Announcement scheduled for transfer of Reynolds Tobacco building

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The R.J. Reynolds Building has served as downtown Winston-Salem's architectural signature for 85 years.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. said today it will hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday that will serve as the official handoff of its historic former headquarters to its new owners, PMC Property Group and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Those groups said May 22 that PMC was taking over the 22-story, 313,996-square-foot building to convert it into a mixed-use building consisting of a boutique hotel, restaurant and upscale apartments.

Speakers at the event will include: Andrew Gilchrist, president and chief commercial officer of Reynolds, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines; Ron Caplan, president and founder of PMC; and Joe Long, chief investment officer of Kimpton.

PMC, of Philadelphia, is paying $7.8 million for the building, which has served as downtown Winston-Salem’s architectural signature for 85 years.

Kimpton, of San Francisco, will operate a boutique hotel on the bottom six floors. The rest will be developed as luxury rental residential units. The developers have a goal of opening in 2015.

Kimpton declined to disclose its financial investment plans. A statement from Reynolds did not say how much the buyers are planning to invest in renovations.

“From the beginning, our goal was to take extra time, care and effort ensuring we did this the right way,” Gilchrist said May 22.

“We are confident that we have found the right owners to successfully transform this beautiful building while still honoring its place in the community, and once again make the Reynolds building a centerpiece of downtown activity.”

PMC specializes in renovations of downtown historic buildings. PMC and Kim pi on are collaborating on a similar renovation project in Pittsburgh that is expected to open in the fall.

Kimpton’s development in the Reynolds building will feature 175 rooms, 36 suites, a hotel fitness center and more than 6,375 square feet of event and meeting space, including two ballrooms and several meeting rooms on the mezzanine level. It will include a 120-seat restaurant and bar.

PMC said it plans to “embrace the majesty of the original design and the location and adapt the office building into a first-class, mixed-use boutique hotel and luxury rental housing.”

When it opened in 1929, the Reynolds Building was a landmark of the industrial South and was the tallest building between Baltimore and Miami. It is known as one of the nation’s best examples of art deco skyscraper architecture. Its design inspired the Empire State Building in New York City.

The building closed more than four years ago after Reynolds moved its downtown employees into the neighboring Plaza Building in 2009.

The partners appear to have gotten a significant bargain in the deal.

The building had been on the market since November 2009, with CBRE Triad as its marketing agent. It is valued at $12.3 million, according to Forsyth County tax records. The initial asking price was $15 million, according to Greg Wilson, executive vice president for CBRE Triad.

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