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‘Cargotecture’ is coming to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park

Modular Building

‘Cargotecture’ is coming to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park

Boxyard RTP, made from 38 shipping containers, will serve as a community gathering and social space.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | May 22, 2020

Boxyard RTP will be the first retail complex within the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Rendering: CallisonRTKL

The 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina, founded in 1959, is the largest research park in the U.S. Nestled near Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, the park is home to more than 300 companies, 50,000 employees and 10,000 contractors focused on research, biotech, life sciences, and computing. 

In March 2019, the Research Triangle Foundation, which owns and manages the park, announced its plans to construct Boxyard RTP, a 15,000-sf development within the park’s Frontier RTP campus made from repurposed shipping containers. Boxyard RTP, which is in the planning stages and is scheduled to open later this year, would be the park’s first food and retail complex. It will have space for up to nine food and beverage vendors, as well as several retailers and service providers.

The food and beverage container spaces will come with partial kitchen equipment upfits. The complex will include covered spaces for seating, special events, and performances.


Performance space will face the courtyard at Boxyard RTP. Rendering: CallisonRTKL


“Boxyard RTP is a workhorse opportunity for RTP and the region,” says Scott Levitan, president and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, in a prepared statement. “Experimental food, libations and retail, cool programming and event opportunities will flip the energy switch for RTP and our neighborhood communities.”

The Boxyard concept takes its name and inspiration from an existing development of 39 repurposed containers in the East Village district of Tulsa, Okla., developed by Nelson + Stowe Development and opened in December 2016. (The contractor on the Tulsa project was Ross Group, and the fabricator was Cisco Containers.)


The concept aspires to retain as much of the lot's landscaping and trees as possible. Rendering: CallisonRTKL



At Research Triangle Park, Boxyard RTP’s 38 shipping containers will be situated on a 12-acre wooded lot once dominated by railroad interchanges. CallisonRTKL, which designed the North Carolina concept, is incorporates existing landscaping and trees. The prefabricated shipping containers are modular and can be stacked, so minimal site disturbance will occur during construction.

The modular design is also flexible enough to accommodate the needs of different vendors.

The $7 million Boxyard RTP is organized around a central courtyard, with retail, food, and beverage stalls throughout the public space. The performance stage will face the courtyard, and upper level patios will provide seating and walkways. (Maverick Partners Realty Services is the leasing agent for this project.) As of this morning, Boxyard RTP’s website listed 10 vendors that have committed to leasing space, ranging from a brewery and a virtual-reality game room to a boutique flower shop.


The $7 million Boxyard RTP complex will sit on 12 acres within the park's Frontier campus. Image: WRAL


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