Bailey Power Plant, the last of seven rehabilitated buildings on the former R.J. Reynolds campus in downtown Winston-Salem, celebrated a grand opening Thursday morning.
The former coal-burning energy plant features 111,479 square feet of modern office and meeting space as well as restaurant options.
Representatives of developer Wexford Science + Technology, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, tenants and local politicians took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and received tours of the five-story facility.
The $40 million, finished product is a a mix of the historic plant’s brick and steel with modern fixtures and eclectic decor. Renovation started in March 2016, with the first tenants, including Alma Mexicana restaurant, moving in a few weeks ago.
“It was dank, dark and seemed dangerous,” recalled Wexford Senior Vice President Thomas Osha from his first visit to the plant a few years ago. “It was a single-floor building that looked like a cathedral inside.”
The new Bailey Power Plant makes a much different impression.
“This is going to be the crown jewel of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter,” said Forsyth County Councilman David Plyler.
CML Microsystems, which moved into space on the third floor from a more industrial site in North Winston-Salem, was the first office tenant in the building.
Fifth-floor employees, who include about 50 members of Wake Forest Innovations, have a large kitchen and dining area to use for lunch and breaks.
The Turbine Room on the second floor is a meeting space available to tenants for special gatherings.