10:44 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Commission Backs Reynolds Building For Historic Register

A local historic agency has approved the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. building for a spot on the National Registrer of Historic Places.

The Reynolds Building (center) has been part of the downtown Winston-Salem skyline since 1929. In this picture it is flanked to the left by the brick Pepper Building (circa 1928) the contemporary One West Fourth Street (2002) and to the right by Winston Tower (1966).
Credit WFDD Photo by Paul Garber

The Reynolds Building was constructed in 1929 and for more than 45 years was the tallest building in North Carolina. The 22-story former tobacco company headquarters served as a model for New York City’s Empire State Building. LeAnn Pegram is a resource officer with the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission. She says the skyscraper exemplifies Winston-Salem’s industrial heritage.

LeAnn Pegram explains the historical importance of the Reynolds Building.

The building is owned by the current Reynolds America Inc. When Reynolds scaled back a few years ago, employees were moved into an office building next door and the Reynolds Building was put up for sale. Pegram says the historic designation could make the building more attractive to developers.

Pegram says historic designation comes with some tax advantages.

Pegram says the nomination for historical preservation status has been forwarded to state officials, who will likely consider the nomination this summer. If approved at the state level, the National Park Service will make a final recommendation on whether the Reynolds Building belongs on the National Register of Historic Places. That’s likely to take place later this year. Needless to say, Pegram is confident of approval would be an understatement.

Pegram explains why she's confident the building will be approved for the National Register of Historic Places.

There was once a plan to turn the building into an upscale hotel, but those plans fell through. Developers are now considering the building for a boutique hotel and apartments, according to the Triad Business Journal, a newsgathering partner of WFDD. The building has a tax-assessed value of $12.3 million.