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RJR Site Blooms Into Biotech Place

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Biotech Place research and innovation center officially opened today with Gov. Bev Perdue joining other civic, business and health-care leaders to cut the ceremonial ribbon in downtown Winston-Salem’s Piedmont Triad Research Park.

   
     

The 242,000-square-foot, $100 million-plus renovation of the former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. facility is the newest major symbol of North Carolina’s transition from its earlier reliance on a tobacco economy to the state’s 21st Century leadership in the life sciences. Biotech Place marks the largest capital investment for a construction project in the history of downtown Winston-Salem.

Biotech Place was designed to allow more growth of Wake Forest Baptist's research departments, to create incubator space for start-up companies generated by researchers' discoveries, and to house established biomedical research companies.

The five-story, 75-year-old facility now features a 7,500-square-foot glass atrium that illuminates the building's center. The Biotech Place construction project has:

  • Employed more than 1,400 individuals
  • 75 percent of that workforce is from the local Triad area
  • Employed 28 minority/female-owned companies, about 12 percent of the contracts

According to a new Battelle Memorial Institute economic analysis, in Forsyth County the Piedmont Triad Research Park's $201.7 million construction spending on the six buildings completed so far has:

  • Generated $313.3 million in economic activity
  • Supported 2,897 jobs
  • Provided wages totaling $120.1 million

PTRP's current tenant employment of nearly 1,000 and the estimated 450 jobs at Wake Forest Biotech Place will generate an estimated $298.3 million in economic activity in Forsyth County annually.

Statewide annual economic activity from the Research Park will be approximately $339.1 million.