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Research Triangle Foundation Hires Levitan as President, CEO

Scott Levitan starts a new job today, as president and CEO of The Research Foundation of NC.

The foundation’s board hired Levitan to become the ninth leader in RTF’s world-leading 59-year history, with the challenge of updating the ambience and function of the sprawling, forested 1950s auto-dependent Research Triangle Park into a 21st Century mixed-use tech and techie magnet. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center headquarters building is in the Park.

“It was important in our selection process to find someone with experience not only in leading research parks, but also in multi-use real estate projects—someone who has partnered with universities, and created strong communities,” said RTF board chairman Smedes York. “With Scott, we have an outstanding leader; we think he will do a great job.”

Levitan brings 30+ years of experience to the job. He has led several large-scale, mixed-use development projects, specializing in university-related research parks. Most recently he was the vice president of Forest City Realty Trust and development director for the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins and the New East Baltimore Community. In this role, he oversaw a $1.5 billion initiative directly adjacent to The Johns Hopkins University medical campus that includes life science research and office space, residential, retail, a new public park and a community school.

Before that, he was executive director of real estate development for Georgia Institute of Technology, where he oversaw all real estate planning and development activities for Georgia Tech. During his tenure, he oversaw the development of Technology Square, a 1.6 million-square-foot institutionally sponsored but privatized development initiative in Midtown Atlanta.

“This is a dream job and amazing opportunity,” said Levitan. “RTP has all the right ingredients—a smart talent pool, a low cost of living, top-tier research universities, engaged staff and community partners, and some of the most innovative companies in the world—to continue growing, transforming, and providing a positive impact to our state and to society at large.”

One of Levitan’s top priorities will be to advance Park Center, RTP’s mixed-use redevelopment project. Park Center is a 100-acre parcel in the center of RTP’s 7,000 acres, and will be the first place within RTP that has a walkable, amenity-rich community. Current plans call for residential, retail, office, hotels, public parks, and more.

In October 2015, RTF received a commitment of $20 million in a public/private partnership agreement with Durham County for the project, and an additional $10 million commitment from the Durham-Wake Counties Research and Production Service District. Levitan will aid the RTF Development Committee in the selection of a developer, or developers, to begin residential and retail vertical development at the site.

“We have put together a strong vision and plan for the future of RTP,” said York. “And now, we have a leader who we believe can help us write RTP’s next successful chapter.”

Levitan holds a master’s degree in urban design from Harvard University, a master’s in conservation studies from the University of York in York, England, and a bachelor’s in architecture from Louisiana State University. He is active in a number of real estate industry organizations, including board membership with the Association of University Research Parks, with which he taught an annual “BioParks 101” seminar.

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