Raleigh, the state capital of North Carolina and the county seat of Wake County, together with the cities of Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Town of Cary, comprise the Triangle area— a collection of four mid-sized cities and 29 smaller towns and several townships. Although the “Triangle” name is now used to refer to the geographic region in general, it originally referred to the three major universities in the region: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and Duke University in Durham. Dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the East” because of employment powerhouse Research Triangle Park (RTP), the area is preeminent in the fast-growing telecommunications, health care, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and financial services industries. Stabilized by the state capital and 12 universities throughout the region, the Triangle has become one of the Southeast’s leading business centers.
Raleigh and Durham are located approximately 20 miles apart, and each city borders the Research Triangle Park. The Raleigh-Durham Triangle metropolitan area is strategically located within the southeastern United States, with more than one-half of the nation’s population located within a 500-mile radius. Most major cities within North Carolina, including Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Wilmington, are within a two-hour drive of the region. In addition, the Washington, D.C. metro area is located only 250 miles northeast of Raleigh-Durham, and Atlanta, Georgia, is approximately 400 miles southwest.
With a combined population of over 1.8 million residents, the region has historically been one of the fastest growing population centers in the country. The population growth rate continues to surpass the national and state rates as more and more people are attracted to the area’s high-tech economy, relatively high-paying jobs, abundant education options, world-class healthcare centers, and low cost of living, Moreover, the region’s high quality of life, nationally renowned universities, mild weather and expansive transportation network adds to the area’s appeal.
The Triangle region is composed of two Metropolitan Statistical Areas (“MSAs”). The Raleigh-Cary MSA, encompassing Wake, Franklin, and Johnston counties, had an estimated population of 1,130,490 in 2010 compared to 797,071 in 2000, an impressive increase of 41.8%, making it the 4th fastest growing MSA and #1 when ranked among major metropolitan areas with populations exceeding one million. The Durham MSA includes the counties of Durham, Orange, Person, and Chatham and had an estimated population of 504,357 in 2010 compared to 426,493 in 2000, an increase of 18.3% during that period.
The Combined Statistical Area (“CSA”) which includes the Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill MSAs plus the nearby town of Dunn, had a combined population of 1,749,525 in July 2010 compared to 1,314,589 in July 2000, an increase of 33.1%, a growth rate more than three times the national average and the 2nd fastest growing CSA during that period among major metropolitan areas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Raleigh-Cary-Durham-Chapel Hill CSA has an estimated population of approximately 1,833,525 as of 2012, ranking second only to the Charlotte in terms of population concentration within North Carolina. In 2013, Raleigh was ranked #4 by Forbes in America’s 20 Fastest Growing Cities.
RALEIGH-DURHAM-CHAPEL HILL COMBINED STATISTICAL AREA (“CSA”)
|Source: U.S. Census Bureau.|
Driven by the young demographics of the area, with an average age of 31, household formation has surged past even the region’s phenomenal population expansion, with Durham’s households developing at 1.81 percent per year and Raleigh’s households expanding at a breathtaking 4.74 percent per annum since 2000. This incredible growth in households underpins the region’s voracious appetite for multifamily housing due to the young, transient workforce and student population. Household income levels in the Triangle are higher than that of the nation and the state due to the knowledge-based, high skill employment at RTP and the major universities; residents in the Raleigh MSA especially garner extremely high median incomes of $58,554 a year, fully $16,498 higher than that of the median U.S. household.
Favorable Business Climate
North Carolina’s favorable business climate has consistently been recognized by Forbes and others as one of the best states in the nation for businesses due to its low labor costs (18% below the national average), low cost of living, and highly educated workforce. In fact, Forbes has named Raleigh the #1 Best Place for Business and Careers in four 0f the past seven years. Durham has been ranked consistently high on this list as well.
