Innovation is the foundation on which the city of Winston-Salem was built. The first Moravians in North Carolina settled here 250 years ago. The communities they built and the skilled trades they brought, honed and perfected, are practiced and preserved today in the living history attractions of Historic Bethabara Park and Old Salem Museum & Gardens.
A series of innovative manufacturing techniques formed R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company which was founded in Winston-Salem in 1875. The home of R.J. and Katharine Smith Reynolds is now a public museum offering not only a window into the life of the Reynolds family and early Winston-Salem but it is also home to one of the South's finest collections of American art. Winston birthed new concepts in banking with the formation of Wachovia Bank and Trust, created and perfected the glazed doughnut with Krispy Kreme, and clothed America with Hanesbrands, Inc.
In 1949, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County was the first local arts council of its kind and has since served as a model for state and municipal arts councils across the country. From cultivating new businesses to nurturing the creative spirit, innovation has been the currency of Winston-Salem's past that fuels and gives vision to its future.
The idea of Winston-Salem's downtown research park was a community-wide effort born in the early 1990s. By 1994, the Wake Forest University Health Sciences Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and eight researchers from Winston Salem State University had made the park's first building their home. By the end of the decade leaders from academia business and government were working together towards a shared vision for a technology-based economy.
By 2001, PTRP had four buildings and soon thereafter, park leaders announced long-range expansion plans for a 240-acre mixed-use park with three districts containing 6 million square feet of space. Today, the Piedmont Triad Research Park is a growing urban-based, mixed-use biotechnology and related technology research park that provides for a formula for economic recovery for the community, the Northwest Piedmont region, and the entire state.
The Winston Salem Downtown Development Corporation commissioned a redevelopment downtown project. The primary objective for the redevelopment of the downtown area will be for research purposes. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company deeded land and several old tobacco buildings for potential redevelopment. An initial feasibility study, The Southeast Gateway Plan conducted by the Urban Design Assistance Team of the American Institute of Architects was completed in 1992. This study predicted that, if effectively developed and marketed, and with a close working relationship with existing local research institutions, a research park could market from 440,000 to 630,000 square feet of building space.
Wake Forest University Health Sciences acquired a former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company warehouse, what is now called the Piedmont Triad Community Research Center (PTCRC). Housed in this building are the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and eight researchers from Winston-Salem State University.
The North Carolina Emerging Technology Alliance (NCETA) was formed. This organization of academic, business and governmental leaders was created in response to recommendations put forth in a study commissioned by the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. This resulted in a community-wide effort aimed a creating an economy anchored in the technology-based business. A formal establishment of the park resulted from approval of a master plan to create a specialized center and associated infrastructure for starting high-tech companies and recruitment in specialized technology areas. With NCETA firmly in place as the lead agency for development of the research park, the ownership of the park was transferred to the organization from the Winston-Salem Downtown Development Corporation. Then, in 2000, NCETA reincorporated under the name Idealliance.
The park builds their first new building known as One Technology Place, designed and constructed by Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce and Samet Corporation. Owned by Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Targacept, Inc. becomes the first tenant. J. Donald deBethizy, Ph.D. co-founded Targacept in 1997 and is the company’s President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors.
Albert Hall and Victoria Hall, although not owned by the PTRP, are newly renovated historical buildings that provide, office and lab space. Tenants housed in these buildings are offered all amenities of the Park.
Richard H. Dean, M.D., president and CEO of WFUHS, announced plans for a major expansion of the Park. The long-range plans called for a 240-acre mixed-used park with three districts containing 6 million square feet of space, more than 20,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in economic expansion in the next decade.
Sasaki Associates of Boston designed the Piedmont Triad Research Park’s Master Plan.
With the expansion efforts being led by Wake Forest University Health Sciences, two buildings and one 5-story parking deck was built. Biotechnology Research Facility-A1 (BRF-A1) and BRF- Parking Deck officially opened in March 2006. The 180,000 square foot building houses the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Lipids Sciences program. Later that same year, in the North District, the BRF-A1a facility was completed. This 30,000 square foot building houses the Data Center and departmental offices.
The PTRP Wet Lab LaunchPad™ opened with two tenants, Carolina Liquid Chemistries and Tengion. This space, located in the BRF-A1 building, was a community led effort to provide affordable laboratory space for emerging life sciences companies.
The newest research building, BRF-A1, has been named in honor of Dr. Richard H. Dean, the retired medical school leader who led an expansion of the park. The new name: Richard H. Dean Biomedical Research Building.
With State and Federal funding, the creation of infrastructure began in the Central and South districts: relocation of Norfolk Southern Railroad lines, buried underground Duke Energy Transmission lines, and the construction of a new Rail Bridge.
Sustainability meets innovation. As agents of innovation, PTRP offers a recycling program to all tenants in the Park. We believe we all have a responsibility to the overall good of our community. We will continue to work together to make PTRP a better place to live, work and play.
Stimmel Associates, PA is responsible for revisions and implementation of the Master Plan for the research park. Incorporating site analysis/feasibility, rezoning, site civil engineering, infrastructure coordination, permitting and construction administration for the future development that will incorporate guidelines assisting with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design “LEED” Certification.
In December 2010, with funds allocated during 2005-2008, the State of North Carolina purchased approximately four acres of land in the South District of the Piedmont Triad Research Park. An appointed collaboration will yield a building to house The Center for Design Innovation’s advanced technology research and education programs.
The grand opening of PTRP's sixth building in the Research Park. Wake Forest Biotech Place is a world-class 242,000 square foot historic structure comprised of two former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. warehouses that have been redeveloped into a modern biotech research laboratory where internationally renowned Wake Forest Baptist researchers are pioneering new fields of medicine discovering tomorrow’s treatments today. Using historic tax credits, a former tobacco warehouse is being re-developed by Wexford Science & Technology. Leased almost entirely to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the new facility will include an "accelerator" Bio-Innovation Center, a cafe, extensive conference facilities and a multi-purpose atrium capable of seating up to 400 people.