Cook Medical to refit cigarette plant into medical device manufacturing facility

Cigarette production in the 850,000-square-foot building ended in 2012, and the new facility will house Cook Medical’s local workforce of over 650 employees. (ICook Medical)

Cook Medical announced plans to acquire an old cigarette factory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and convert it into a new medical device manufacturing plant.

Part of the R.J. Reynolds factory built in 1961, the new facility will house Cook Medical’s local workforce of over 650 employees. Cigarette production in the 850,000-square-foot building ended in 2012, and the space was donated to the Whitaker Park Development Authority.

“To turn part of the R.J. Reynolds building into a life-saving and life-changing medical device manufacturing facility is an exciting transformation,” said Barry Slowey, president of Cook Medical’s Winston-Salem location. “We’re proud to reinvest in the community, the history and the local economy.”

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According to a report from the Winston-Salem Journal, renovations are slated to begin in late 2019, with operations planned for launch in late 2021 or early 2022.

“The flexibility that the R.J. Reynolds space provides will allow us to purpose build for efficiency in our production lines,” Slowey said in a statement.

Completion of the acquisition is subject to certain conditions, including inspections of the property and finalization of agreements with the City of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County and the state of North Carolina.

The Bloomington, Indiana-based Cook Medical said it expects the deal to formally close in the third quarter of this year.