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Artist's Arrest After Block Party Steals Spotlight From Businesses

Posted August 18, 2007

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— Proprietors in Raleigh's Warehouse District threw a block party Thursday night to tout new businesses, but the event's headliner, Uncle Kracker, gained all the publicity.

The singer, whose real name is Matthew Shafer, was charged with a sex offense that police reports indicate happened at the Ess Lounge after his performance. In a statement to People magazine, he denied the allegation.

Organizers wanted the block party to highlight new businesses in the entertainment district, including the recently opened Ess Lounge and three restaurants and bars expected to be running by Labor Day weekend.

Ronnie Davis, owner of the three soon-to-be-opened establishments, said Shafer’s arrest shouldn't reflect poorly on businesses that haven’t even opened yet.

His businesses were originally slated to open this week, but Davis said he ran into a delay the city's permitting process. Eventually, the fire marshal signed off on paperwork clearing the way for Davis to open the three nightspots.

Proprietors said they're working to end the image of the Warehouse District as a downtrodden area.

“The area is safe,” Davis said. “It’s a beautiful area, and we are going to try to promote night life down here.”

Davis's three new businesses will be part of Raleigh's Depot, the former Southern Railway station on Davie Street in the Warehouse District. Five years ago, the North Carolina Railroad Company spent more than $2 million to restore the depot.

“It’s kind of a connection between Glenwood South and Fayetteville Street,” Greg Hatem, owner of Nana's Chophouse in the Warehouse District, said.

“I think with the opening of those new restaurants and bars, it’s going to start hitting some strides,” Hatem said.

Patrons said they have found plenty to enjoy in the Warehouse District's growing entertainment landscape.

"It's safe. It's fun. Everybody just comes down and has a good time," Matt Isaman said.

“I think this area has a lot of potential, and especially with the three new bars opening up, I’m pretty excited,” Megan Tucker said.

54 Comments

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  • nowon_yuno Aug 20, 2007

    Uncle Kracker is Kid Rock's DJ.

  • onecutlasscutlass Aug 19, 2007

    JUDGE NOT ..LESS YE B JUDGED!!!

  • UpwardlyMobile Aug 19, 2007

    I hate that this happened at ESS lounge. My husband had a surprise birthday party for me there last year. The owners and the staff were wonderful and everyone had a fantastic time. Its a great spot to hang out.

  • Fiddlemom Aug 19, 2007

    TO HIP SHOT:

    You are absolutely right! Not all people who live in trailer parks are 'trash", I'd just say just the opposite. Many fine people live in mobile homes and some in parks. Good for you!

  • ifcdirector Aug 19, 2007

    Judging from the photo he missed his big break to be America's foremost Buddy Hackett impersonator. Aim low Raleigh and you will keep getting the trash and all the requisite crime and lack of money spent that comes with them for featuring such a trash act.

  • ADN4now Aug 18, 2007

    Well, the song was "When the Sun Goes Down" recorded with Kenny Chesney. And someone else he seems to be tight with is Kid Rock. I remember Kenny having his own scrape with the law, something about a horse and a fountain.
    When I heard this on the radio the other morning all I could think of is "This is Durham all over again." But of course it will gain some national attention because of the "celebrity" issue.
    "Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town", That's us!

  • albritton76 Aug 18, 2007

    Guilt or innocence aside, if this guy was the headliner, the organizers were sure aiming low.

  • LibertarianTechie Aug 18, 2007

    itsnews2me, that was a good comment; very funny.

  • TruthBKnown Aug 18, 2007

    I believe he got a "monster bail" because he was considered a huge flight risk.

  • Joe Blow Aug 18, 2007

    It's my understanding the victim was wearing a skirt and he stuck his hand up it... I'm sure they were both drunk and dancing all over eachother but he took it a bit to far.

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