In 2013, the Raleigh-Durham area was rated as one of the best areas for entrepreneurs, according to Forbes. The business magazine calls the Research Triangle Park one of the “biggest success stories for public-private partnerships,” with more than 170 global companies that benefit from the universities both here in the immediate area and around the state. Forbes ranked only two other cities in the United States – Austin, Texas, and Richmond, Virginia.
Best Places for Business and Careers (#3 Raleigh) — (Forbes.com, June 2013)
“People continue to flock to Raleigh, which has the second highest rate of net migration of any metro area over the past five years.”
Best Places for Business and Careers (#10 Durham) — (Forbes.com, June 2013)
“High-tech employment represents 14.7% of the workforce in Durham. Only Boulder, Cambridge and San Jose are higher.”
Best Places for Business and Careers (#2 Raleigh) — (Forbes.com, June 2012)
“Raleigh continues to be an attractive destination for companies with business costs 18% below the national average, according to Moody’s Analytics, and a highly educated workforce thanks to nearby schools like North Carolina State, Duke University and University of North Carolina.”
America’s Biggest Brain Magnets (#2 Raleigh) — (Forbes.com, Feb 2011)
Even in hard times Raleigh-Durham–the fastest-growing metro area in the country–has repeatedly performed well on Forbes’ list of the best cities for jobs. The area is a magnet for technology companies fleeing the more expensive, congested and highly regulated northeast corridor. Affordable housing and short commute times are no doubt highly attractive to millennials seeking to start a family. Indeed, a 2010 Portfolio.com/bizjournals survey ranked the city the third-best for young adults.
Best Places for Bargain Retirement Homes (#3 Raleigh) — (Forbes, Feb 2011)
“Although there are plenty of deals to be had in traditional retirement havens like southern Florida, retirees can get more bang for their buck in states like North Carolina… welcome news for baby boomers whose nest eggs haven’t yet recovered from the financial crisis.”
Best Places for Business and Careers (#1 Raleigh) — (Forbes.com, June 2011)
“Low business costs (18% below the national average) and a smart labor force (42% have a college degree) make North Carolina’s capital an attractive spot for employers like First Citizens Bank and Progress Energy. Job seekers get it: The net migration rate to Raleigh was the second highest in the U.S. over the past five years.”
Next Big Boom Towns (#2 Raleigh) — (Forbes.com, July 2011)
“Raleigh has experienced the second-highest overall population increase and the third-highest job growth over the past two decades in the U.S. It also ranked among those regions seeing the biggest jump in new immigrants and is the No. 1 city for families with young children. The area is a magnet for technology companies fleeing the more expensive, congested and highly regulated northeast corridor. Affordable housing and short commute times are no doubt highly attractive to recent college graduates and millennials looking to start families.”
Top 100 Overall Places to Live (#4 Raleigh) – (RelocateAmerica.com, August 2011)
America’s Most Wired City (#1 Raleigh) — (Forbes.com, March 2010)
“Raleigh is the kind of tech-forward city that, innovative as it is, often gets overlooked in favor of San Francisco, San Jose or Seattle. But this year the North Carolina capital passed its flashier rivals to grab the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ Most Wired Cities list.
Raleigh’s win means it ranks higher overall than any other U.S. city in three measures: broadband penetration, broadband access and plentiful wi-fi hot spots. Taken together, the factors point to a populace that readily uses high-speed Internet inside and outside the home.
Though a surprise winner, Raleigh boasts plenty of technology assets, including a high concentration of info-tech companies, research universities and state government offices. Several tech powerhouses, such as IBM , Cisco and Lenovo , maintain large offices in North Carolina’s nearby Research Triangle Park. Raleigh and its surrounding cities are also home to North Carolina State University, Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
This combination of a highly educated and relatively higher-income population is “fertile ground” for high broadband demand and usage, says Brooks Raiford, head of the North Carolina Technology Association trade group. Regular folks can exploit Raleigh’s IT resources too. The city’s downtown is covered by a wi-fi network that is free to users. Operator Sprint Nextel recently launched its “4G” next-generation mobile broadband in Raleigh and the rest of the “Triangle”–months before larger cities like Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., will get the service. “We’re very lucky to be at the epicenter of a lot of market strengths for these different companies,” say Raiford.”
