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2022 Award of Merit: Wake Forest

The Loading Dock

2022 NC Main Street Award: Economic Vitality

Best Adaptive Reuse Project

  • Bob & Elizabeth Johnson

  • Plus Architecture

  • Focus Design Builders

  • Philip Freeman

  • Benchmark Bank

  • Town of Wake Forest Economic Development Department

In 2020, a need for collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs and remote workers was identified in Downtown Wake Forest. The Loading Dock, a coworking company, was recruited to the community and a former 1960s warehouse was transformed to accommodate this new use. The project goal was to find or redevelop an attractive building that welcomed Wake Forest residents into an inviting space that encouraged business collaboration.

Collaboration was a hallmark of this project, with more than six individual companies combining their influence and expertise to make the project happen.

Owners Bob and Elizabeth Johnson transformed their 20,000 square foot former warehouse into forty-eight private offices, seven conference rooms, two training rooms, a restaurant space, a large coworking/event area, and a kitchen and outdoor seating area. The building’s original rafters and concrete floors were retained.

The economic impact has been dramatic. More than 250 members have joined, representing 100 companies. Downtown Wake Forest realized a $4.1 million investment in downtown as a result of the project. And two adjoining properties are now poised for commercial development, essentially extending the downtown area.

Wake Forest Downtown, Incorporated, partnered with a committed property owner, the Wake Forest Business and Industry Partnership, the Town of Wake Forest, and The Loading Dock to bring jobs and investment to downtown.

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