Business

Downtown Raleigh aims for more retail

Posted January 28, 2013

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— Boosters are placing more emphasis on expanding downtown Raleigh residential options to attract more retailers to the city's center.

Last year, 38 businesses opened shop downtown, while another 17 closed. The net growth was up 30 percent from 2011.

Paul Reimel, economic development manager for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said his group is trying to attract a grocery store, a movie theater and other amenities to the area.

"(More residential growth is needed) to really prove the demographics are here to support a downtown grocery store," Reimel said Monday.

About 5,000 people live in the downtown area, and another 1,200 housing units are planned.

"It's nice to see all the retail developing, so you have a lot more options for retail as well," said Catherine Winter, who moved with her husband from Apex to downtown Raleigh last year.

Reimel said a 2011 study counting pedestrians downtown helped Downtown Raleigh Alliance recruit new businesses.

Downtown Raleigh More residents attract businesses to downtown Raleigh

Mark Saad, chief financial officer of flip-flop retailer Feelgoodz Treehouse, said his company nearly bypassed downtown for a space in the suburbs last year.

"We've been surprised to find we've sold just as much here as we would've sold at a major shopping center or strip mall," Saad said.

Dr. Adam Moore opened downtown's only current dental practice six months ago. A lifelong Raleigh resident, he said he has seen changes downtown and still marvels at the progress.

"I never went to Fayetteville Street until seven or eight years ago. I never dreamed I'd be working here and living here," Moore said.

19 Comments

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  • btneast Jan 30, 11:20 a.m.

    A grocery store and some other general retail would go a long way to making downtown more attractive.

    Not sure expecting a large chain grocer to prosper in a downtown setting is reasonable. If its goal is to be in walking distance of its customers, who is going to walk many blocks lugging bags of groceries? Maybe a mini version, or specialty grocers with small footprints.

  • btneast Jan 30, 11:14 a.m.

    Suburbs are subsidized with massive roads that downtown residents had to help pay for. Dense development is the most economically efficient development. Period. Take a math class.

    Hopefully not the same math class you took. Article clearly states there are currently 5,000 people that live downtown. June 2011, Raleigh's population was a little over 416,000. I would say the subaranites outnumber the urbanites by a wide margin. Suburbia, in Raleigh, is clearly paying for downtown.

  • ecreek Jan 30, 8:41 a.m.

    @drjones74

    I see what you mean from your context and I agree there is plenty of parking downtown. I've never had trouble finding a parking spot downtown, ever. However, "dearth" actually means a shortage, not an abundance. FYI

    Downtown Raleigh really does need more retail, and that will likely attract more residents. A grocery store and some other general retail would go a long way to making downtown more attractive.

  • superman Jan 29, 4:14 p.m.

    SubwayScoundrel Guess you didnt read about the building they going to use to attract starving artists. And please dont forget about the convention center they built over the protests of many. Last I read it was still losing money. I worked downtown for many years. Hated even going outside during lunch because of the number of people who were begging and wanted money. Would never have gone there at night and certainly not alone.

  • idontthinkso5 Jan 29, 3:35 p.m.

    People who don't know how to find a parking spot in downtown probably should stay out of downtown.

  • torchhappysean Jan 29, 3:16 p.m.

    "Park in a parking deck. They are free on nights and weekends. By the time you take the elevator down to the ground level and walk to your destination, you've probably done less walking than the average person does in a Wal Mart parking lot."...
    reed..... AND been acosted by 3 homeless people looking for spare change, 4 or 5 drunk yuppies who might or might not be looking for a fight, oh and lets not forget the occasional mugger hiding in the shadows.. Until Raleigh cleans up the neighborhoods surrounding downtown you will be taking your life in your hands every time you visit it at night...

  • SubwayScoundrel Jan 29, 2:54 p.m.

    "Let the free market decide where businesses locate based on the ability to make a profit. I.E. - the Krogers which just closed downtown because they weren't profitable"--Conservative Voter

    At least get your facts straight? The Kroger was not Downtown. It was in the South Side of the city

    Also, private investment has been much greater than goverment investment in DT area in the last 10 years. That is what the article is about and did not mention any government spend on DT

    Amazing what people will make up to try to prove their point

  • Eric the Actor Jan 29, 2:04 p.m.

    Park in a parking deck. They are free on nights and weekends. By the time you take the elevator down to the ground level and walk to your destination, you've probably done less walking than the average person does in a Wal Mart parking lot.

  • abbync2001 Jan 29, 2:04 p.m.

    I love going downtown after work but hate PAYING to park in the parking decks. Street parking is free after 5:00 but of course is limited.

  • delilahk2000 Jan 29, 1:46 p.m.

    ISN'T RALEIGH EVER GOING TO BE LARGE ENOUGH??????AND THE CRIME WILL GROW ALONG WITH IT.......

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