Best Places for Business and Careers (#3 Raleigh) — (Forbes.com, April 2010)
“Last year’s winner, Raleigh, N.C., dropped to third this year. The long-term outlook in Raleigh is still strong, but 2009 was rough. Incomes fell 5.9% and unemployment averaged 8.6% for the year, compared with 4.9% in 2008. The recession has hit the area hard, with the restructuring in the pharmaceutical industry and with dry credit markets greatly reducing access to financing for startup firms,” says Economy.com economist Jimmy Jean. Six North Carolina metros ranked in the top 20 last year, but this year only Raleigh and Charlotte made the cut.”
Top City for Price Appreciation (#1 Raleigh/Cary) — (Forbes, Sept 2010)
25 Best Places to Retire (#1 Durham) (CNN/Money.com, Oct 2010)
“Durham would rank as a retiree Mecca even without Duke University’s stellar lifelong-learning program. Residents enjoy four seasons — but without them being too extreme. Homes are affordable, the area is dotted with golf courses and parkland, and the region is home to a renowned university medical center.
This former tobacco town also is a budding cultural haven. Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art has a growing contemporary art collection. Concerts and Broadway hits, such as Billy Elliot and the Lion King, frequently make their way to the newly built 2,800-seat Durham Performing Arts Center.”
Best Places for Business and Careers (#1 Raleigh) — (Forbes.com, March 2009)
“Leading the way is Raleigh, N.C., which grabbed the top spot for a third straight year on the strength of strong job growth (both past and projected), low business costs and a highly educated workforce… Helping fuel Raleigh’s strong economy is the Research Triangle Park, one of the oldest and largest science parks in North America. It is located between Raleigh and Durham and is home to 170 companies employing 42,000 people. Big employers include Biogen Idec , Cisco Systems and IBM. Raleigh is holding up better than any other place in North Carolina,” says Matthew Martin, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va. He cites the significant higher education presence and low manufacturing base in the area for Raleigh’s steady economy.”
Research Triangle Park (“RTP”)
The Raleigh-Durham economy is anchored by world-class universities and is the seat of North Carolina’s state capital, but the most dynamic force in the area is Research Triangle Park (“RTP”), a hub for biotechnology, information technology, pharmaceuticals, financial services, electronics, and telecommunications. Representing an investment of over two billion dollars, the park is home to over 170 companies employing 42,000 workers and 10,000 contractors, including the second largest IBM operation in the world with around 11,000 employees in the RTP. The park hosts one of GlaxoSmithKline’s largest R&D centers with approximately 5,000 employees. Cisco Systems’ campus in RTP, with approximately 4,000 employees, is the highest concentration of its employees outside of its Silicon Valley corporate headquarters.
With nearly 7,000 acres situated in a pine forest campus with 22.5 million square feet of built space, the RTP is the largest planned research park in the world. The RTP is adjacent to Interstate 40 and the Durham Freeway— strategically located in the center of the geographic “Triangle” formed by Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh. A small part of the park stretches into Wake County, but the majority of the land is in Durham County. It is one of the most prominent high-tech research and development centers in the United States. It was created in 1959 by state and local governments, nearby universities, and local business interests. The park is managed by the Research Triangle Institute, a non profit contract research organization formed to supplement the activities of the neighboring universities. All the facilities, laboratories, and scientific personnel at the various universities are available to the organizations within the Park. The combined estimated annual salaries in the RTP are nearly $3 billion, putting the Triangle area within the top 25 for the highest per capita income in the nation.
Known as a center of innovation through research and development, the RTP is supported through contact with the area’s many universities, especially through North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. Surrounded by 175,000 students in 12 universities throughout the region, the employers in RTP and other employment centers are never at a loss for highly educated and skilled workers, with a steady influx of recent college graduates entering the workforce every year. The presence of the RTP continues to make a considerable contribution to the area’s growth. Since its inception, activities in the RTP have become increasingly significant for the nation. Major tenants in the park are a virtual “Who’s Who of Industry”.
