Monday, March 23, 2009

Downtown with Duke

You probably think Duke University is an enclave in west Durham, and that probably calls to mind the iconic Duke Chapel tower or the hardwood at Cameron.

…but I’m here to tell you that Duke is very much in downtown Durham. The University’s commitment to the center city is beyond impressive.

Duke contributed $7,000,000 to the new Durham Performing Arts Center and the University is a significant presence.

At the end of this month Duke University and Duke University Health System will have over 1,800 employees working in downtown Durham. Duke leases 530,000 square feet of office space - 30% of the leasable downtown office space.

Those figures come from Phail Wynn, Duke’s VP of Durham and Regional Affairs. He shared the info at a Durham Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors’ meeting last week.

By my count Duke has fourteen different departments represented on our American Tobacco Campus including the controller’s office, info technology and medical center development. Duke can be found in six ATC buildings.

Duke University is a powerful economic engine in our community. A report released last year pegged the University’s overall economic impact at $3.4 billion in Durham. That includes about 20,000 Durham residents earning $932 million. That includes $280 million for goods and services purchased from vendors in Durham. That includes student/vistor spending ($427 million), philanthropy ($51 million) and services/taxes/fees ($26 million).

All that cash aside, I’m very impressed with the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership. Duke is working in twelve surrounding neighborhoods to improve the schools, housing and healthcare…utilizing staff, faculty and students…donations and in-kind support…and endowment funds. Back to the cash - it totals $16 million since the partnership was founded in 1996.

I trust the Blue Devils will do us proud during March Madness, but regardless, Duke is a CHAMPION.

This is the HQ of Duke Corporate Education at American Tobacco - the restored Lucky Strike building. Duke CE has offices in Durham; New York City; Carlsbad, CA; London, England; Johannesburg, South Africa; Ahmedabad, India.