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RJ Reynolds Building MIxed Use Project

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From TBJ reports:

 

Reynolds American Inc. is close to selecting a partner to redevelop the building into a mixed-use project that could include a hotel, residential and retail space, according to a source close to the renovation discussions.

Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI) has been in conversations with at least seven separate developers and has narrowed the list down to three potential development candidates. The mixed-use development project would likely include a hotel, apartments or condominiums and first-floor retail space.

 

Bryan Hatchell, director of communications for Reynolds American, said he couldn’t speculate about any potential project or future buyers of the building. “It’s still being actively marketed by CBRE; it’s still on the market,” Hatchell said. “(CBRE) would present those offers and they would be brought to us, the sellers.”

Marketing materials from CBRE outline the potential to transform the R.J. Reynolds building into a modern Class A office building, an upscale hotel or a residential building. Dodson Schenck, managing director of CBRE's Triad office, and Greg Wilson, senior vice president, declined to comment about the redevelopment.

The mixed-use project will take what’s one of the most striking buildings in Winston-Salem and the Triad — one which was used as a model for the Empire State Building in New York City — back into active use. The Art Deco building opened in 1929 and has been vacant since 2009 when it was vacated by owner Reynolds American Inc.

A hotel in the building would appeal to a different market niche than the hotels that currently operate downtown and could be a destination for visitors to Wake Forest University or Winston-Salem State University or Salem College, Winston-Salem Mayor Joines said.

“We’ve seen it work in other cities where it does become a destination for individuals who want to come and stay in a very unique and interesting property,” such as The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va., and The Peabody Memphis in Memphis, Tenn., Joines said.

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Nice to see this re-use of a classic building.  Charlotte could learn a lesson from this.

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The TBJ reports:

 

A boutique hotel and apartments are planned for the iconic Reynolds Building in downtown Winston-Salem, a striking edifice that served as the model for the famed Empire State Building in New York City.

A partnership between Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC of San Francisco and PMC Property Group of Philadelphia intends to purchase the 314,000-square-foot Reynolds Building from owner Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI) and convert it into a botique hotel and apartments, said Josh Ward, a director with Cushman & Wakefield in Charlotte, which conducted an appraisal of the vacant Reynolds Building. Ward said Cushman & Wakefield was hired by a group of lenders, whom he declined to name, to appraise the building as a vacant shell prior to its purchase by the Kimpton/PMC partnership.

The Reynolds Building would be the first North Carolina property for San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group Inc., which has 60 botique hotel locations and close to 70 restaurants in 17 states including Virginia and Georgia. The building would also add to the East Coast presence of PMC Property Group, which specializes in converting historic and urban buildings into luxury apartments.

It’s not immediately clear how many hotel beds or apartment units will be developed in the Reynolds Building.

In 2012, Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels of Greensboro had conducted a feasibility study to determine if the building could be converted in a luxury hotel. Those $50 million overhaul plans were dropped in December of that year when Quaintance-Weaver CEO Dennis Quaintance said the market was too soft to support the redevelopment. Quaintance-Weaver’s plans for the Reynolds Building had not included apartments.

Rising 315 feet in the center of downtown Winston-Salem’s skyline, the Reynolds Building once served as the corporate headquarters for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. but has stood vacant since 2009. Building owner Reynolds American and brokerage firm CBRE together have contracted with Washington, D.C.-based historic preservation consulting firm MacRostie Historic Advisors LLC to apply to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, said Jennifer Hembree of MacRostie, who completed the application on March 31.

The Reynolds Building is considered among the first examples of Art Deco architecture. It was designed by the famed New York architecture firm Shreve and Lamb from 1928 to 1929. Shreve and Lamb later went on to design the Empire State Building in New York City, using the Reynolds building as a model.

The city of Winston-Salem sold the property, which once housed Winston-Salem’s original city hall, to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in 1927, the historic registry application shows. “With recognition of its historic architectural signficance and its contribution to Winston-Salem’s early-to-mid-twentieth-century tobacco industry histroy, it is hoped it might continue to play an important role in the twenty-first century growth and rebirth of the city’s downtown,” Hembree wrote in the historic registry application.

