Will downtown Raleigh see multiple grocery stores?

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There's talk of grocery stores being built in downtown Raleigh (WTVD)

Just about every direction you look in downtown Raleigh, you can spot something new.

"It feels like big change," Anne S. Franklin said as she peered out the balcony of her apartment, overlooking a busy construction site.

Franklin, a former city councilwoman and longtime downtown Raleigh resident, is a member of the Downtown Living Advocates. Two years ago she served on the advisory committee for the city's 10-year Downtown Plan.

Now, she's seeing much of that plan come to fruition and enjoys having a close-up view of the progress.

Just outside her window North Hills developer John Kane's latest project, The Dillon, is slowly rising to its planned 17 stories of mixed-use space. The building will bring apartments and office and retail space right next to the much-anticipated Raleigh Union Station.

"This is our first, in my opinion, transit-oriented development in downtown," said Bill King, Senior Director of Planning and Development with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, while pointing to a rendering of The Dillon hanging on the DRA's conference room wall.

"This is gonna be huge for the Warehouse District," he said.

King said there are about 7,500 people currently living in downtown with an estimated 10,000 by 2020. With a historic pipeline of people moving in, he said a grocery store is critical to making downtown a livable urban neighborhood.

"Prior to recently, you really had to leave downtown to do any sort of grocery shopping," he said. "We're starting to see some convenience options coming in."

The Dollar General's new DGX location on Davie Street is one of those convenience stores, just under the Edison Lofts apartments.

For her fresh produce, Franklin is driving to Cameron Village and hitting up local farmer's markets.

That will soon change.

Last summer, Seaboard Station's manager announced construction on a 55,000 square foot Harris Teeter would begin in 2017.

And while Williams Realty, working with Kane Realty on the Smokey Hollow development slated for the area of Peace and West Streets, told ABC11 last May that Publix would anchor the project, the DRA is keeping mum.

"Certainly there's been interest from a couple other chains downtown but we can't confirm any other locations yet," said King.

In an email to ABC11, Kim Reynolds, Media and Community Relations Manager for Publix Super Markets, said, "We are continuing to seek out new sites all across the Triangle to better serve our customers, yet we do not currently have a confirmed location for downtown Raleigh. As an aside, we do not typically confirm sites until a lease has been signed."

After living in downtown for nearly two decades and being intimately involved with its progress, even Franklin will tell you not to believe it until you see it.

"When we're invited to come shop there I'll be happy to check it out," she said.

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