With the handing off of a key, the building at 51 East Fourth Street, which was formerly the headquarters of RJ Reynolds Tobacco company, in downtown Winston-Salem is now official.
A press conference was held Friday morning in the building’s main lobby where Reynolds President Andrew Gilchrist, Mayor Allen Joines, PMC Property Group president Ron Caplan, and Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group CIO Joe Long addressed the media on plans for the project, which will include a 175-room boutique hotel, full service restaurant/bar and luxury apartment units on the upper floors. PMC and Kimpton purchased the building on May 22 for $7.8 million.
“They’re giving this grand old lady an extraordinary new life,” Joines proclaimed to an excited crowd.
Caplan said he anticipates a total investment of $60 million and said construction will begin sometime in the next 30 days, with the project being completed by the fall of 2015. The first phase of the project will be the demolition of some of the building’s aging interior structures.
“We’re going to have to get everything else out of here that would be in the way of reconfiguring the building for a hotel and multifamily (apartments),” Caplan said.
He said PMC was attracted to Winston-Salem due to the amount of business already downtown, and the potential for the building to play a major role in furthering development.
“From a pure development standpoint, this will be the central part of the community for years to come and therefore makes it a good building in terms of what we do.” he said.
“This is about as vibrant and progressive a state as their is on the east coast.”
In addition, Long cited the building’s upkeep as a factor in determining the building’s suitability for a hotel.
“We know we’re not going to poke into a wall and find a hornet’s next like you see in some of our other properties,” he said while adding that Kimpton has been involved in about 15 adaptive reuse projects since the company was formed in 1981.
“There has never been a building in as pristine condition, as well cared for as this one,” he said.
This is the second project that PMC and Kimpton have teamed up on, with the first being the conversion of a historic building in Pittsburgh into a hotel last year.
“When we started to sit down and talk about the possible opportunity of building things together, we found that we were alike,” Caplan said of the two companies.
Reynolds President Andrew Gilchrist hands the building’s key to Kimpton CIO Joe Long (center) and PMC president Ron Caplan (left).