Reynolds Building

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Reynolds Building
Reynolds Building WS.JPG
Street View of Reynolds Building
Reynolds Building is located in North Carolina
Reynolds Building
Location 51 E. 4th St., Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Coordinates 36°5′56″N 80°14′40″W / 36.09889°N 80.24444°W / 36.09889; -80.24444Coordinates: 36°5′56″N 80°14′40″W / 36.09889°N 80.24444°W / 36.09889; -80.24444
Area 0.55 acres (0.22 ha)
Built 1928 (1928)-1929
Built by James Baird Company
Architect Shreve and Lamb
Architectural style Art Deco
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 14000494[1]
Added to NRHP August 19, 2014

The Reynolds Building is a 314-foot (96 m) Art Deco skyscraper at 51 E. 4th Street in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, North Carolina with 313,996 square feet (29,171.2 m2) of space. It was completed in 1929 and has 21 floors.[2][3] When completed as the headquarters of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, it was the tallest building in the United States south of Baltimore, Maryland, and it won a national architecture award.[4] The building is well known for being a design inspiration for the much larger Empire State Building that was built in 1931 in New York City.[5] Every year the staff of the Empire State Building sends a Father's Day card to the staff at the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem to pay homage to its role as predecessor to the Empire State Building.[6] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.[7][8]

The building was designed, just as the Empire State Building, for the purpose of corporate offices with retail outlets on the first floor.[9] Shreve & Lamb, the architects, were asked for "an effect of conservatism along with attractiveness, but to avoid flashiness." But regarding the result, a 1997 Winston-Salem Journal article said, "city residents could be forgiven for wondering whether the architects followed the directive" because "Gray-brown marble from Missouri, black marble from Belgium and buff-colored marble from France covered the walls and floor. The ceiling was festooned with gold leaves, and the grillwork, elevator doors and door frames were bright, gleaming brass."[4] The stock market crash of 1929 hurt the Reynolds Building's leasing business temporarily, but it was more successful than other similar buildings at leasing offices.[9] Its promotional brochure said that the 14th, 15th, and fourth floors were reserved for doctors and dentists, but this might not have been the case.[9] Most of the offices were occupied by organizations related to the tobacco industry, such as railroads, insurance companies, and attorneys.[9]

On November 23, 2009 the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Reynolds American, Inc. put the building up for sale after cutting jobs and moving many offices into the Plaza Building next door. Forsyth County tax records show the Reynolds Building's value as $12.3 million. The building offers 240,000 square feet (22,000 m2) of office space, much of that Class B.[4]

In 2012, Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, which owned the Proximity and O. Henry hotels in nearby Greensboro, considered plans to turn the building into a luxury hotel for business travelers,[10] but ultimately chose not to proceed.[11]

In March 2013, Reynolds American selected CBRE to market the building, which the company intended to sell for $15 million. Philadelphia-based PMC Property Group, which renovates historic buildings, and San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants bought the Reynolds Building for $7.8 million. Plans call for "a boutique hotel, restaurant and upscale apartments." [12]

In August 2014, the Reynolds Building was named to the National Register of Historic Places.[1][7] Historic status, with its tax incentives, could make the building more attractive.[11][3]


  1. ^ a b "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 8/18/14 through 8/23/14. National Park Service. 2014-08-29. 
  2. ^ "Reynolds Building". Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  3. ^ a b Craver, Richard (2014-05-08). "Panel OKs nomination of RJR building for register". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  4. ^ a b c Craver, Richard (2009-11-23). "Home of RJR on the market". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  5. ^ "Reynolds Building". Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  6. ^ Covington, Owen (2012-01-05). "A look at the historic Reynolds Building". Triad Business Journal. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  7. ^ a b Craver, Richard (2014-10-13). "'Grand Old Lady' is now 'historic'". Winston-Salem Journal. p. A1. 
  8. ^ Jen Hembree (March 2014). "Reynolds Building" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  9. ^ a b c d Bishir, Catherine (2005). North Carolina Architecture. UNC Press. p. 593. 
  10. ^ "Quaintance-Weaver could open hotel in historic Winston-Salem building". News & Record. 2012-01-05. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  11. ^ a b Craver, Richard (2014-05-02). "Process starts for historic registry nomination for Reynolds building". Winston-Salem Journal. p. A1. 
  12. ^ Craver, Richard (2014-05-22). "Former R.J. Reynolds headquarters sold for $7.8 million". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 2014-05-22.