Brownfields designation to set the stage for extensive redevelopment on Winston-Salem industrial site

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Site of the former Reynolds Tobacco manufacturing plant that is expected to see major redevelopment activity

The largest land tracts at a former tobacco manufacturing campus in Winston-Salem are being prepared for a transition — as major development initiatives are expected to reshape the area with hundreds of millions of dollars in new development and building activity.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported on Nov. 30 that the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has posted a legal notice of a Brownfields request by Whitaker Park Development Authority Inc. (WPDA).

The nonprofit WPDA was created by Winston-Salem Business Inc., the Winston-Salem Alliance and Wake Forest University to restore the former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. manufacturing plant campus.

The notice relates to 36.32 acres, including 3330 Shorefair Dr. and 4021 and 4035 Reynolds Court. Brownfields certification would enable the developer to receive state tax credits to help offset the cost of cleaning up and developing property containing contaminants.

The WPDA website says the 3330 Shorefair property, with a 65,375 sq. ft. building, has been sold. Meanwhile, the 4021 Reynolds Ct. property, with a 6.7 acre tract and 82,234 building is listed as “sale pending.”

As well, Brennan Investment Group from Chicago has the 4035 Reynolds Ct. property occupying 8.85 acres and with an 82,000-sq. ft. structure, under contract.

Bob Leak Jr., president of Winston-Salem Business Inc., said Brennan is considering building up to 130,000 more sq. ft. adjacent to the facility, the published report says.

WPDA said in the notice that the redeveloped properties would be limited to these uses: industrial; community service organization; adult recreation facility; research laboratory incubator space; warehouse; office; parking; and other commercial uses permitted by the department.

Meanwhile, developer Chris Harrison is working on a residential renovation for Whitaker Park Lofts on historic Buildings 2-1 and 2-2.

Rendering of the Whittaker Parks Lofts (C.A. Harrison Cos. LLC)

COVID-19 has delayed plans for new construction expected to include 25,000-sq. ft. of retail space, a 125-room hotel expected to attract visitors to Wake Forest University and another 150 residential units, the published report says.

Harrison projects an overall capital investment of between $80 million and $100 million, the report says.

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