Plant 64 was renovated from a tobacco plant that was originally built in 1916.
Plant 64 was renovated from a tobacco plant that was originally built in 1916.

The oldest R.J. Reynolds Tobacco plant recently re-opened in Winston-Salem, N.C. after a dramatic $54 million transformation that changed the five-building campus from a crumbling industrial site into a glamorous luxury apartment community.

Plant 64 includes 243 apartments ranging in size from one- to three-bedroom units. The site, which was built in 1916, was also renovated to include 9,700 square feet of retail space.

Chris Travis, COO of Capstone Building Corporation, says the transformation is astonishing, but it was a tough project to bring toward completion.

“Every time you turn a corner, and in every wall you open up, you’re encountering something in most cases you didn’t anticipate,” he says.

Birmingham, Ala.-based Capstone worked as the general contractor on the project with developers Philadelphia-based Pennrose and Bethesda, Md.-based C.A. Harrison Companies.

Each apartment is outfitted with high-end finishes such as designer kitchens and ceilings from 12- to 15-feet high. The windows also proved difficult for the contractors to work with. Since the project was funded with help of historic tax credits, there were very specific guidelines to be followed, Travis says.

“We had to maintain the original use and intent of the windows,” he says. “We had to maintain the historical integrity [but it was worth it in the end]. But the project is neat because it’s historical.”

Other historical touches were integrated into the new design as well. When the companies first entered the buildings, there were several pieces of machinery that are now being displayed as décor, Travis says.

“There’s a basketball gym and up on the wall is some old equipment that would have been used in the production back when the building was being used as a plant,” he says. “[The machinery was] cleaned up and mounted on the wall. It reminds you of what was here before.”

In addition to incorporating old objects into new spaces, modern finishes were also selected to update the building. The amenity package includes an outdoor grilling area, saltwater pool, sundeck, and 24-hour fitness center.

Travis expects to bring the project to full completion before the end of this year.