [unit of] weight—then is that an idea? What’s the cost-efficiency of that and so forth? Those kinds of conversations are where—that’s the ideal kind of partnership. And then that will lead often to “Okay, of all the things I heard today, I’m most interested in that guy. And I think I’m going to try to work out something with him and then [unintelligible] will happen and perhaps a research contract. But even if it’s not a research contract, think what that professor learned in the discussion to help in his teaching so he can give his students much more of a real world perspective. Or he may direct his students to those companies for summer internships or something like that. It’s all a part of our whole industry partnership thing, which has been going on since the land grant university was founded, but this is much more intimate. This is where we should see them everyday kind of thing.
CM: So you were talking there about some of the obvious advantages that accrue to the university as a result of having these partnerships. Were there any other advantages that you care to talk about?
JP: The advantages for the university—the whole reason is for us to better serve our constituents. It’s part of the whole land grant mission. The closer we are to them, the more we know about them, the more ideas we’re going to have, the more good ideas we’re going to have. That’s it. That’s what the whole thing is based around. Now, we don’t want to lose money while we’re doing it, but we didn’t have a profit motive going into it either. And I feel certain that we’re not making a profit on it because everything we’re not spending on building the buildings, you know, whatever we take in in rent beyond that, we are building new roads and infrastructure. So it’ll be a long time before the buildings have paid for themselves and become university property. By that time, they’ll be as old as the buildings on the main campus, and we’ll be rehabbing those. So it’s not profit motive. The partnership motive is where it’s at. And that is not true for all university research parks in the country. Many see the research park as a way for the university to make money. And they’re very disappointed most of them [laughter].
CM: So you’re talking a little bit about how Centennial Campus is maybe distinct from other university research parks. I wonder if you could unpack that idea a little bit.
JP: Most university research parks—and I think there’s something like 250 in the United States now, and they range from a single building to the Research Triangle Park, which is considered a university research park even though it’s not really, didn’t belong to a university, but it was built there because the three universities are here. So they’re all over the map in size. The last time I checked, we were about 16 th largest with, at that time, 1,000 acres. Now we have fourteen or sixteen-hundred acres, I forget what. But there are some really large ones. There’s one in Huntsville that’s I think almost as large as maybe 4,000 acres and Research Triangle Park is 7,000 acres. So they range in size all over the place. Most of them are on land that either was bequeathed to the university—it’s somebody’s farm, you know, it’s some land that the university had, typically not adjacent to the main campus. Sometimes they are in old army bases that have been decommissioned. Sometimes they’re in blighted areas of downtowns that the city wants to rehab, and so they’re rehab buildings. It’ll start with an incubator and maybe grow from there. Sometimes universities share a park like in Philadelphia they have a park downtown; it’s one of the better ones, one of the older ones. I think there’s something like eight universities affiliated with it. In our case, we’ve got, at that time, a 1,000 acres adjacent to the main campus right on the freeway 15 minutes from the airport. That is heaven on Earth for a research [park]. Very few of them have that. We were also in a boomtown, where all the traffic was heading west in the morning and east in the afternoon. And we were at the opposite end. And so we have a huge advantage. You know, we say that we don’t compete with Research Triangle Park, that we complement them, that very often what people are looking for isn’t to own land and buildings but to rent until they grow. Very often they want to be close to the university. Sometimes they want fences and dogs patrolling the property lines if they’re a big medical company, for example. So we complement [RTP] is what we say. Sometimes we actually have competed with them for things. But in general, it becomes clear pretty quick what people want. So to have Research Triangle Park there, which everyone in the world knows about as the greatest, biggest research park in the world, you would think why would we build some little park competing right next to them. It’s not really that way. It’s that our faculty tell us, “Look, if you’re in Research Triangle Park and you’re working with a company and you want to talk to us, you can come and see us anytime. But I’m not giving up my parking space in the middle of the day very often. So if you’re on Centennial Campus, I’ll come and see you.” And that’s the—what?—the intimacy level of the partnership, I guess you would say. It’s always a parking issue with universities. And so if research parks are not adjacent and the faculty have to get in their car to go to the research park, they’re not going very often.
