American Tobacco Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Acclaimed Public-Private Partnership Toasts a Decade of Success, 120 Years in the Making

(Durham) - The nationally acclaimed American Tobacco Historic District celebrates its tenth anniversary as a world-class destination for everything from business to baseball to Broadway with major events and special happenings Sept. 4-7.

Events include:

  • The rousing finale of the 2014 Back Porch Music on the Lawn series, featuring the ever-popular Chatham County Line on Thursday, Sept. 4, 6-8pm. (Public)
  • A tenant appreciation party with bands and picnics on the fabled American Tobacco lawn on Friday, Sept. 5, 3-5pm. (Private)
  • A BBQ for former American Tobacco factory workers and people involved in the campus’ renovation on Saturday, Sept. 6, followed by tours of intriguing campus spaces, including private businesses not always open to visitors. (Private)
  • A public festival on Blackwell Street, Sunday, Sept. 7, 1-5pm. The street party will bridge the original old campus to its recent additions, including Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the coming Aloft Hotel and Diamond View III with its many new restaurants. The festival will also feature tours of intriguing campus places not always available to visitors. (Public)

“Our tenth anniversary celebration is for and about the people who’ve made the American Tobacco Historic District a success: those who worked in the factories for decades and those who make our community so incredibly alive today,” says Michael Goodmon, vice president of real estate for Capitol Broadcasting Company, which owns the campus.

Durham Mayor Bill Bell, who worked closely on the campus’ transformation, adds, “Ten years after cutting the ribbon, the American Tobacco Campus stands as a shining national example of urban revitalization. As in decades past, it has become a community and economic beacon, and a major part of what makes Durham so special. And, like our city, it just keeps getting better.”

19th Century Meets 21st

The tenth anniversary is actually a story that goes back 120 years, when tobacco barons created a world-beating cigarette factory in downtown Durham. American Tobacco’s factories grew into a powerful economic engine, home to brands like Lucky Strike and thousands of jobs.

By the mid-’80s, though, the spark was gone. The factories closed and rotted. Nearly two decades later, Capitol Broadcasting Company joined with the City of Durham to reinvent the icon.

After years of work and tens of millions in private investment, American Tobacco returned in 2004 -- this time as home to champions of all kinds:

  • The campus’ roster includes marquee brands such as Burt’s Bees, McKinney, Appia, Bronto, Fifth Third Bank, parts of Duke University and many more.
  • The campus is the original home of the American Underground, one of just eight Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hubs in the world. The Underground -- a launchpad for promising startups -- has grown into a second location in downtown Durham and one in downtown Raleigh.
  • An array of restaurants offer popular fare, including award-winning BBQ. The outdoor seating options are unmatched in the Triangle.
  • The Durham Bulls and the blockbuster shows at DPAC draw tens of thousands of fans from around the region. Altogether, the campus counts roughly two million visitors each year.

Goodmon promises the campus isn’t done yet. “American Tobacco’s modern day culture is all about striving to be better,” he says. “We’ll have more news from the campus, and we look forward to great things happening throughout Durham and the region.”

Find out more about American Tobacco’s tenth anniversary celebration at (SITE). If you’re part of American Tobacco’s history or know someone who is, please send contact information and background to ATCStories@Gmail.com. Reporters and community partners, please contact Billy Warden (919.412.0630) or Greg Behr (919.272.5621).

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