The block bounded by West Chapel Hill Street, Willard Street, Duke Street, and Jackson Street was the former location of two homes owned by Benjamin N. Duke.
After B.N. Duke and his wife died in the late 1920s to 1930s, Duke University inherited the home and used it as a guesthouse and reception area for 30 years. In 1960, the University sold the property and building. It was demolished soon thereafter for the construction of North Carolina Mutual’s new office building.
North Carolina Mutual Company, now NC Mutual, began and completed construction of their modern office building in 1964, as they had outgrown their historic headquarters on West Parrish Street. They hired architects Welton Becket Associates of Los Angeles.
The 12-story tower was strategically placed at the peak of the development site in order to emphasize the structure’s prominence in the area, and was the tallest building in Durham. It was named one of Forbes’ 10 Outstanding Buildings of 1966 and one of Fortune’s Top 10 Buildings of the Decade.
Managing Partner, Michael Lemanski; Partner, Carl Webb; and a group of local investors, were actively involved in The Tower at Mutual Plaza’s acquisition, previously named The Legacy Tower project. They contribute to the positive momentum of Downtown Durham, maintaining a high level of inclusion and community connection. This project will continue to add tremendous value to current and future Tower at Mutual Plaza tenants.
NC Mutual will continue to occupy premier space within the building and play an active role in the building’s plans for expansion. The following tenants have joined NC Mutual: Duke University and its affiliates, the Veterans Affairs (U.S. Government), GoTriangle, and the Durham office of Perkins + Will, a global architecture firm recently noted for designing the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Significant portions of the NC Mutual building’s interior and exterior will be preserved or repurposed.