Housing crunch closes business

RALEIGH The owner says he tried to time his opening to a rush of people moving to buy and live in urban condos, the only problem is the housing crunch hit, and the condos are sitting empty.

"It's painful. It's painful," Bankim Parekh told Eyewitness News. "I can hardly hide my tears."

Glenwood South has been Raleigh's up and coming condo and night spot. But the recession has bruised the area. The neighborhood gym closed this week, and other merchants say the promise of more people living here in all the condos has been slow to deliver.

"The expectation was that everyone would hope that all these condos would be full. [It] hasn't worked out that way," said Alex Amra.

Amra owns a sports bar below 222 Glenwood, where 70 percent of the condos are sold. But county real estate data shows less than 30 percent of the condos in another building are sold. The listing agent told the county numbers are old and the building still has no one living in it.

"The economy has taken a change. There has been a big change in the job market, so lending has changed - can't get 100 percent financing anymore," said realtor Sue Demick.

But Demick says 20 of 55 condos at Bloomsbury Estates are under contract. Buyers are moving in next month. And even in these times, she says a Raleigh condo is a great deal compared to other cities.

"You're in the downtown area, but you're not paying downtown prices, like other metropolitan areas," she explained.

The donut shop owner does not blame empty condos for his stale business.

"It's not a really easy answer. There are a lot of factors," said Parekh.

But Parekh is not giving up on Dunkin Donuts. He's moving his store to Western Boulevard, near NC State.

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