It’s been a decade.
Ten years since the former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company manufacturing facility opened its renovated doors as Wake Forest Biotech Place. Ten years since over 450 scientists and researchers set up shop in pursuit of advancing their research into commercialized products. Ten years since then-Vice President Joe Biden touted our city’s newest facility as a hub for cutting-edge biotechnology research.
But despite its name, the 242,000-square-foot space, developed by Wexford Science & Technology, has been of service for more than science in its renovated lifetime. Dedicated to health, development, the community and more, here are some memorable moments and events that Biotech Place has provided for the Winston-Salem area.
Remembering the Neighborhood
Roughly three and half years after its opening, Biotech Place served as the perfect location for the Innovation Quarter and partner New Winston Museum (now MUSE) to bring together community members together to honor its background and history—that is, the original R.J. Reynolds tobacco plant and surrounding neighborhood. The event served as a way to remember the historic manufacturing site and grounds prior to urban renewal efforts through stories and panel discussions with those who held memories of living, working and studying there.
Southern Learning and Technology Expo Conferences
Calling all innovative educators! Biotech Place has hosted the Southern Learning and Technology Expo (SLATE). At this day-long, annual conference, regional higher education professionals share their insights, seek feedback, find inspiration and network. Keynote speakers, interactive sessions, project presentations and networking promote collaboration in the Instructional Design, Learning Technology and Education and Development industries.
A celebration reaching nearly two decades in Winston-Salem history, Wake Forest Biotech Place has served as an exhibit venue for the annual Juneteenth festival. It fosters a great crowd and celebratory environment as the space accommodates food, performances and history honoring African American culture and freedom. The annual event promotes connection and celebrates diversity by bringing together organizer Triad Cultural Arts with the community and sponsors around Winston-Salem.
While much of the Innovation Quarter focuses on healthcare developments, Biotech Place plays its part in promoting health through both research and events. Local companies like the YMCA and WellQ have utilized the space to provide opportunities for community members to engage in and learn healthy practices, including:
- Free yoga
- A “Sugar Detox” event, where participants learn about identifying and eliminating harmful sugar
- Education on how to understand and interpret physical health and financial metrics, such as blood pressure, glucose count, BMI; net worth, debt-to-income ratio, and credit score
Wake Forest Innovation Quarter tenants aren’t the only ones who have used the Biotech Place to give back to the community. Community members can donate blood at American Red Cross drives located in the building. Be on the lookout for your next opportunity!
There’s Plenty More Where That Came From…
Biotech Place isn’t all transformational research and testing. Over the past ten years, the building’s rich history and versatility as a mixed-use space has provided Winston-Salem with more than just a place to convene. Its role as an event venue and research hub has helped shape Winston-Salem’s innovation ecosystem and bolster quality of life. We’ll continue to celebrate Biotech Place’s past and look forward to its future.