On November 9, 2012, an update to the RTP master plan was released for the first time since the park’s creation in 1959. With 22.5 million square feet of existing office space, RTP only had 600 acres left under previous rules, enough for 6,000 more employees and 4 million square feet to be added. The new plan would allow 150,000 employees in 84 million square feet of space. Three areas would offer new development. Triangle Commons in Durham County would have 300 acres to 400 acres and 7 million square feet of office space, a hotel and conference center, a new science and technology high school and a commuter rail station. Park Center at N.C. 54 and Davis Drive, seriously underutilized, would become a business support center. Kit Creek Center in Wake County would have 850 acres with a commuter rail station and add 2.2 to 3.3 million square feet of office space.
Research Triangle Park has carved a niche for itself as the “Silicon Valley of the East” and Durham has earned a reputation as the “City of Medicine,” prompting corporate expansions and relocations into the area by companies and highly-skilled, educated workers. With a labor force exceeding 900,000, the Raleigh and Durham MSA’s combined comprise nearly 17 percent of North Carolina’s available workers and almost 18 percent of the state’s employment. Due to the area’s relatively young age distribution, the MSAs both have labor force participation rates more than six percentage points higher than the U.S. as a whole, contributing to the area’s economic preeminence and continued strength. Due to the strong and diverse economy of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region anchored by the Research Triangle Park, the unemployment rate continues to be below the state and national averages.
Job growth is one of the most important economic indicators for the health of a regional economy and is also a factor in the demand for all types of real estate. Job growth attracts new residents to an area and increases income levels, accelerating the demand for all types of housing. The Triangle region has experienced robust job growth over the past twenty years, consistently attaining some of the strongest employment growth rates in the nation. Despite the recession when the Triangle initially lost 28,625 jobs, the Triangle region has created more than 130,000 new jobs since the beginning of 2008. By contrast, the region’s average annual job growth rate of 1.6% during that period was four times greater than the average annual job growth of North Carolina and five times greater than that of the nation.
Employment History For Combined Statistical Area of Raleigh-Durham-Cary
|Source: Employment Security Commission of North Carolina|
There are three world-renowned research universities in the area – North Carolina State University in Raleigh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Duke University in Durham. Any of these universities by themselves would be a significant asset and an enormous economic engine. When you combine the resources of the three, all within a short drive of the other, you create one of the most dynamic regions in the country. These universities consistently rank among the top in the nation for graduate and undergraduate research, in such areas as medicine, law, engineering, business, computer science, and communications. The cumulative effect of these universities on the region is a diverse and highly educated workforce. In fact, the Triangle boasts one of the largest concentrations of college graduates and post-graduate degree holders in the United States.
North Carolina North Carolina State University (Raleigh) was founded in 1887 and with enrollment of 34,767 students is the largest university in North Carolina. Located on a 2,110- acre campus in the heart of Raleigh, North Carolina State is a nationally recognized leader in science and technology with historic strengths in agriculture, textiles, and engineering. The university has an annual budget of approximately $820 million and an endowment valued at more than $312 million.
NC State offers bachelor’s degrees in 113 fields of study, master’s degrees in 163 fields and doctoral degrees in 61 fields, as well as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. North Carolina State University is ranked third nationally among all public universities (without medical schools) in industry-sponsored research expenditures. NC State’s Centennial Campus, is also home to 130 corporate and government research partners, as well as incubator companies, and NC State research units.
· 34,767 students
· 7,727 degrees conferred annually
· 284 bachelor and masters programs
· 61 doctoral programs
· $380 million in annual research expenditures
· Home to Centennial Campus
North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus is also seen as a model research park-though for a different reason than the RTP. Centennial Campus is all about interaction and partnerships. In fact, companies located in this research park must have some type of partnership with the university. These partnerships range from student internships and co-ops to formal research agreements between industry and faculty.
