WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- The sights and sounds in downtown Winston-Salem are changing. That's thanks, in part, to major new developments in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.
"You know, it's been a pretty small number of people working here on the east side of Winston-Salem. Now, we'll have almost 2,000," said Eric Tomlinson, president of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.
More than 800 of those people are Inmar employees. Inmar Chairman and CEO David Mounts said that number is growing.
"We have about 31 jobs open right now. At the beginning of the year, we had about 70. We have been able to fill some of those," said Mounts at the Inmar Grand Opening Monday.
Another 600 employees, with companies like Wake Forest and YMCA Express, will also come to work at the Innovation Quarter soon.
Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce President Gayle Anderson says that job growth will benefit the whole city, especially when new apartments, lofts and condos allow more people to live downtown.
"That means so much for restaurants, for retail and for energy in the city. We're really excited to have everybody," said Anderson.
There will be even more to do in the Innovation Quarter in the coming years too. Crews have already broken ground on a 1.6-acre urban park that will be called Bailey Park at East End. In addition, the old RJR Power Plant will be transformed into an arts and entertainment center with restaurants and cafes.
"It's fantastic actually. Of course, it's taken 20 years to get to this stage. It's very palpable what's happening now," said Tomlinson.
Tomlinson says the next phase of growth for the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter will be on 28 acres of land south of the current redevelopment area.