The vision of the Innovation Quarter is rooted in a longstanding culture of innovation in Winston-Salem, NC, that has existed since the Moravians settled here. It continued with the manufacturing boom in the early 20th century, signaled by the exponential growth of companies like R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Hanesbrands.
As Winston-Salem made the transition from “Camel City” to “the City of Arts and Innovation” at the end of the 20th century, the focus of innovation changed from tobacco to technology. In the midst of this transition, the idea for Innovation Quarter was born.
The vision for a research park district in Winston-Salem emerged from the community. A group of academic, business and government leaders created the North Carolina Emerging Technology Alliance—later re-named Idealliance—and developed a plan to transform downtown Winston-Salem.
Innovation Quarter, as it is today, grew from that seed, led by Wake Forest Health Sciences in partnership with city, county and state government, local businesses, developers and community members, all who participated in its development shared the vision of creating a thriving downtown that could sustain the region and beyond.
Read about some of our milestones below.
Though the roots of the Innovation Quarter lie with Wake Forest Baptist Health, it has found a real estate and development partner in Wexford Science & Technology that shares the same passion for collaboration, connectivity and community.
By partnering with universities, academic medical centers and research institutions, Wexford specializes in knowledge communities: vibrant, mixed-use, amenity-rich urban developments built on a foundation of research, discovery and entrepreneurial activity. Wexford stays with its partners through the formation, development and growth of these communities.
Together, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wexford have shaped the evolution of the Innovation Quarter and set it on the path toward what it is becoming—a high-tech ecosystem that serves business, academic and societal needs.
Innovation Quarter leverages the unique environment of its downtown location to create an inviting, collaborative hub of innovators who explore personal and professional ambitions against an urban backdrop of a culturally varied and creatively rich community.
With a goal of bringing together multiple facets of Winston-Salem and the Piedmont Triad at-large, Innovation Quarter creates an inclusive environment that welcomes all citizens, encourages them to think innovatively and provides the resources to help bring their creative ideas to life.
Innovation doesn’t happen in isolation. Creating proximity through shared spaces and diverse business clusters, we foster an intentional system where both individuals and companies can thrive—a nexus ripe for collaboration. It’s a culture where start-ups partner with global businesses and an academic enterprise finds synergy with a tech company.
Additionally, we recognize creativity doesn’t happen on an empty stomach. The Innovation Quarter is home to restaurants, bars and cafés, as well as specialty shops, and other retail stores to round out your experience. We also host a variety of events and programs to make sure your mind is well-fed, too. Anything you need to create community—find it here.
Since 2012, 1.7 million square feet of mixed-use space has been completed as a blend of new construction and revitalized historic buildings. And this is only the beginning. Totaling 330+ acres, the Innovation Quarter has more development to come, and you could be part of the next 2.4 million square feet.
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Discover more of what the Innovation Quarter has to offer. Explore the variety of companies and people who call this place home and some of the things that make this place a good spot to work, live, learn and play. About Winston-Salem
Learn more about what makes the Innovation Quarter the right place to grow companies of any size—from start-ups to large corporations.
Explore the great outdoors downtown. Visit the parks, trails and green spaces of the iQ.
Why an innovation district in the City of Arts & Innovation? Discover more about Winston-Salem.