Sign in to follow this  
raleightransplant

American Tobacco Historic District

Recommended Posts

If you haven't seen this site yet, it's worth a look at one of the state's greatest achievements in urban preservation. The more recent pictures show the transformation of an old tobacco complex into loft-style spaces for office, retail, living space, etc. I have followed this over time, and it really is quite impressive.

click here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


As promised in this thread, I bring more information from the seldom discussed other half of The Triangle. Like Winston-Salem, Durham was very much into the tobacco industry. The city is home to a couple very large but abandoned factories and warehouses situated within its tightly packed downtown core. A while back some very smart person decided to redevelop one of these facilities into a novel but functional urban retail and office campus.

There is a wealth of data available on the ATHD website, and more pictures than you can view in one sitting. I emailed the photographer, Ben Casey, and asked if I could post a sample. So here are some of the photos that stood out to me. Of course I recommend you browse through the gallery if you wish--the pictures and captions tell an interesting story.

Construction process

NB082032.jpg

NB0820581.jpg

NB100038.jpg

strickwindowsils.jpg

morewirejpeg.jpg

Check out this viaduct underground around the perimeter, designed to catch water from around the grounds and from the gutter system:

viaduct.jpg

Very sturdy factory flooring, look at the layers of diagonal subflooring!

reedfloors.jpg

I found this sequence very interesting... removing one of the old boilers. Look at the network of pipes!

cutting1.jpg

boiler1.jpg

underview.jpg

And finally this boiler is gone... Now the space can be prepared for use by a business.

bgone.jpg

Finished Exterior

bwstreet.jpg

Part of the skyline can be seen in the background

npdhill.jpg

Business already moving in!

mm.jpg

Random dude chilling in the central area, overlooking the greenspace and "water feature"

thereader.jpg

Elevated view of central area

view1.jpg

Waterfalls and river

headwaters10.jpg

Creative use of concrete slabs removed during the redevelopment project!

bullriverfalljp.jpg

Finished Interior

These are some photos showing a sample of the different interior configurations available. I am really quite impressed with all of it.

strickfoyer.jpg

fowlob.jpg

dramatic.jpg

bay71jpeg.jpg

wfbay7jepeg.jpg

lobby.jpg

fowl.jpg

I wouldn't mind working in a cubicle if I could work in that space :)

oldlight.jpg

Old industrial elevator shaft gutted with glass installed. Now it acts as a light tunnel--what a nifty idea!

lighttunnel.jpg

And for comic relief...

This is a relic from years and years ago, picture was snapped during the construction process. Too bad, I am close personal friends with someone (ahem, wink, wink) who works for IBM and I know he would love to work in one of the spaces offered here :D

IBM.jpg

SUPERHOMO... It's Stellar!!!!111!!11 :lol:

homogenizer.jpg

I hope you all enjoyed!

Edited by NorffCarolina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few more items...

Here is an artist's rendering of the site at night. I forgot to add that this campus sits right next to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

nite_view.jpg

And due to the concentration of workers at the new campus, there is a need for some kind of transit. This is a free rubber-tire trolley (a bus that looks like a trolley) that circulates during lunch hours. It connects with parts of downtown Durham that have already been redeveloped into popular and thriving areas.

trolleymap.jpg

One of the trolley's destinations is Brightleaf square

brightleaf_39.jpg

brightleaf_square_31.jpg

The tall building in the background is part of the large Liggett & Myers tobacco company campus, and it is presently being redeveloped much like ATHD. More on that at another time... Durham has a lot of good urban stuff going on, and it's all packed into this tight downtown core that I'm sure Raleigh wishes it had :) Everytime I look up information I am amazed!

brightleaf_43.jpg

Edited by NorffCarolina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I am blown away! This is definitely something that needs to be done way more often. This redevelopment is just brilliant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am blown away too. That is a very nice rennovation. The elevator shaft for light is a nice idea. I need to hit this place up next time I am in the triangle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If something were to be done like this with the Dorothea Dix campus, look out!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Unfortunately the existing Dix buildings are neither so dense nor so distinct. I'm sure something could be done with a creative combination of old buildings and new construction, but it would end up being a very large-scale project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No doubt, but this type of design attitude should be taken into whatever is done with Dix. That area is prime real-estate around Raleigh with a great view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This redevelopment is something else! I can't wait to hit some Bulls games after work this summer, and check this area out. Any word yet on the Liggett & Myers redevelopment? I understand that when this is coupled w/ West Village, it will be a larger redevelopment than even ATHD. Very exciting to see this, and Durham just has more of these cool buildings available for this kind of thing than Raleigh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently worked on a study for some folks who are looking at the Luck Strike plant. This is a very cool development. The river running through the American Tobacco site is one of the coolest land planning ideas I've seen in a LONG time. Very sharp. The only trouble I see with the project is how disconnected parking is from actual offices, restaurants and proposed apartments/condos. Somewhat of a long way to walk with groceries in the rain as a condo owner or apartment tenant. I think they should have integrated the garages into the project better. Sitting out by themselves, they detract from the architecture of the plants.

