Golden Belt Campus wins Triangle CREW Champion Award for Best Redevelopment project:
September 2021, at the TCREW 22nd Annual Champion Awards where “Golden Belt Campus” was recognized as the “Best Redevelopment Project”. Alliance Architecture is honored and proud to have partnered with LRC Properties in creating a center for creativity in East Durham.
A fully restored Golden Belt Campus – one of Durham’s last historic textile mills to be creatively reused, draws a captivating energy to downtown. Home to businesses such as Strata Solar and Willow Tree, GBC has transformed a piece of Durham’s industrial past into a vital hub where people live, create, and work.
With over 327,000 SF of Class A commercial space, GBC combines a vibrant local arts community, airy loft living, and modern offices in a historic setting, while also saving space for fun. This project has become recognized for its lively community with features that embrace the urban industrial aesthetic.
One can explore an art gallery show, enjoy a beer and games at Hi-Wire Brewing, or check out a concert at the SummerStage. GBC is the go-to, must-have place for creative pursuits, cultural events and a hip lifestyle allowing companies to capture and retain the best and brightest.
From a historical perspective, nearly everything that has made Durham the city it is today, can be traced to the brightleaf tobacco that grew in a band of poor soils stretching across the Carolina piedmont (The Golden Belt).
A textile factory intimately linked with tobacco production, the Golden Belt Manufacturing Company started in the Old Bull Building at American Tobacco before Julian Carr constructed the large plant on East Main St. to cut and sew bags for loose leaf tobacco. The company later branched into hosiery production and paper products to include cartons and packaging for Lucky Strike cigarettes. After outlasting all of its early textile contemporaries, Golden Belt closed in 1994.
In 2008, Buildings 2 through 7 were redeveloped as a mixture of residences, artists’ studios, office space, and retail. The 175,000 SF cotton mill and the powerplant, however, continued to loom over their renovated sister buildings, windows bricked, until the entire Golden Belt campus was acquired in 2016 by New York-based LRC Properties. Utilizing Historic Tax Credits, LRC embarked on a complete renovation of the norther portion of the campus, including the 118-year-old cotton mill and power plant – the last pieces in a fully renovated and unified Golden Belt Campus.
The campus was envisioned as a place where bio-tech researchers, software developers, brewers, artists, and chefs would all interact through proximity. Upon completion the project was 100% leased with courtyards teeming with activity. As hoped, the tenant mix is diverse, engaged and has sparked a renewal of the surrounding neighborhoods. The transformation is ongoing and spreading further east into other Durham locales.