WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – April 13, 2017 – R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (R.J. Reynolds)announced today that it has finalized the donation of a significant portion of the Whitaker Park manufacturing plant and certain surrounding properties to a local redevelopment group, WPDA, Inc. (WPDA). WPDA is a nonprofit corporation created by Winston-Salem Business Inc., the Winston-Salem Alliance and Wake Forest University, for economic and redevelopment purposes.
In January 2015, R.J. Reynolds announced the donation of a 70,000-square-foot laboratory building on approximately four acres of land to WPDA, and plans to donate an additional 120 acres of prime commercial and industrial land, along with buildings totaling approximately 1.7 million square feet, over the next 24 months.
“We’re very pleased to honor our commitment made two years ago to this community by completing a donation that we believe will have a significant impact in transforming Winston-Salem for many years to come,” said Joseph (Joe) P. Fragnito, president and chief commercial officer of R.J. Reynolds. “It is our sincere hope that these properties will be an engine for economic development and will attract more jobs and opportunity to this area. Yet another example of our commitment to supporting the communities where our employees live and work.”
Named in honor of John C. Whitaker, a former chairman of R.J. Reynolds, the Whitaker Park manufacturing plant opened in 1961 and initially covered about 14 acres, including 615,295 square feet of floor space. Designed by R.J. Reynolds’ engineering department and constructed by employees, it was the world’s largest and most modern cigarette plant at the time.
“I want to thank R.J. Reynolds for this very generous gift to the community,” said Don Flow, chairman of WPDA. “All of us at WPDA are committed to re-purposing this property by creating new jobs, expanding the area tax base and creating new energy and vitality to this historic site.”
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, anindirect subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI), is the second-largest tobacco company in the United States. R.J. Reynolds’ brands include Newport, Camel and Pall Mall. For more information, visit www.RJRT.com.