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Raleigh hotel plan forcing out small shops

Posted May 7, 2013
Updated May 9, 2013

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— 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.


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  • btneast May 9, 2013

    Oh, Lonnie's Golf course? It's losing money daily. NCSU is paying to keep it going as it doesn't even come *close* to covering its expenses

    Golf courses across the country have been having a hard time financially for several years now. Apparently , it is overbuilt.

  • shortcake53 May 9, 2013

    I'm for the small business owners. I hate seeing huge corporations bulldoze over family run businesses. We should encourage small companies and stores. I would much rather go into a nice small store than ramble around in a huge warehouse and walk 3 miles to get milk at one end and potting soil at the other. My best to those who work hard and struggle to make their business a success.

  • oddportal May 9, 2013

    @whoodathunk Yea... Players Retreat is part of a second phase of destruction on Hillsborough St. It is in the Future... When we all sat on our hands and let them tear down the Brewery they had not told us about Sadlacks... Actually the University was still telling many of these small businesses they were much to vital to tear down and NCSU had no plans to take their business...

  • BernsteinIII May 9, 2013

    Why is NCSU in the real estate business and developing hotels? How does that educate my child?

    Oh, Lonnie's Golf course? It's losing money daily. NCSU is paying to keep it going as it doesn't even come *close* to covering its expenses.

  • sc2005 May 8, 2013

    sweetlyght- you haven't noticed the other two hotels a few blocks down Hillsborough street? Three if you count that old round one that used to be the Holiday Inn.One of them had to convert some of their rooms to monthly rentals because there wasn't enought business. I agree with corey3rd2

  • corey3rd2 May 8, 2013

    Another hotel near NC State's campus that will eventually be converted into a dorm.

  • batcave May 8, 2013

    Sadlack's is almost as old as Players Retreat

    Not even close, you make it up as you go. PR is about 60 years old.

  • batcave May 8, 2013

    this hotel next to the golf course
    You don't know where the golf coarse is , do you. Or the hotel, one or the other. The hotel is across form the bell tower, the lonnie poole golf coarse is near the Centennial Campus, along with the alum center.What law are they breaking? Centennial has been up and running for awhile. The idea started 25 years ago.

  • sweetlyght May 8, 2013

    I hate to see the businesses go, but there is no denying the need for a new hotel closer to campus... however having on on Hillsburough street does seem extremely odd.

  • Pepe Silvia May 8, 2013

    "It's sad to force out good, dedicated LOCALLY-OWNED businesses for some big company that could care less about anything but money. Wonder what the University's lesson for the student's is in this move?"

    "So in your world the locally-owned business do not care about money?" whatelseisnew

    No one says local business don't care about money, they obviously need money to thrive and be a successful business but the money goes BACK into the local economy. Instead of helping the CEO of some mega-corporation buy a private jet or beach home, buying local means you're helping a a neighbor put food on their table, send their kids to college, etc...