It’s likely that Reynolds American and CBRE are applying to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in order to take advantage of federal historic tax credits to aid in the cost of developing the building.

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Sounds great.  There is no building like this in North Carolina.  Sounds like Dennis Quaintance was wrong, there is a demand for luxury hotels in Winston-Salem's downtown, or he either didn't have the money or resources to fund the project.

This would put Winston-Salem in the league with Washington, NYC, San Francisco, Aspen, Miami Beach, Portland, Seattle and others in the upper end boutique hotels.

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Dennis has built some fine hotels in Greensboro (O'Henry and Proximity) and despite his experience in the hotel industry, he doesn't seem to understand there is a demand for downtown hotels. He said thing about Greensboro and now two downtown hotels are in the works there under two different developers, one being an upper luxury hotel as well (Wyndham) and the other potentially being a brand like Aloft. He is missing out on opportunities and money for his hotel business. He builds great "urban" hotels, but they are not built in urban settings.

 

Great news  The Triad is really starting to attract upscale big names of its own.  Neither Charlotte or Raleigh has a Kimpton hotel or a Wyndham hotel. That says a lot in how the Triad's economy is transitioning. The Triad hasn't "arrived" just yet but clearly we see the area headed in that direction. Its only a matter of time. The economy in the Triad cities are changing and its attracting major upscale names in hotels, retail and restaurants. I do think the renovation of the RJR building for this project is very fitting and has the kind of character for an upscale boutique hotel.

Edited by cityboi

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There is no building like this in North Carolina.

 

 

Not trying to take the spotlight off Winston-Salem, but that isn't true. The Hill Building in Durham has pretty much the same design. It was designed by the same firm, and is also being converted into a boutique hotel and museum. Again, I'm not trying to diminish this good news for W-S. I see that city as having the most urban potential of all the Triad cities. I just wanted to correct an untrue statement. 

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I see that city as having the most urban potential of all the Triad cities.

 

 

That can certainly be argued

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That can certainly be argued

Why though?  He made it clear that it's his opinion.  Everyone has 'em

 

Euphorius,  are there any interior shots of the Hill Building?

Edited by twincity

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Not trying to take the spotlight off Winston-Salem, but that isn't true. The Hill Building in Durham has pretty much the same design. It was designed by the same firm, and is also being converted into a boutique hotel and museum. Again, I'm not trying to diminish this good news for W-S. I see that city as having the most urban potential of all the Triad cities. I just wanted to correct an untrue statement. 

 

I won't take anything away from Durham, but sorry, the Hill Building may have been designed by Shreve & Lamb (about 10 years after the RJ Reynolds Building), but it is no match in height, interior and exterior detail, or national notoriety.  There are better examples of Art Deco in Asheville.  Winston-Salem and Asheville would take that contest hands down.  The Hill Building is only a variation on a theme of the RJ Reynolds building, and has not the detailing at the crown, or on the interior compared to the RJ Reynolds Building.  I will agree with you that Winston-Salem does have the better downtown in the Triad, especially when you factor in Old Salem, the arts district along Trade Street, and what is currently going on in East End at the research park with hundreds of millions pumped in to the infrastructure by Wake Forest.

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Not trying to take the spotlight off Winston-Salem, but that isn't true. The Hill Building in Durham has pretty much the same design. It was designed by the same firm, and is also being converted into a boutique hotel and museum. Again, I'm not trying to diminish this good news for W-S. I see that city as having the most urban potential of all the Triad cities. I just wanted to correct an untrue statement. 

 

I am with you on both points. Durham's bldg is also going through a renovation process to be converted into a boutique hotel and museum. Furthermore, W-S in my opinion does have an authentic urban feel and as i've indicated before is quite possibly the gem of the Triad.

 

That being said, I do think that Triad posters in this forum spend way too much time focusing on how the Triad "beats" other metros, and typically their statements are bogus. This shows a lack of understanding about what's truly going on outside of the Triad.

 

Do some research before making bold statements such as the one made by RichardC.