CM: That’s a terrific point that I don’t think I’ve seen made before—
JP: Now, we haven’t totally solved that problem here. We have a [unintelligible] and at one time we were talking about a monorail. And some people ride their bikes. We’re not that close and, in fact, the main campus is so big, you almost don’t want to walk from one end to the other. But the idea is. . . the other way in which Centennial Campus is very different is that the decision was made early on that the university would have students and faculty and classes and offices and labs right on the research campus. Often the research campus is just where the industry people are. And you may have a lot of privileges on the main campus. Maybe they let them use the gym and the library and so forth. But really it’s just like being in any other office park. Here, we’re right next door. And because the campus is so big we have built it in neighborhoods so that you’re not more than a five-minute walk from the people you most likely would want to talk to. So the advanced materials neighborhood has things like textiles, civil engineering, and electronics, and all the materials research centers down at the other end of the bridge. These Venture buildings tend to be a lot of IT people, although anybody who needs an office is in here. Up the street at Partners there’s toxicology, there’s genomics and nanotechnology. Now, the engineering college is moving over here, and they’ve built those enormous buildings up on the hill. And they’re kind of in the middle of everything because it turns out they have something to do with just about everybody. Down where the middle school is, the Friday Institute for Education Innovation is right next to the middle school. So this proximity thing has been guiding everything that we do. The other thing about these buildings—
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START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B
CM: You were talking about the point of proximity.
JP: Right. So you notice that the front doors face a shared courtyard?
JP: And the sidewalks go between buildings not just along the streets. So you see people sometimes crossing over. Also you have university units in the same buildings and often on the same floor as companies. So USDA is here. They were in Partners I when they first came. Our Center for Integrated Pest Management, their chief partner, was right there in the same building. I don’t know of any other place in the country that has that, but I’m not up to date on these things because I’m out of that field now. But that’s very unusual and a lot of people came here to learn about that. Another difference on this campus is that we have, as you—anyone—can see, a palette of materials for the buildings here. So it’s brick, it’s brick-cast concrete, it’s glass, and it’s that raised-seam aluminum you see all over campus. I think that the architects have been pretty creative in using those materials and not making every building look alike. But still it looks like a campus as opposed to a research park where everyone has an award-winning building, and there’s no unity. Now, there’s some people who think that’s boring and there are others who think that’s pretty cool. Claude McKinney, you know, he was a designer. He was determined that the campus also look good from the air. Because if you look at Research Triangle Park and you look down on the IBM plant, all you see is a bunch of air-conditioning boxes and junk littered all over the roofs. If you fly over Centennial Campus, not only do you see that those things are screened off on the roof so that the pedestrians certainly can’t see them, but they’re organized. But also you can see the pathways and the courtyards and the things that connect the campus. Right up through the center of the Oval, it points right to the bell tower on the main campus, for example. You can see those, if you look, outside of this building, Venture I, you see that some of the pillars are at an angle. They’re on that same angle, pointing right to the bell tower. And all this stuff is only visible from the air. But someday, it’ll make a big difference here.
CM: Thinking back over your career at Centennial Campus, what do you regard as some of your major accomplishments?
JP: I think the partnership development model is something that—I mean, I certainly would never have been able to do that alone—but that was something that I worked a lot on and was really proud of. It was the most fun. Those early days, everything had to be done, you know, the banners that you see on the light-poles today, that logo had to be developed, and the banners had to be put up. All of the marketing materials and the videos and the hiring and—once you get a company in here, somebody needs to take care of them. They can’t deal with the physical plant; they’ve got to have a property manager. The university wasn’t geared up for that in those days. There were things that I didn’t accomplish but, boy, I learned so much just by being on master planning and building design committees. And to the extent that the needs of the company—I had to represent the needs of what I thought the companies were that would go in there. They then have to influence the design of the building. Well, that’s easy when you know that the chemical engineering department is going to go on that floor. But if you’re building a spec[ulative] building, then that’s a little different. So we have a lot to learn from the private sector about how to put up buildings economically and what the financial model, the tax model needs to be. So I was not in charge of any of those aspects but I learned so much about them from everybody else. We were all just kids, making this stuff up. Except for Claude, who was the grandfather of the whole place. And we believed—we used to go to Disney World and EPCOT Center to look at that thinking that somehow that’s the way it’s [future working and research communities] gonna be. And that was a little far-fetched.
JP: But we were all very optimistic about what we could do here, how it could be a beautiful, ecologically benign, easy traffic and parking kind of place. Very interactive. But it’s interesting. Many parts of that are in place and I think a lot of people would agree that now that the trees are growing up [and] to the extent that you can get away from all the mud from the construction, it’s a pretty attractive campus compared to the main campus. The problem we have not licked here is food. And if you don’t have food, people have no reason to leave their building just to hang around. I mean, unless they’re going to a meeting. So when you drive down Centennial Campus streets, you don’t see a lot of people on the streets. There’s no place to walk to. So as soon as we get food here then I think the synergy of having all these corporate and university types together—that happens. And you see it more on nice days when people are out just because it’s so nice. But until they get some places where we want to walk to eat, we don’t really accomplish what we want to. That’s the same problem as in Research Triangle Park. They built it with no commercial establishments and everybody had to drive home for lunch at first. That’s the way it is here.
CM: So you’re beginning to touch on this but I wanted to ask you: Are there any one-that-got-away moments? Are there any disappointments that you associate with Centennial Campus?
