Local News

A decade later, American Tobacco Campus continues to revitalize Durham

Posted September 1
Updated September 6

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Julia Cobley remembers the days before the American Tobacco Campus when biking to lunch in downtown Durham wasn’t as convenient as it is now.

“As I rode in here on the bike, I thought how wonderful it is to come off the Tobacco Trail and ride straight to lunch,” the Cary resident said. “And I remember thinking that wasn't what it used to be like 15 years ago.”

Thursday marks the campus’ 10th anniversary. A big block party is planned for Sunday to commemorate the milestone.

The area was once a decrepit, dusty space of old tobacco warehouses situated on the edge of downtown Durham. But a $200 million renovation by the Goodmon family has turned the area into a thriving city center with restaurants and cutting-edge office spaces that has drawn more development, including the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Capitol Broadcasting Corporation, which is the parent company of WRAL, also owns the American Tobacco Campus.

“It’s a day gone by but we can’t forget our past,” said Justin Hughes, manager of Tyler’s Taproom. The restaurant was the campus’ first tenant.

Another big draw for the area is the Durham Bulls, which on Sunday broke its all-time single-season paid attendance record. Monday’s game brought the final season total to 533,033 fans, surpassing the attendance mark of 520,952 set in 2007.

The area’s success wasn’t quick or easy, but Durham Mayor Bill Bell says it was worth the wait.

“I don't think anybody would look back and say they wish we'd have done it differently, only wish we'd have done it sooner,” he said. “There's no question in my mind if you look at Durham five, 10 years from now, the whole landscape is going to look different. We've come a long way, but it started right here.”

3 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • btneast Sep 2, 3:31 p.m.

    Durham really is an amazing place with Duke University, Southpoint Mall, most of RTP, the Performing Arts Center, the Museum of Life and Sciences, and the Durham Bulls (just to name a few)!

    You pretty much covered them all, with maybe the exception of the Broad St to 9th street area. It's all of the other areas that are the issue....and the contrast from these "other" areas to the areas you listed is pretty stark. Durham has come a long way, and I hope it continues.....but it still has a real big elephant in the room.......

  • AliceBToklas Sep 2, 3:26 p.m.

    They have done a great job with the Tobacco Campus thus far. A great place to hang out, eat,... View More

    — Posted by uBnice

    Also a great place to work. It took a while to develop but looks great now.

  • uBnice Sep 2, 1:54 p.m.

    They have done a great job with the Tobacco Campus thus far. A great place to hang out, eat, drink, and make merry.

    Durham really is an amazing place with Duke University, Southpoint Mall, most of RTP, the Performing Arts Center, the Museum of Life and Sciences, and the Durham Bulls (just to name a few)!

    Disclaimer: Yes, I know the city has some unsavory elements, but that just adds flavor.