Urban Outfitters to anchor new Raleigh high-rise

Posted July 25, 2017 8:42 a.m. EDT
Updated July 25, 2017 5:51 p.m. EDT

— National retailer Urban Outfitters will anchor a new high-rise in downtown Raleigh's warehouse district, the development company announced on Tuesday.

The store will be the first national clothing chain to open in downtown Raleigh.

The chain will occupy the ground level of The Dillon, a mixed-use development that will also house apartments and offices. It is set to open in 2018.

The development includes an 18-story office tower with retail space and two six-story apartment buildings. It will take up an entire city block bound by S. West Street, W. Martin Street, S. Harrington Street and W. Hargett Street.

"Our hope is that this helps brand downtown Raleigh as more of a shopping destination, and our hope is that it will bring more shoppers downtown that will then filter to our local stores and go to our existing retailers and help them as well," said Bill King of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

There have been 18 new retailers downtown since Jan.1, 2016 and 26 new retailers since Jan. 1, 2015. The city estimates retailers currently make up 30 percent of commercial storefront businesses downtown.

"We're want a balance between national and local (businesses)," King said. 'We certainly don't want to look back in five years and see nothing but national chains down here."

Pam Blondin opened Deco Raleigh five years ago- she's watched the city and her business grow. She admitted the announcement about a national retail chain setting up shop in downtown gave her pause.

"There's a tiny bit of me that is nervous," Blondin said. "We carry some of the same goods, but it will cause me to up my game a little bit."

Several shoppers said they're excited about the possibilities, but they think the local shops are what make downtown distinctive and interesting.

"I would go there, but I don't think it would change coming in places like this," Sarah Reece said.

But King said he thinks the national retailer's interest shows economic progress downtown.

"The fact that we've built something in downtown that's gotten good enough and has good enough statistics that a national brand wants to come here should be seen as nothing but a success."