Raleigh hotel plan forcing out small shops
Posted May 7, 2013
Updated May 9, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A plan to build a hotel near the campus of North Carolina State University is forcing some businesses to find a new home.
The 125-room premium hotel will be on Hillsborough Street, across from the bell tower. A handful of nearby businesses have been given a Dec. 1 deadline to move before construction begins.
As construction workers were collecting soil samples from the site Tuesday, one of the nearby business owners said she is concerned about starting over.
“The very first reaction I had was, ‘I don’t believe this,’” said Rose Schwetz of Sadlack’s Heroes, a sandwhich shop and bar that opened on Hillsborough Street in 1972.
NCSU owns the property and announced in 2011 that it will use the land for the development project, which includes the hotel. Construction is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months.
Unhee Choi, whose family owns Bell Tower Mart, struggles to talk about the decision without crying. She worries they may have to pay more money to lease space somewhere else.
Choi said she just wants to be financially stable for her three children.
“We need to start again, start over,” she said.
Groom Room barbershop owners said they have a place to go and declined further comment. The owner of Buddha’s Belly said they are looking for a new home.
The move won’t be the first for Stephen Judge of Schoolkids Records, an independent record store started in 1973. But this time, it won’t be by choice, he said.
“You kind of feel like getting dumped,” Judge said. “Like you're not the person they want to take to the prom.”
He said the move from the store’s location across from the bell tower will be bittersweet. He’s looking into other options downtown and at Mission Valley shopping center.
“I mean, I look at it positive because I've wanted to expand Schoolkids into something beyond just a record store for a long time,” Judge said.
Davin Driskill of The Bernstein Companies - one of the partners developing the site - said his Washington, D.C.-based company is in the final stages of an agreement with a national hotel brand.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” he said.