Economy
11:00 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

525@Vine is Newest Addition to Innovation Quarter

Janie McDaniel is giving a lecture to a small group of students in white lab coats. 

A Wake Forest physician assistant student's ear exam is broadcast on a video screen as fellow students watch on Friday, June 13, 2014. The demonstration took place on the official opening day at the new 525@Vine building in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.
A Wake Forest physician assistant student's ear exam is broadcast on a video screen as fellow students watch on Friday, June 13, 2014. The demonstration took place on the official opening day at the new 525@Vine building in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.
Credit WFDD photo by Paul Garber

McDaniel’s students are part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Physician Assistant Studies program. Formerly, classes in the program were held in darkened rooms in a building on Chestnut Street in downtown Winston-Salem. But now they’ve got new digs in the newest building to open in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

It’s called 525@Vine. McDaniel is director of admissions for the program and also a clinical course director. She explains the new classrooms are brighter and more open. But for McDaniel, the aesthetics are just a bonus. What this space provides is closer contact with research colleagues.

525@Vine officially opened Friday. It’s the result of a $75 million makeover that transformed an almost 90-year-old former tobacco plant into a state-of-the-art mixed use office and laboratory complex.

One of the largest tenants is another Wake Forest Baptist department, the Division of Public Health Sciences, which has about 250 people. The division focuses on prevention of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, dementia and cancer. Dr. Gregory Burke is the director. He says he’s glad to see the historic building receive new life.

Not all of the space in 525@Vine is for medical purposes. Forsyth Technical Community College will have four programs in the building, including a corporate training center and a small-business center. And there’s also a branch of the YMCA that offers cardio machines, weights and fitness classes. Carrie Collins is vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA. She says the new space provides an open, urban setting for anyone who wants to work out in the downtown core.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. built the structure in 1926 as a tobacco blending and processing plant. Baltimore-based Wexford Science & Technology is the current owner and developer. The renovation of the 234,000 square-foot building took two years.