Bailey Power is something special, from the iconic smokestacks to the cutting-edge tenants and the unique restaurants and out door gathering spots.
Officially reopened after renovation in early 2018, the former R.J. Reynolds power plant has become a focal point for the development of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem. The energy that Bailey Power Plant brought to WFIQ is among the reasons that TBJ readers voted it as the Audience Choice winner among major development projects completed in 2018.
On weekdays, employees of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center as well as private high-tech companies such as CML Microsystems fill the upper floors of the five-story facility. They’ll have lunch downstairs at Alma Mexicana or Cugino Forno, either inside or on the giant patio that once served as a coal pit.
At night and on weekends the restaurants as well as Incendiary Brewing Co. attract visitors from throughout the region. This spring alone, several thousands of visitors were exposed to Bailey and the Innovation Quarter through events such as Gears and Guitars and the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.
“What we’ve started to prove down here is that retail will be successful,” said Will Partin, senior director of development for Wexford Science + Technology, the developer of Innovation Quarter.
With more than 111,000 square feet of mixed-use space, including the unique Turbine Room meeting space on the second floor, Wexford transformed the relic from a bygone era into a showplace. The cost of the project was about $40 million.
Partin said as of late May, the facility was about 77 percent occupied. Still available are two retail/restaurant spaces on the first floor and an 11,000-square-foot space open on the third floor.
Activity at Bailey should continue to pick up this year. Grubb Properties is due to open more than 340 apartments across the street this fall, pushing the number of units within three blocks to about 1,000.
Wexford is in the conceptual phase of development of a 30-acre North Phase II with new buildings adjacent to the restored buildings that now open in the Innovation Quarter.
Front Street Capital is developing neighboring Bailey South, which will have offices, retail and restaurants.
Partin said Wexford hopes to make the Innovation Quarter a “distinct” part of downtown. Prior to Bailey’s opening, there were few social or dining options in the quarter.
“We just had food trucks,” Partin said. “Bailey created opportunities for employees to stay here for lunch or meet after work.”