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Rapid growth changing the landscape of downtown Raleigh

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Six new retail spots are opening in downtown Raleigh (WTVD)

Downtown Raleigh's has seen a construction boom to keep up with the rapid growth - and the city just keeps getting bigger. Six new retail spots are opening in the next few weeks.

As apartment buildings continue to emerge next to high-rises, foot traffic has also increased around the city. That is exactly why the Downtown Raleigh Alliance says the area is seeing more stores pop up.

"It's really in response to our residential boom," Bill King, senior director of urban planning and economic development for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said "so we've added over 1,800 apartment units in the past year and a half, which is a huge uptick for downtown, which was pretty quiet 10 years ago."

To put the growth in perspective, 14 retailers have opened in downtown in the last 3 years. according to the DRA. Now, six new shops are set to open within just weeks.

Constructing more retail and living space is a big part of the equation when it comes to supply and demand. Over 40,000 square feet of retail space is set to open up next year in Raleigh's Warehouse District alone.

"Over 95 percent of retailers downtown are locally owned," King said.

On Friday, children's bookstore Read with Me will open on Hargett Street - one of many shops downtown residents have been hoping to see for years.

"We have some great food, we have great restaurants and bars and not a whole lot extra to do for families other than Marbles," Christine Brenner, owner of Read With Me. "So we're hoping to add to that."

Even businesses that have been downtown for years are excited about having new neighbors. London Bridge Pub, across the street from Read With Me, has served downtown clientele since 2011.

"The more competition, to me I say bring it on," Michael Ruiz, owner of London Bridge Pub, said. "The more that's down here, to bring people down here, the more people will learn about us as well."

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