WINSTON SALEM, N.C. - A deal is in the works for a medical device company to move into Whitaker Park in Winton-Salem.

  • Former Reynolds Tobacco plant could spark renewed development near Wake Forest University
  • Cook Medical expects to spend 10s of millions of dollars in renovations
  • The company makes medical devices that help eliminate the need for open surgery

The former Reynolds Tobacco plant could spark renewed development near Wake Forest University.

At one point Whitaker Park was the largest and most modern cigarette plant in the world.

"What exciting for us was to take an iconic building and repurpose it for medical devices," said Barry Slowey, the President of Cook Medical Winston-Salem

The global company makes medical devices that help eliminate the need for open surgery.

With 650 employees scattered in seven buildings,  it's outgrown operations about five miles away.

Reynolds donated a large part of the facility -- built in the early 1960's -- for economic development.

Mayor Allen Joines is upbeat about the latest news.

"It's obviously very positive, we've been working with cook for a long time, probably a year and a half, trying to find a site for them to within Winston-Salem,” said Joines.

"The hope is that this news will create some buzz and momentum that would continue to spur development here."

"We've got a number of other comanies that are looking at the park, hopefully we'll see som other anouncements in the not-to-distant future,” said Joines.

Cook expects to spend tens of millions of dollars in renovations -- that are expected to take several years. .          

Company officials are excited about the prospects of boosting redevelopment

"The economy is changing here and I think a big focus of the Winston-Salem area is the health sciences,” said Slowey. "There's a lot of excitement and a lot of energy to do the same types of things that have been done downtown in the Innovation Quarter."

Cook is hoping to finalize the purchase in the third quarter of the year.

 

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