What is Wake Downtown?

Wake Downtown is the locus of Wake Forest University’s three new undergraduate academic programs in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB), Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery, and Engineering.

The University was presented with a unique opportunity to design space in an old Reynolds Tobacco building (Building 60) for classrooms, teaching labs, and research labs that provide next-generation facilities and innovative Reynolda/Medical School faculty partnerships at more modest costs. The developer, Wexford Scientific, renovated it like other Innovation Quarter buildings at a considerable discount by taking advantage of tax benefits for historic buildings. They passed this discount on to the University in the form of a lower rate for a 15-year lease with the option to buy.

In addition to the three anchor programs, Wake Downtown also serves as an interdisciplinary hub, hosting courses from academic departments in the arts and humanities that benefit from the building’s innovative teaching spaces and urban setting. Offerings over past semesters include: Social Entrepreneurship, Playwriting, Literacy in the 21st Century, The Analytical Methods of Sherlock Holmes, and many more.

By the Numbers

  • 129 courses taught
  • 16 unique general academic disciplines
  • 65 faculty