The Whitaker Park project sites are part of the post-WWII expansion to the suburbs of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company’s (RJR) manufacturing operations from the company’s historic downtown industrial operations. The Whitaker Park cigarette manufacturing facility was built in 1961 and for over 50 years served as the manufacturing center for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. This 851,250 square foot facility was at one time the largest cigarette manufacturing plant in the world, employing over 2,000 people.
The industrial developments of the vast Whitaker Park manufacturing precinct are actually wedged in between a variety of land-uses that help define its unique transitional status. Because of the extreme variety, as well as the minimal interaction between many of the disparate land-uses, the project sites offer both unique opportunities and constraints for future developments. That being the case and as a result of the historical branding of the Whitaker Park manufacturing operations in the community’s past, it will be important that any future reuse of the property be of significant scale and value to the community, in order for it to define itself as an equivalent address to the surrounding land-uses.