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Durham Leaders, Capitol Broadcasting Sign American Tobacco Deal

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DURHAM, N.C. — The city of Durham, Durham County and Capitol Broadcasting Co., signed off on a multimillion-dollar deal Monday evening.

The agreement concerns the construction and operation of parking decks in and around the American Tobacco complex in downtown Durham.

A few weeks ago, Durham city and county leaders voted to spend $43.2 million to build parking decks to help support the project.

"I'm really looking forward to this project and what we can all do for downtown Durham," said Jim Goodmon, Capitol Broadcasting Co. president and CEO.

Signees then flipped the switch on an electrical panel salvaged from the mothballed plant, and the familiar Lucky Strike smokestack lit up the night sky along with a colorful fireworks show. The smokestack will now light the Durham sky every night.

The project, which is being developed by Capitol Broadcasting Co., the parent company of WRAL-TV, is expected to bring more than 3,000 jobs to the area.

"I like to think of this as Winston Churchill once said in World War II, 'Its the end of the beginning.' And that's where we are with this project. We are past now the beginning of the revitalization of downtown Durham," said Bill Kalkhof, of Downtown Durham Inc.

The plan is to turn the complex into restaurants, shops, offices, a fitness center and possibly some residential units. It is scheduled for completion by 2010.

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