The University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) was chartered in 1789, which makes it the nation’s oldest state university. Located on a 729 acre campus in Chapel Hill, the UNC campus is widely known for its picturesque and tranquil setting. The current enrollment at UNC totals 29,390 undergraduate and graduate students. The UNC campus has the state’s two oldest university buildings, Old East and Person Hall. Old East and Playmakers Theatre, an 1852 Greek-revival building, are listed as National Historic Landmarks.
· 29,390 students
· $778 million in annual research funding
· Over 35 spin-off companies
· First public university in the United States (Chartered in 1789)
UNC is consistently ranked among the top universities in the country. For example, UNC was ranked 5th best public university in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 “Best Colleges” guidebook for the 12th consecutive year. In addition, several of UNC’s graduate programs are highly ranked nationally including its medical school (ranked #21), business school (ranked #19), law school (ranked #38), and its school of education (ranked #34). UNC currently offers 77 bachelor’s, 109 master’s, and 66 doctorate programs in a variety of academic areas including business, dentistry, education, law, medicine, nursing, public health and social work, among others.
Duke University (Durham) was founded in 1924 by the Duke family, owners of a vast tobacco empire. Located on a beautifully wooded campus in Durham, Duke’s East Campus is recognized by its stately Georgian architecture, while its West Campus is Gothic in style and is dominated by the soaring 210-foot Duke Chapel Tower. Duke’s full-time undergraduate and graduate enrollment totaled approximately 14,600 students as of 2013.
Duke is widely recognized as one of the top private universities in the country; U.S. News & World Report ranked Duke University 8th in their 2013 ranking of national universities. In addition, Duke is home to several of the country’s most highly ranked graduate programs, its school (ranked #9), business school (ranked #12), and law school (ranked #11). The Duke University Medical Center, established in 1930, is the flagship of the broader Duke University Health System, which includes two community hospitals, Durham Regional Hospital and Raleigh Community Hospital. Duke University and the Duke Medical Center combined employ approximately 31,000 professionals.
· 14,600 students
· Approximately $900 million in research expenditures annually
· In 2011 4,446 students earned their degree
Duke Medical Center Expansion
Duke Medicine is a world-renowned hospital and educational institution that is in the midst of a massive $900 million expansion, which will boost the local economy and create high-paying jobs. The project includes:
The new Duke Cancer Center (DCC) opened in February 2012. The DCC is a $235 million medical center expansion that added 123 exams rooms, 73 infusion stations, and a radiation oncology wing and mammography suite.
Duke Medicine Pavilion (DMP) is a vast $596 million project that will add 608,000 square feet of state-of-the-art surgical, critical care and imaging facilities to Duke Hospital. DMP is scheduled to open July 2013.
The new Center for Health Education is a state-of-the-art, $55 million expansion to the medical school, which added 104,000 square feet in late 2012.
Construction began April 20, 2012 on the new Duke Eye Center, a clinical facility that will expand services and bring state-of-the-art optical imaging technologies to the existing facility, which is ranked 7th largest in the nation.
The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is located midway between north/south Interstate Highways 95 and 85. Interstate Highway 95 is the major east coast artery, linking New England to Florida. Interstate Highway 85 on the other hand, forms the backbone of the largest manufacturing region in the Southeast, reaching from Richmond to Atlanta. Interstate Highway 40, an east/west interstate which extends coast-to-coast from Wilmington, North Carolina on the east coast to California on the west coast, bisects the Research Triangle Park, and connects Raleigh with I-85 on the west and I-95 on the east. Interstate Highways 440 and 540 loop around the City of Raleigh in order to facilitate the flow of traffic through the city.
