Professional’s Category: Great Transformation

Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, Winston-Salem

The Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, an urban mixed-use innovation district in Downtown Winston-Salem, has developed through the transformation/renovation of former R. J. Reynolds tobacco facilities adjacent to downtown Winston-Salem.  The Reynolds structures were constructed primarily in the 1920s, with additions/improvements continuing through the 1960s.  At that time, Reynolds began decentralizing its manufacturing facilities with its last downtown facility closing in 1990. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center saw the potential in these vacant structures, and began using a building donated by Reynolds for research purposes in 1994.  In the 2000s, 3 new buildings totaling 320,000 square feet were constructed.  Since 2010, 7 additional former tobacco structures and land donated by Reynolds has been developed into 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use space.   Preservation NC recently declared that the Innovation Quarter is home to the largest historic redevelopment project in the history of North Carolina. Today, the Innovation Quarter is one of the fastest-growing urban innovation districts in the country–a national center for research, education, and business in biomedical science, information technology, clinical services, and advanced materials.  The Innovation Quarter is currently home to 150 companies, 5 academic institutions, 1,500 undergraduate/graduate students, and 3,600 employees.  The district presently contains 1.9 million square feet of office, laboratory, and education space along with 1,230 multifamily units representing a $700 million capital investment.

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Source: American Planning Association North Carolina Chapter  |  May 1, 2018