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Technology Overtakes Tobacco in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The idea that universities and government could jointly build a business park framed around technology was born 55 years ago in North Carolina, on farm and forest land eight miles south of downtown Durham.

Here in Winston-Salem, about 80 miles west, the technology business park is being updated to fit two development priorities of the 21st century: proximity and collaboration.

Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, rising on a 145-acre parcel on the developing east side of this midsize Carolina city, is a partnership between the city and state, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Wake Forest University and Wexford Science and Technology, the Baltimore-based primary developer. The development, initially named the Piedmont Triad Research Park, was once the site of a cigarette manufacturing plant owned by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

The irony of the Innovation Quarter’s focus on data analysis, biotech health research and medical education is not lost on the project’s developers. Neither is the design emphasis on light and air.

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This article was written by Keith Schneider and published in print on April 29, 2015, on page B6 of The New York Times.

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