Highways – The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel area is served by a highly efficient highway system. The transportation system in the Triangle area provides excellent access to the Cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, as well as the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and other cities in North Carolina. Major highways serving the area north/south include U.S. Highways 1 and 401 and east/west include U.S. Highways 64 and 70, as well as N.C. Highways 50 and 54. Three interstate highways (I-40, I-85, and I-95) traverse the Raleigh-Durham region, giving the area excellent access to many East Coast destinations. In fact, the Triangle Region is within two days’ trucking distance of over 60% of the U.S. population.
Interstate-40 is a six-lane east-west highway that bisects Research Triangle Park and runs coast to coast from North Carolina to California. Traversing north-south, Interstate-85 passes through Orange, Durham, and Granville counties and forms the backbone of the largest manufacturing region in the Southeast, stretching from Richmond, Virginia, to Atlanta, Georgia. Interstate-95 passes through Harnett and Johnston counties, approximately 30 minutes east of Raleigh, where it intersects with Interstate 40. I-95 is the eastern seaboard’s dominant interstate, originating at the Maine/Canadian border and terminating 1,800 miles south in Miami, Florida.
Interstate-440 is a circular beltway that loops around the inner portion of Raleigh. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is currently constructing Interstate-540 which will be “Raleigh’s Outer Loop.” The first section of I-540, known as the Northern Wake Expressway, has been completed from State Highway 55 to U.S. Highway 64 on the northeast side of Raleigh. Construction is also currently underway on the Western Wake Freeway (Triangle Expressway), a toll road extension of I-540 which will link up with Highway 55 near Holly Springs in southeast Raleigh. Future plans call for construction of eastern and southern segments to complete an outer loop surrounding the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill MSA.
The $1 billion Triangle Expressway project is the single largest transportation infrastructure project in North Carolina history. The project will improve commuter mobility and connectivity to western Wake County and Research Triangle Park while reducing congestion on the existing north-south routes that serve the Triangle Region, primarily NC 55 and NC 54. Phase I opened in December 2011, and Phase II opened in August 2012. Commuters to the RTP are saving 20 minutes roundtrip from many parts of the region, and congestion has been reduced along the I-40 main thoroughfare.
Airport – Raleigh-Durham International Airport (“RDU”), ideally located between the cities of Raleigh and Durham and barely a mile from RTP, connects the area with the nation and the world and acts as a catalyst for the region’s economic growth. With nearly 450 daily arrivals and departures conducted by 10 major and 19 regional airlines, the airport serves 48 destinations non-stop. In 2012, RDU provided flights for more than 9.2 million passengers and had an overall economic impact to the region of $7.8 billion and 20,550 jobs.
Rail and Bus In addition, Raleigh is served by two railroads offering twenty (20) freight trains daily; passenger service is provided by AMTRAK. Two major nationwide bus lines, Greyhound Trailways and Carolina Trailways, also have depots throughout the Triangle area.
The Streets at Southpoint is Durham’s newest mall, having opened its doors in March 2003. This 1.3 million square-foot super-regional mall contains over 140 shops and is anchored by Sears, Macy’s, JCPenney, Belk, and North Carolina’s first Nordstrom. The mall also includes Main Street at Southpoint, which is a 200,000 square-foot, open-air entertainment area featuring restaurants, retail shops, and a 16-screen movie theater complex. The Streets at Southpoint is conveniently located at the intersection of I-40 and Fayetteville Road.
Crabtree Valley Mall is located in Raleigh at the intersection of U.S. Highway 70 West (Glenwood Ave.) and I-440 and is the largest indoor mall in North Carolina, containing more than 1.3 million square feet of net rentable area. Crabtree Valley contains 220 specialty retailers and is anchored by Macy’s, Belk, and Sears.
City Market, with its cobblestone streets and tile-roofed buildings, is a focal point of Raleigh’s downtown revitalization. This 1911 Spanish-style market is now the location of numerous specialty shops, an antique mall, several restaurants and pubs, and a comedy club. City Market is home to First Friday, one of Raleigh’s most exciting evening entertainment events held on the first Friday of each month.