JP: In terms of corporate recruitment, you mean?
CM: In terms of anything, but corporate recruitment—
JP: There are always; you don’t get them all. And the bigger they are, the more people going after them, [the more] incentives they’re able to give. We can’t really give—today, for example, the rent market is so competitive, there are a lot of people out there giving not only half the rent that we would charge, but they’ll give you a free six months to move in. We’re not in a position to do that. So in some ways we can’t compete for those big ones. You’re always disappointed when you lose one but, see, what happens is you get all the partnership stuff going; everybody’s all excited about it and the next guy you see is the CFO. And he doesn’t care about partnership. He cares about comparing the spreadsheet that has all the rents on it. Unless you can compute the value of the partnership, then you better have a heckuva sale. Well, how do you compute the value of partnership, you know, the value of something we might invent together some day? How do you put a value on it? It depends on how hard a guy that is, that CFO, but we have lost prospects over a two-dollar rent difference—two-dollars of square-foot rent difference. Usually not less than that, though. They’ll go for a little bit but not so much. There are those moments. I think that there are other disappointments, things you wish you had thought of early on. Today, everyone wishes they’d done more about the energy efficiency of buildings before we had this crisis. You deal with the things that are on fire right in front of you at the time. I think the food thing is something that we did not—our assumption was that we would get all these big tenants that would then have all these people that would eat lunch right away. That didn’t work. See, there’s no dinner traffic here and there’s no weekend traffic here and there’s no liquor licenses on state property, so for a company to make money on a restaurant business, they’ve got to make it on lunch and breaks, and you’ve really got to have a lot of traffic to make that work. So that wasn’t that well thought-out from the beginning. You don’t know everything from the beginning. And there weren’t a lot of people to learn from at the beginning.
CM: In a general way, where do you see Centennial Campus being in its development?
JP: I think they’re only about a quarter done. In terms of actual business space, I think they’re about a quarter done. David Winwood can answer that for you but a lot more than a quarter of the infrastructure is in. There are more sites than buildings. And when you include the veterinary school, the biomedical research campus over there [technically also part of Centennial Campus], of course they have a lot more land as well. And then there’s parts of the Dorothea Dix campus that are now part of this that we haven’t even begun to build on yet. This will be—we’ll have a whole new university when this is over with. I see more of the university moving here as they outgrow facilities on the main campus. I don’t see us ever deserting the main campus. But I think the connections—you know, this used to be considered way out there. They used to call it “out to Centennial Campus” as though you had to pack a bag to come over here. If you were going to Centennial Campus, well, you probably wouldn’t be back to the main campus that day. And it’s no further than going out for lunch but it’s considered way out there. The textiles people fought tooth-and-nail; they did not want to come over here, and now they would not go back to the main campus for anything. Engineering is finding the same thing and education [as well]. I think what we’re seeing is that the people who bring in a lot of research funding—the top research faculty in any college—don’t have enough space on the main campus and so this is becoming the place where the top people have their labs, the most modern labs, of course. Even if they also teach on the main campus, they’re in both places. So I think the future for Centennial Campus is really bright. There’s always going to be this problem of having competitive rents. It does cost universities more to put up buildings than it does private developers partly because we know the university is still going to be here in a couple hundred years so we want the buildings to last. I think they’re going to put a library in here; there’s going to be a town center, a conference center. I think that this will take on—and the Chancellor’s home will move over here—I think this will take on more of the hub of campus than the main campus years from now.
CM: In general, were there any other topics you wanted to hit on? Anything else you wanted to add?
JPJP: I think that there were a lot of heroes, particularly in the beginning years. A lot of people who already had full-time jobs, who went through the public-hearing process, which was, as Claude McKinney used to say, “democracy at its most excruciating.” They would never go through that process again. You know, 1,000 acres inside the beltway of town—everybody had their eyes on this. It was kind of a miracle that we were allowed to have this for the university. I mentioned George [Worsley] taking a new attitude about the new revenue streams. Charles Moreland, who could have been focused inward strictly on academic research—and many universities are afraid that if you get too close to industry, that’ll pollute your thinking. He was a very forward thinking guy and he pushed hard all the time. He fought the fight every day. And then Claude McKinney I don’t think ever had a day of doubt in his mind that this was going to be a great place, and so he pushed for it constantly. And I think without that combination—and of course there were architects and planners and the governor and chancellors—but without those three people during those years, at least when I was there. . . And it was a tough balance, a very tough balance between finance and design and partnership. But without those three, this just wouldn’t have happened. Other people have tried to carry the model and they can only carry a piece of it in part because they don’t have the champions internally. So that’s my tribute to them.
CM: Thank you so much for doing this.
JP: Sure thing. Thank you.