Wexford expands NC presence with Durham project

Wake Forest Innovation Quarter (WGHP)

Wake Forest Innovation Quarter (WGHP)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The main developer of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is expanding its reach in North Carolina by spending $7.5 million to buy an historic building in downtown Durham.

Wexford Science & Technology LLC is a real-estate investment company based in Baltimore that focuses on developments for universities, health care, science and technology. Wexford announce the deal Tuesday.

The seven-story Chesterfield building, a former tobacco warehouse, is similar to the renovation projects that Wexford has tackled in downtown Winston-Salem. The Chesterfield building was once part of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. complex in Durham, and many of the buildings in the Winston-Salem research park were once owned by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

The Chesterfield building is expected to provide about 250,000 square feet of space once renovation is complete.

A major enticement for Wexford to buy the Durham building is its proximity to the Triangle’s research universities.

“We consider the Durham market, and the Chesterfield building, an ideal location to continue (our) expansion,” Dan Cramer, a Wexford senior vice president for development, said in a statement.

By comparison, Wexford has committed more than $260 million on projects within the Winston-Salem research park, including creating Wake Forest BioTech Place and the future headquarters of Inmar Inc. Wexford spent $5.8 million to buy two local downtown buildings.

Wexford leases Wake Forest BioTech Place to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, which oversees the park.

Eric Tomlinson, president of the Winston-Salem research park, said Friday that he views Wexford’s investment in Durham as “good news all around” in terms of how the company views the North Carolina research real-estate marketplace.

“Their Durham deal in no way appears to limit BioMed’s investment plans for the Innovation Quarter,” Tomlinson said.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal