Whitaker Park

Organization:
Whitaker Park Development Authority, Inc.
Amount:
$1,700,000.00
Program Area:
Special Programs Initiative
County of Applicant:
Forsyth
Description:

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company has offered to donate its Whitaker Park facility to WPDA, Inc. WPDA, which stands for Whitaker Park Development Authority, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2011 to accept this donation and re-develop Whitaker Park. Whitaker Park was formerly the principal production and R&D facility for RJR Tobacco, but is now largely vacant as RJR has consolidated those activities at another location. Since the 1980s, RJR’s workforce in Forsyth County has been reduced from 18,000 to 3,000. The property consists of 31 buildings on 220 acres and has a replacement cost value of as much as $500 million. The project will include over 3 million square feet of leasable space, of which WPDA expects to have leased 750,000 within five years, resulting in the creation of 10,000 direct and induced jobs. The property is located near Wake Forest University, which WPDA believes will help Whitaker Park attract advanced manufacturing, life science, and R&D opportunities. The focus of this grant is the renovation and up-fit of the Whitaker Park Life Sciences building, a former RJR research facility where KeraNetics, LLC and other tenants, including Winston-Salem State University, will locate. KeraNetics is a spin-out of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine that produces a variety of medical and personal care products using its patented technology to manufacture purified keratin. In addition to paying for the cost of renovating the building, Golden LEAF funds will be used to acquire equipment that will be leased to KeraNetics at a rate that will allow WPDA to recover the full value of the equipment plus interest. KeraNetics is expected to create 60 jobs within five years. WPDA expects that it will attract $8-$10 million in contributions and investments from individuals, educational institutions, and foundations in the near term, and anticipates a total investment of over $220 million.

Contact:
Mr. Robert E. Leak Jr. 635 North Trade Street Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101 (336) 723-8955
Areas Served:
Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin

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