Photos: American Tobacco Campus in Durham

Don’t let the name fool you.  This is a 100% smoke-free environment.

After decades of abandon, the renovation efforts of the American Tobacco Campus are now 10 years in, giving even the Research Triangle Park some stiff competition for attracting young professionals.  Some of the buildings and water features are truly a marvel of modern architectural development: an impressive renovation of historic space with urban chic materials for modernized pedestrian and business use.  

The area that was originally the coal shed for the cigarette factory has become The Cage, a covered basketball court that doubles as an ice rink in winter months.  

The railroad ditch that transported coal and leaves has been repurposed as a waterfall and river that run throughout the office park eventually becoming a greenway that runs 5 miles through the city all the way down to Southpoint Mall.

Beautiful inside and out

In addition to beautiful outdoor spaces, the campus also has unusual and creatively renovated indoor spaces.  Condomimiums are on the second level of several buildings and the basement of some of the warehouses is part of the American Underground, where start-ups and coworking groups meet, work and learn.

Employees can take a break with more than vending machines — the underground area includes an arcade (not to mention the abundance of boutique restaurants within walking distance). Conference rooms have clear walls with business ideas and meeting notes scrawled on the stainless steel and glass.

The original factory water tower, adorned with the Lucky Strike logo, stands tall and also serves to hold a stage cover for the free summer concert series held on the lawn of the courtyard.

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