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RichardC's comparison of the two is pretty much factual, though.  I dont think it was a dig on the Hill Building or any other NC city.  

 

"...no match in height, interior and exterior detail, or national notoriety."

Bold statement, but all true.

 

"The Reynolds Building was named “Building of the Year” by the National Association of Architects, won the 1984 Art Deco Society of New York award for best restoration and was the tallest building in the South for 35 years."

VisitNC.com 

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Not trying to take the spotlight off Winston-Salem, but that isn't true. The Hill Building in Durham has pretty much the same design. It was designed by the same firm, and is also being converted into a boutique hotel and museum. Again, I'm not trying to diminish this good news for W-S. I see that city as having the most urban potential of all the Triad cities. I just wanted to correct an untrue statement. 

I'm afraid you may have misunderstood my point of emphasis.  By saying "there is no other", I meant that there is none as elaborate and superior, not that I was unaware that the Hill Building exists.  I have been to Durham, and seen it many times.  My statement had nothing to do with the fact that either building is being considered for redux.

 

 

I am with you on both points. Durham's bldg is also going through a renovation process to be converted into a boutique hotel and museum. Furthermore, W-S in my opinion does have an authentic urban feel and as i've indicated before is quite possibly the gem of the Triad.

 

That being said, I do think that Triad posters in this forum spend way too much time focusing on how the Triad "beats" other metros, and typically their statements are bogus. This shows a lack of understanding about what's truly going on outside of the Triad.

 

Do some research before making bold statements such as the one made by RichardC.

 

 

 

 

 

If you google Hill Building Durham and RJ Reynolds Building and look at web photos, there are clear differences.  Study the architectural detailing around the entrances to both buildings.  the Hill Building has plainer aluminum Art Deco detailing over the entrance, standard commercial metal doors, and plain unadorned crown blocks at the top of the building.  The Reynolds Building has elaborate brass Art Deco grillwork over the entrance, brass doors and lanterns, and carved Deco detailing in the limestone from the base to the crown of the building.  See for yourself.

 

The Reynolds Building has Missouri, Belgian, and French marble in the lobby and elevator areas.  If the Hill Building has this feature, I would love to see the photos.  Skyscraperpage.com lists the height of the Hill Building at 225ft and the Reynolds Building at 315ft.

 

Sure, both buildings were designed by Shreve & Lamb, however the Reynolds Building was designed and built almost 10 years prior to the Hill Building, and two years before the completion of the Empire State Building, so it set the precedent for the design of each.  All have the stepped ziggurat silhouette at the crown.

 

So I will say that my bostful and bogus post is 98% fact, and 2% personal opinion.  And I live in Charlotte, not the Triad, so I am not trying to "beat" anyone else.  I have numerous books on North Caroina architecture, and the RJ Reynolds Building is the most "superior" example of Art Deco skyscraper in North Carolina in terms of detailing and execution.  That is not a personal opinion, but a fact based on information from numerous sources and surveys by individuals knowledgeable in architecture who have trained eyes.

Edited by RichardC

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That's why I said the Hill Building has pretty much the same design. I am not arguing that the Hill Building is better in any way. I know the Reynolds building has more height and detail. I grew up in Yadkin County, and spent a lot of my time in both Winston-Salem and Greensboro. To say it's the only building of its kind in the state is simply not true. At the most basic level the buildings are very similar. Yes, the Reynolds Building is taller. Yes, it has more detail. But details and height aside, the basic design is quite similar. I don't need "numerous books" to tell me the differences between the buildings. I have been an architecture aficionado since I was old enough to know what architecture is, and I have been an admirer of the Reynolds Building since I was a kid. I used to stand at the doorway and admire the big gold plaque gifted to the Reynolds building by the Empire State Building. I was very proud of the fact that a building in our state was used as the model for the Empire State Building. I apologize if you felt I was calling you out or trying to take away from the Reynolds Building, but I stand by my statement.

 

TwinCity, I haven't been able to find any interior shots of the Hill Building. I seem to remember seeing some, but I can't remember where I found them.

Edited by Euphorius

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I grew up in Yadkin as well.  No apology necessary.

