Partnership, Outreach, and Research to Accelerate Learning (PORTAL) is a $24-million, 96,000-SF business incubator and corporate innovation center located on the UNC Charlotte campus. PORTAL offers a unique and flexible environment for nascent businesses that encourages conversation and collaboration, and provides access to university researchers and academics, business support services, and research partnership opportunities with mature and established companies. PORTAL houses nearly 50 entrepreneurial and early-stage businesses and features a café, four-story atrium, flexible office space, and a confidential secure area that is the first of its kind in North Carolina.
The mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems were designed by McKim & Creed to enhance energy efficiency and accommodate the building’s flexibility. Energy recovery air handlers reduce energy consumption for tempering the outside air, and solar panels produce hot water for the café. Rainwater collected from the rooftop and condensate from the air handlers are used for landscape irrigation. Designed for LEED certification, the building consumes 30 percent less energy than ASHRAE 90.1-2004 Energy Standard comparable buildings, which are designed to “keep indoor environments safe and productive while protecting and preserving the outdoors for generations to come,” according to the standard.
Construction was completed for $1.4 million under budget.
From the start, McKim & Creed played a key role in helping build a collaborative team by helping to set clear expectations and expected outcomes at the beginning of the project. Their input was critical to the success of the overall project. – J. Michael Barnes, PE, LEED AP, Vice President, La Bella Associates, PC