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November 24, 2009 - A symbol of North Carolina's tobacco history located in downtown Winston-Salem is on the market.
Cigarette maker Reynolds American is trying to sell its historic former headquarters, the Winston-Salem Journal reports this morning. The Reynolds building is worth about $12.3 million, according to Forsyth County tax records, and could be leased for office space or renovated into a mixed-use project.
The 22-story building was the tallest south of Baltimore when it opened in 1929 and housed employees of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. until recently when the company began cutting jobs and consolidating its Winston-Salem operations into another building.
The architecture firm that designed it, Shreve & Lamb, went on to build a bigger version in Manhattan: the Empire State Building. The building is not on the National Register of Historic Places, company spokeswoman Maura Payne said. The building represented the culmination of a downtown construction spree during the 1920s. The Winston-Salem Journal reported at the time that the architectural firm was asked to produce "an effect of conservatism along with attractiveness, but to avoid flashiness." "Gray-brown marble from Missouri, black marble from Belgium and buff-colored marble from France covered the walls and floor. The ceiling was festooned with gold leaves, and the grillwork, elevator doors and door frames were bright, gleaming brass."
In October 2008, Reynolds said it planned to consolidate its downtown employees, both Reynolds American Inc. and the subsidiary, into the neighboring Plaza Building by early 2010. That goal recently was accomplished. The decision to vacate the building came shortly after Reynolds said it was eliminating 570 jobs, mostly white collar, as part of a continuing effort of trying to balance consumer demand for its products with company size. (Camel brand will increasingly become the face of Reynolds..)
The property broker will be Commercial Realty Advisors of Winston-Salem. The broker will work with Jones Lang LaSalle, an international commercial-realty company based in Chicago, to evaluate and market the building.
References: Reynolds American wants to sell historic headquarters; Submitted by AlanMWolf, 11/23/2009; Home of RJR on the market by Richard Craver, Winston-Salem Journal, 11/23/2009;