Winston-Salem, NC -- A historic building in downtown Winston-Salem could become the Triad's next luxury hotel.
The R.J.Reynolds building has been a fixture downtown since 1929. It was a model for the Empire State Building, built two years later by the same architects.
For years, the R.J. Reynolds building was the tallest office building south of Baltimore.
The building has been shut down and locked up since 2009, when the company moved its offices next door.
David Howard, spokesman for R.J. Reynolds, said since then, they've received multiple proposals, but they didn't entertain any of them until now.
"I cannot imagine another city in the United States, that wouldn't be envious of getting to take something like this and making it a small, luxury hotel," said Dennis Quaintance, CEO of Quaintance-Weaver Hotels and Restaurants.
Quaintance-Weaver, which owns the O'Henry Hotel and the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, has entered into a collaborative effort to explore possibly converting the iconic building into a hotel.
Quaintance said with marble and brass in the lobby, the gold leaf ceilings, and the rich history, making it a hotel would be a dream come true.
"There's no other building like this in the south, so there will never be another hotel, if we make this a hotel, like this will be, extraordinary," said Quaintance.
It could take a year to make sure converting the 22-story building is possible.
Quaintance and officials at R.J. Reynolds have to look at the cost of renovations, safety requirements, air-conditioning, marketability, and any other upgrades needed for the decades-old building.
While there is no set price tag for the building, Quaintance said an undertaking like this will cost millions. According to Quaintance, the Proximity Hotel cost $30 million to build four years ago. Restoration will cost more than that.
The developers are considering about 120 to 160 guest rooms, a restaurant, and indoor and outdoor even space.
Quaintance added that a new hotel would create new jobs. A hotel this size would need about 240 people to work there.
"We're hopeful and optimistic it's going to work out the way we all want it too. And it's going to be a beautiful cornerstone to downtown Winston-Salem and the entire Triad," said Howard.
WFMY News 2