Online Originals: Imperial Tobacco Site demolition begins

Online Originals

Demolition has begun on what once was the Imperial Tobacco site here in Greenville. The project, which is expected to take around four months, is the first step in clearing a path for future construction plans on the 8.52 acres of land.

The site is located between Dickinson Avenue, Clark Street, and Bonner Lane. It’s near an up and coming area of Greenville, with new restaurants, breweries, and shops. Not far from ECU’s campus, the land also sits near railroad tracks.

An old fence covered in weeds blocks the entrance of the site, as construction equipment is used to demolish what’s left of the tobacco plant.

The Imperial Tobacco Processing Plant was a part of the United Kingdom Company Imperial Tobacco, which was started in 1901. When the plant was brought to Greenville, it was one of the largest tobacco buyers on the Greenville market at the time. When the company left Greenville in 1978, the former plant sat untouched until a fire engulfed the structure in 2008.

A “road closed” sign blocking the public from entering the site.

A $150,000 grant has been funded to Greenville from the North Carolina Division of Rural Economic Development. This grant allows the City to remove what’s left of the tobacco site.

“Oh my gosh it could be a very transformational project for the city of Greenville.” 

-Michael cowin, greenville’s assistant city manager and chief financial officer, on the growth this project may bring.

In June of 2017, the City of Greenville requested proposals for the Imperial site project. The City’s interest in the land is mixed with residential, office, and retail spaces, once demolition and clearing of the land is finished.

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