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I am with you on both points. Durham's bldg is also going through a renovation process to be converted into a boutique hotel and museum. Furthermore, W-S in my opinion does have an authentic urban feel and as i've indicated before is quite possibly the gem of the Triad.

 

That being said, I do think that Triad posters in this forum spend way too much time focusing on how the Triad "beats" other metros, and typically their statements are bogus. This shows a lack of understanding about what's truly going on outside of the Triad.

 

Do some research before making bold statements such as the one made by RichardC.

 You certainly are entitled to your own opinion...but thats what these forums are for. In the end it doesnt matter which of the Triad cities have more skyscrapers, tobacco ware houses, shopping malls or freeways, great positive things that happens anywhere in the Triad helps the whole region. BTW "authentic urban feel" means something different to everyone. Its not always measured by the number of skyscrapers. Despite what some people would want you to believe, there is no Berlin Wall between Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Its a great hotel project for the Twin City and have a hotel brand under Kimpton is just another thing the helps put the spot light on the whole Triad.

Edited by cityboi

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BTW "authentic urban feel" means something different to everyone. Its not always measured by the number of skyscrapers. Despite what some people would want you to believe, there is no Berlin Wall between Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Its a great hotel project for the Twin City and have a hotel brand under Kimpton is just another thing the helps put the spot light on the whole Triad.

 

Did I say anything about skyscrapers? How do you know what I consider to be an "authentic urban feel?"

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I am with you on both points. Durham's bldg is also going through a renovation process to be converted into a boutique hotel and museum. Furthermore, W-S in my opinion does have an authentic urban feel and as i've indicated before is quite possibly the gem of the Triad.

 

That being said, I do think that Triad posters in this forum spend way too much time focusing on how the Triad "beats" other metros, and typically their statements are bogus. This shows a lack of understanding about what's truly going on outside of the Triad.

 

Do some research before making bold statements such as the one made by RichardC.

And I would ask of you to more clearly define Triad posters "who focus too much on the "Triad" beating other metros with  bogus statements" by not lumping Winston posters  with the more hyperbolic poster from Greensboro.  :thumbsup:

Edited by zalo

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And I would ask of you to more clearly define Triad posters "who focus too much on the "Triad" beating other metros with  bogus statements" by not lumping Winston posters  with the more hyperbolic poster from Greensboro.  :thumbsup:

 

Good point. My apologies to you and all posters who focus on facts rather than wishful thinking.

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It's all good....

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Since the Hill building in Durham has been mentioned I thought I'd post a semi recent pic of it (around this past Christmas). The tower is currently in the process of being renovated...it looks much better w/o it's Suntrust/CCB "hat" although I still wish it had more of an elaborate crown...

 

 

I've always thought the Reynolds building was beautiful. Downtown Winston Salem seems to have an impressive downtown for a city of it's size...

post-3026-0-04785700-1399162902_thumb.jp

Edited by NCMike1981

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And I would ask of you to more clearly define Triad posters "who focus too much on the "Triad" beating other metros with  bogus statements" by not lumping Winston posters  with the more hyperbolic poster from Greensboro.  :thumbsup:

 you mean like a few of your friends over on another forum who constantly beat up on Greensboro while saying W-S "has arrived" and is a "world class city"? namely Fourthand....cough cough ;) I wouldn't hear the end of it if I were spouting off how Greensboro is world class and has arrived. The two biggest Triad cities are at least a few decades before they "arrive"

 

Bottom line this is a great hotel project for W-S and I think it will help efforts in really renovating and hopefully expand the Benton Convention Center. There are already two other large hotels downtown (Embassy Suites & Marriott) With the Innovation Quarter and projects such as the Bailey Plant coming online, more hotel rooms are needed.

Edited by cityboi

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There you go again, whining about another forum that has absolutely no relevance to Urban Planet and the discussions therein. Once again, I am compelled to correct your distortions in that forum by confirming that no one there has ever stated that Winston-Salem is currently "world class" or has "arrived".

 

I do agree and thank you for your statements regarding the greatness of Reynolds Bldg project and its impact on the City.