North Hills Mall is an upscale open-air shopping center located in Raleigh near the I-440/Six Forks Road interchange. Developed by Kane Realty in 2004, North Hills is a mixed use center with 925,000 square feet and is anchored by a JCPenney and Target. The property also includes numerous restaurants, 133,000 square feet of office space, a movie theater, and a 150-room hotel.
Triangle Town Center opened in August 2002 and is Raleigh’s newest enclosed shopping mall. Triangle Town Center is located at the intersection of I-540 and u.S. Highway 1 (Capital Blvd.) and contains 150 specialty retailers and is anchored by Belk, Macy’s, Sears, Dillard’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
A wealth of recreational opportunities exists for residents of the Raleigh-Durham area. The Atlantic coast beaches are a convenient 140 miles east of Raleigh-Durham, while the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains are located 180 miles west. Numerous publicly accessible parks and gardens are located throughout the Raleigh-Durham metro area. Raleigh-Durham’s three major universities routinely produce championship-caliber sports teams in a variety of athletics.
The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area offers a variety of recreational opportunities and entertainment for all interests. The area is well known for its athletic, cultural, and fine arts programs. The area has nearly 200 parks, recreation areas and playgrounds operated by state, county and city governments. Several large lakes are available for public boating and water sports. Kerr Lake, with its extensive shoreline, has facilities for fishing, boating, camping, and water sports and is located 45 miles away from the outskirts of the Triangle. Falls Lake and Jordan Lake, each less than 25 miles from downtown Raleigh, are available for public recreation.
In addition to nearby recreation, the Raleigh‑Durham-Chapel Hill area is within 140 miles of the coastal beaches to the east and 180 miles from the mountains to the west. Many outstanding golf events are held in Raleigh each year and attract both professional and amateur golfers. The Raleigh-Durham area contains more than 40 publicly accessible golf courses, including the highly ranked Duke University Golf Club in Durham and the UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill. In addition, the world-renowned Pinehurst Golf Resort, which will host the 2014 USGA Open Championship is a short drive 80 miles south of Raleigh-Durham. In addition, the three major universities located in the area provide excellent sports entertainment for the area’s fans. Most recently, Raleigh landed a professional hockey franchise, the Carolina Hurricanes, which is playing in the new state-of-the-art arena in Raleigh.
Parks and Gardens
The Sarah P. Duke Gardens are open to the public and encompass 55 acres of landscaped and woodland gardens in the heart of Duke’s West Campus. The Duke Forest, established in 1931, covers 7,900 acres in north central Piedmont and serves as a natural outdoor laboratory for Duke and neighboring universities. Selected roads and trails in the Duke Forest are open to visitors for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Falls Lake State Recreation Area is located approximately 12 miles east of Durham and is one of the largest recreational facilities in the state. Falls Lake offers a wide variety of activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, boating and swimming, as well as numerous picnic areas and playgrounds.
Lake Crabtree County Park is located off Aviation Parkway at I-40 in Raleigh. Lake Crabtree County Park’s 200 acres provide exciting opportunities for enjoying the outdoors. On the shores of a 500-acre flood control lake, Lake Crabtree County Park attracts boaters, fishermen, group and individual picnickers, hikers, mountain bikers and nature lovers. The park offers picnic shelters which are available for group rentals.
Jordan Lake State Recreational Area is a 13,900-acre reservoir in Chatham County which offers boating, camping, fishing, swimming and a full-service commercial marina. Jordan Lake is the largest summertime home of the bald eagle in the eastern United States.
The National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes and North Carolina State University’s Wolfpack men’s basketball team both play home games in the PNC Arena in Raleigh. The Durham Bulls are the AAA affiliate of the National Baseball League’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays and play their home games in a $16 million, brick ballpark in downtown Durham. The Duke University Blue Devils play home basketball games at the 9,314-seat Cameron Indoor Stadium and football games at the 33,941-seat Wallace Wade Stadium. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels play home basketball games at the 23,713- seat Dean E. Smith Center and home football games at Kenan Stadium.