Report: Downtown Raleigh expansion shows growth, challenges

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The number of people who live in Raleigh is growing. So what does it mean for businesses?

Downtown Raleigh Alliance just released a new "State of Downtown Raleigh" report outlining the growth the area has seen and what's to come.

The 74-page report, authored by Bill King, the organization's senior vice president of planning and development, addresses the future of downtown Raleigh. The area is split into six locations: Seaboard/Person Street District, Glenwood South District, Capital District, Warehouse District, Fayetteville Street District, and the Moore Square District.

"New growth equals new challenges," King said. "We want to make sure we keep character downtown and remain quality."

Among the report's anticipations, downtown Raleigh residents are expected to see a 17 percent growth in average household income between 2017-2022.

The report also outlines a $1.75 billion development pipeline for projects recently completed, under construction, or planned development.

"I don't ever think it gets to a point to where you say OK, we're done. Because I think downtown's always changing and evolving," King said. "Even in downtowns in much bigger cities, you look at San Francisco or Washington, they're still adding buildings, they're still changing the face of their downtown."

Campbell Law School student Keith Boyette, who is originally from Garner, does not mind the downtown Raleigh boom.

"I don't think (the expansion) is going to outgrow (Raleigh's) history," Boyette said. "There's surrounding areas, such as Garner, also growing, but also remaining small with a hometown feel.

"I think with the growth of the city, it's also going to grow the economy. And I think that will lead to higher pay in downtown Raleigh and surrounding areas," he added.
King agrees with keeping the feel of Raleigh.

"(The area is) adding buildings that is keeping in with the character of downtown. If you think, The Dillon, they're using the facade of the old warehouse there," he pointed out.

Next-door neighbor and home to an old warehouse, Union Station is also scheduled to open within the next few weeks.

"We're trying really hard to keep local businesses here. And make sure people support with their dollars. And that helps create some of that small-town feel," King said.

Downtown Raleigh business owner Brian Ownbey, was forced to move to a new location after his shop's building was sold.

Ownbey, who owns Father & Son said, "I think for most people in Raleigh right now, I've got to be one of the luckiest people because I've got such a great spot."

Father & Son relocated to the corner of W. Martin and West streets, adjacent to Union Station and The Dillon.

"Raleigh's a wonderful place to be," Ownbey said.

To read the report in full, click here.
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