By Todd Cohen
After looking for downtown offices for more than a year, the Reynolds Foundation and its 12 employees in January will move to the second floor of the Meridian Plaza building at 147 Cherry Street from its long-time quarters in spaces it leases at Reynolda Village.
Reynolds is returning downtown, where for 12 years it had offices in the old Wachovia building before relocating in 1980 to Reynolda Village.
The university will lease for retail use the foundation’s current space in a former schoolhouse for workers on the old estate of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco family.
“We were eager to remain in Winston-Salem,” says Tom Ross, the foundation’s executive director. “After a year of looking, we were beginning to wonder whether we were going to find anything that was suitable.”
Reflecting its commitment to “smart growth,” he says, the foundation wanted to move downtown.
“It would have been outside our values to have moved to a suburban area,” he says.
Babcock, which leases offices at 2522 Reynolda Road a mile away, has purchased a house at 2920 Reynolda Road it is renovating and will occupy around Thanksgiving.
Babcock, which has nine employees, left Reynolda Village several years ago when its staff outgrew offices in what had been a cottage for servants of the Reynolds family.
“Our board looked at the numbers and decided that, long-term, it made sense for the foundation to buy rather than rent,” says Gayle Williams, the foundation’s executive director.