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There you go again, whining about another forum that has absolutely no relevance to Urban Planet and the discussions therein. Once again, I am compelled to correct your distortions in that forum by confirming that no one there has ever stated that Winston-Salem is currently "world class" or has "arrived".

 

I do agree and thank you for your statements regarding the greatness of Reynolds Bldg project and its impact on the City.

If you go through and read certain posts, those things were said about W-S. I'm not going to post links because thats not appropriate and I'm sure not allowed here. The point was the same people who whine about so called 'boosterism" and "city vs city" are doing it themselves even if its on another forum. Even you point out things people say on one forum which have no relevance on another "gdweeb". Again I could post links to many examples of this but its not appropriate. We just need to be happy about great things that are happening in the entire region. Its ok to be excited about projects in one's city but there are no need for comments on the sly directed to other forumers from a neighboring city or belittling other cities. I know you didn't say this but what was the point of even saying Winston-Salem's downtown has more potential than Greensboro's downtown in this thread? Thats what started this conversation. Its kinda like sports. People hate on the team they feel threaten by or wins all the time so they bash them, talk trash about them and hope they have a losing season so their team rises and wins (we see this with Duke and Carolina ;) ). Then we convince ourselves and try to find ways to rationalize how our team is the best despite game statistics. Ironically the Triangle's rivalry spirit in college sports doesn't translate to the real world like it has in the Triad and it's probably a big reason why the Triangle is so far ahead of the Triad in economic growth and development. Raleigh and Durham work together as one economic engine and don't get into petty arguments about which city has the region's AAA baseball team or which city has RTP and a huge performing arts center. Here in the Triad, there are some people even concerned about which city's name shows up bigger on Google Maps.  Working together is a two way street and its not always about what one city wants or gets. As a Greensboro resident I'm happy to see projects such as the RJR building/hotel moves forward. When one city gets a win, the whole region wins. Thats the way it is in the Triangle and other multi-city regions such as Dallas-Ft Worth and Tampa-St. Petersburg. Additional hotel beds in Winston, luxury at that, benefits events all over the Triad like the International Home Furnishing Market in High Point.

 

As I said before attracting a brand such as Kimpton is going to lead to greater things for the city and the region. Now that I'm comparing the last hotel proposal for the RJR Building and this one, there is a difference. The first proposal didn't include a mix of apartments, It was strictly a hotel. Mixed-use projects lessens the risk to the developers and I'm not sure why Dennis Quantanance didn't think about a mixed-use project. But anyway I think it worked out for the best because Kimpton has more financial resources to do something very interesting with the building.

Edited by cityboi

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Its ok to be excited about projects in one's city but there are no need for comments on the sly directed to other forumers from a neighboring city or belittling other cities. I know you didn't say this but what was the point of even saying Winston-Salem's downtown has more potential than Greensboro's downtown in this thread? Thats what started this conversation.

 

 

So are we not allowed to give opinions on this message board? I'm sorry that anything that isn't pro-Greensboro offends you so much, but I'm not going to water down my opinion just because it has the possibility of making you roll your eyes and want to fire off a tirade about Greensboro being #1 in the Triad. I said what I believe to be true about Winston-Salem's downtown in a Winston-Salem related topic. Is Greensboro's image so fragile in your mind that you can't handle someone liking Winston-Salem's downtown more than Greensboro's? My opinion is just that, an opinion, and my statement surely isn't the be-all end-all about urbanism in the Triad. What I said was not meant to belittle any city, and it certainly wasn't directed at you. However, from reading your past diatribes I should have known that you would take offense to it and feel the need to switch into Greensboro cheerleader police mode.

Edited by Euphorius

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My opinion is just that, an opinion, 

 You have to expect on any urban forum in any city section when someone says one city is more urban or has more potential over another because of hotel projects and the like, someone is going to counter that. A lot of us has posted here long enough to know that. All I said was that could be argued meaning it could be argued one way or the other depending on any person's perspective. Thats all I said. Sorry if some people took offense to that. No need for people to gang up on me for it. Seems there are more sensitive people than myself.

Edited by cityboi

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