river_falls.jpg

Overall, though, I think downtown Durham has a bright future. They're actually making things happen there, not just talking about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Article from today's N&O

seems like the combination of high profile projects like Am. Tobacco and Liggett, in combination with these small, steady developments, are really turning downtown Durham around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If downtown Durham could fill up all of those storefronts, especially along Main, and the others in the CBD I think it would be an awesome place to be. It is progressing along though, I think in a few years you'll be able to go down there and it will be a very interesting place full of good vibes :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Durham is definitely poised for big things to come. I think the American Tobacco project is one of the coolest developments in the area. The Independent Weekly had an article about loft living in an issue 2 weeks ago. Downtown Durham should definitely capitalize on this market. Durham has no place to go but up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Durham is definitely poised for big things to come. I think the American Tobacco project is one of the coolest developments in the area.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't know a whole lot about Durham, because I've never lived there and I've not spent much time exploring the city. So, with the idea of going to a Bulls game and exploring the American Tobacco historic district, I biked up the Tobacco Trail with a friend from the trailhead just north of NC54. We got there perhaps three or four hours early. First thing: no good place to lock up a bicycle. Major oversight, folks. We chained our bikes to a fence near the water tower, and tired from the bike ride, we quickly found Tyler's - excellent food and good beer. Try their fish tacos. Unbelievable.

After we got out of Tyler's, we had a bit more than an hour to kill, so we spent some time walking around. To tell the truth, there really wasn't anything else to do. Sure, there's several great restaurants (not that many, mind you) but once you've gone into one restaurant, there's no need to go into another one - and, boom. You're out of things to do. No stores, no other entertainment venues - just a few stores and a lot of offices. Sure, Tyler's and Mellow Mushroom were bustling by an hour before the first pitch, but that was it - no depth.

We wandered around for a while, and while it looked neat, the whole area didn't feel nearly as alive as it should have - particularly on a sell-out night at the stadium with such beautiful weather. Hopefully, as other phases of the American Tobacco complex come online, and more people and more stores move in, it'll become a 7-day a week destination that really takes off.

The complex also feels cut off from the rest of downtown. Hopefully that will change once the northern half is done and the fences are removed. The tobacco complex doesn't put a very inviting face towards the stadium, either. It's basically an unadorned brick wall broken by the occasional window and an entrance that looks more like an emergency exit than anything. That could be fixed easily enough, though, and I hope they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have to realize that this is the first phase-primarily developing strong businesses in this area which has pretty much been abandoned. The second phase will consist of housing as well as Motricity building their new headquarters. More restaurants are to follow as well. There will also be a performing arts center seating more than 2000 people. I believe another company will announce their move to this facility in the next month or so.

Link

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's true that Am. Tob'o is young yet. Last time we were there it was mobbed with people on the lawn listening to music. I agree that when the other phases are developed it should be more linked to downtown, and hopefully the redevelopment of the car lot with brownstones and shops will speed this along. It ain't perfect, but it's a damn site better than it used to be, when barbed wire rung empty warehouses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Square 1 Bank, a venture capital firm, has moved its headquarters from California to the American Tobacco Complex in Durham. Durham is becoming a major player in VC with this addition as well as Intersouth Partners. I think Durham is on a good path with these additions.

Story

Edited by DanRNC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Motricity (a digital media company) as well as another large VC company will also be moving their headquarters there. WUNC radio I believe is also creating a studio there for one of their nationally-aired programs.

Edited by DanRNC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little off topic, but this Friday night Symposium Cafe and the courtyard area of Am. Tob. will host "Big Top", the kick off party of NC Pride weekend. You can view the flyer here

Edited by Damien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Construction on the new performing arts center (2800 seats) to be located north of the DBAP should start next summer. The council just approved the $31 million. Construction on Diamond View II (behind the left field wall) should start pretty soon as well. Phase II of the project consisting of residential and restaurants/shops has already begun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.