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Rising rent forcing downtown Raleigh businesses to relocate

Posted July 30, 2015

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— Some downtown Raleigh businesses have been forced close their doors because they can't afford the monthly rent.

Now, the growing concern among business owners and downtown planners is how to attract new businesses downtown without running out current tenants

Apartments and condos are fast becoming a part of the skyline, making Downtown Raleigh a fashionable address. However, when there’s such a great demand—and a limited supply—property prices invariably rise.

Fred Montague, co-owner of Lighting Incorporated on Peace Street, said his building was sold amid the rising rent prices.

“Rent has been about $2,000 a month, but we figured it would probably go up to eight or 10,” Montague said.

Natty Greene's Pub and Brewing Company on Jones Street is closing Saturday after five years.

When the building was sold, the landlord decided to substantially increase rental rates. They were too high for Natty Greene's, so the pub will shut down its Raleigh location.

Trig Modern furniture store, located in downtown Raleigh, faces a similar scenario. With rental rates at $17 to $25 a square foot, owner Bob Drake said he can’t afford to stay downtown.

Drake opened the furniture boutique in 2012 and was paying $3,000 a month. Now, Drake will soon have to leave, unable to pay the rent anywhere downtown, making way for new apartments.

Drake said downtown has become too focused on condos and restaurants.

“Those of us who are having to make some changes are afraid that downtown Raleigh will lose its character,” Drake said. “There’s more to retail than just a pint of beer.”

Bill King, development manager for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said rising rental rates are a sign of demand in downtown Raleigh.

“In the last month alone, we’ve had three new retailers announce they’re coming to downtown,” King said. “We have a few more on the way. So there are some coming in, but we’re certainly sensitive to the fact that we want to keep the ones that we have.”

King added that city has established a retail task force in hopes of finding ways to keep the mom-and-pop stores in the center city.

Meanwhile, nearly 2,500 residential units are either planned, or under construction.


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  • Cary Tom Jul 31, 2015
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    Seems the only thing the upper percenter's want these days is fancy digs and places to eat and drink. The days of a stroll down the main street window shopping are gone. Sadly, I suspect the mom and pops will be replaced by boring corp franchise stores, much like we have in Cary. The stores are owned by investors and staffed by "kids" who don't know and don't care what they are selling

  • Keith Adams Jul 31, 2015
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    I left my art studio in downtown. I now work out of my house as do many other artists who used to have studios in and around downtown. The only way artists can afford it now is to be a part of a co-op like Artspace or 411 Galleries and even then space is limited. Pretty soon 1st Fridays in Raleigh will be nothing but drunks bar hoping from one bar to the next...

  • Roy Hinkley Jul 31, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Rent will only go as high as the market will allow. If prices get too high for a business to survive, that business will either adapt or move. If too many move out, the glut of empty retail spaces will drive down prices.

  • Paul Jones Jul 31, 2015
    user avatar

    Sadly, I rarely venture to downtown Raleigh. I go if I have a specific target (e.g., Carolina Ballet). So, I don't know what night life is really like downtown. However, I have been to many cities in Europe and businesses are downstairs and apartment upstairs. Is it like that, or are developers building all-residential buildings, leaving no room for shops below?

    Care does have to be taken to ensure good parking and access to services for residents. Otherwise, the good residents will leave.

  • K Hope Capps Jul 31, 2015
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    Phydeaux is moving from Seaboard Station and going further north. I haven't researched exactly where because we'll be going to their Cary location after they move.

  • Dennis Strickland Jul 31, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    As well as rising rents across the board in this area. It is ridiculous the prices they charge here. Greed is killing this country. Rents and services are going through the roof and yet our wages are stagnant. And they wonder why the average Joe is not going on a spending spree because of the low gas prices. In a few years the average person is not going to be able to afford to live here or worse.

  • Sean Creasy Jul 31, 2015
    user avatar

    My Jedi senses tell me that downtown is headed for desertion again like it used to be 25 years ago if they keep letting the greedy land grabbers have their way.. These businesses both new and old were promised the world so they would open, or stay, in downtown. Now that it has been revitalized and the ultra blingy condos have been sold or rented out the city is reneging on some of its promises so they can keep the yuppies happy and the landlords are trying to grab as much money as possible before it declines again...

  • Sherrill Craig Jul 30, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    I am not seeing that quote...Maybe they corrected it.

  • Mike Wells Jul 30, 2015
    user avatar

    “We’ve been here since 1950,” King said. “We hated to leave.”Is this a misquote? What business is King closing?