Downtown Raleigh Shows Strong Growth

By Brent Woodcox

The latest report on the growth in business activity in downtown Raleigh shows that center city is continuing to grow at a strong pace. This is excellent news for the small business owners who are thriving down there, service industry employees who have stable incomes and downtown residents. But if we are so quick to celebrate the growth in downtown, why are our policymakers so dead set against putting in place a plan to replicate this success elsewhere? Not everyone can live and work downtown. But the quality of life increase in that area of town is making it one of the premiere places to move within Raleigh. Why can't these amenities and the potential for walkable neighborhoods be available in more enclaves throughout the city? A healthy city is going to have more than just one destination area as a source of jobs, tax revenue and vibrancy. We need to do more to encourage the development of other areas throughout the city where growth and urban character would be appropriate.

From the News & Observer...

Plenty of people enjoyed downtown Raleigh’s growing number of restaurants and bars last year.

Downtown set a record for food and drink sales in 2017 with $223 million, according to a new report from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. That’s an increase of more than 10 percent from 2016, which saw $202 million in sales, and a jump of more than 50 percent from 2012.

Nine businesses opened in downtown Raleigh in the last quarter of 2017, including four restaurants and a bar, and three restaurants have already opened this year, the report says.

Meanwhile, four businesses, including the restaurant Provenance, were listed as closing in the last three months of 2017.

“Some of (the increase) is we’ve had a lot of restaurants open over the last couple of years, so there’s more options,” said Bill King, senior vice president of economic development and planning for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. “But we’re really becoming a dining destination regionally where people plan on and make an effort to come to downtown Raleigh to eat here.”

Restaurants and bars downtown saw the highest sales in May, June, August and October last year, the report says. November was the only month that didn’t see a bump over 2016. ...

It was a good year for the Warehouse District, which spans from South Dawson Street to South Boylan Avenue and Western Boulevard to West Morgan Street.

The area saw a 53 percent increase in food and beverage sales from 2013, and the upswing will likely continue with the opening of The Dillon later this year. The 17-story tower will feature about half a dozen restaurant,s including the just-announced O-Ku Sushi and 220,000 square feet of office space.

Union Station, the city’s $80 million transit hub, is also expected to open soon in the Warehouse District. ...
— Anna Johnson - N&O

You can read the full report online at

Brent Woodcox