There’s plenty of cool development going on outside Charlotte, including a project that crossed my desk recently: A $40 million plan to redevelop an old power plant that was once part of a tobacco campus in downtown Winston-Salem.
Wexford Science+Technology, which has previously redeveloped large parts of downtown Winston-Salem, announced the plans last week. The power plant was formerly owned by R.J. Reynolds, before the company donated the land and buildings on it to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in 2010. The power plant ceased operations about 20 years ago.
“Bailey Power Plant represents the final stage in the repurposing of these historic former tobacco district buildings in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter,” said Wake Forest Innovation Quarter President Eric Tomlinson.
The Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is an urban district with 1.5 million square feet of office, laboratory and educational space, as well as 650 apartments and condominiums. It’s a good example of what can be done to repurpose an old district, and the synergy that can come from a major medical school and research institutions in building that district up.
The project also will get plenty of public support. Wexford plans to use historic tax credits, and city of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County will provide $3 million each, through a combination of infrastructure and reimbursements. R.J. Reynolds also spent $2 million on environmental abatement work at the site.
In the first phase of the redevelopment, Wexford – a real estate development subsidiary of BioMed Realty – will turn the five-story main building at the power plant into 110,800 square feet of office, entertainment, retail and common space, as well as outdoor communal spaces. Construction is set to start this spring, and the building complete in December 2017.
“We are very pleased to, once again, be the developer of choice for this latest expansion of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter with the redevelopment of Bailey Power Plant,” said Dan Cramer, senior vice president of development for Wexford. “This new addition to the innovation community in Winston-Salem is the latest outgrowth of the dynamic partnership we have with the city, the county and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and we are proud to be a part of what this project will mean for the community.”
What do you think of the project?