Another business closing in Downtown Raleigh as DRA works to revitalize: 'Mass exodus'

Elaina Athans Image
Monday, April 15, 2024
Businesses leaving downtown Raleigh
Some owners say the foot traffic has tanked and that's one of the reasons they've decided to leave the downtown area.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There is roughly only two weeks left to grab lunch or dinner at Capital Club. The spot is closing after 14 years of business.

Capital Club 16 posted on social media that it's moving on from a brick-and-mortar space and focusing on its food truck.

Another small business says she understands the dilemma and made a similar decision.

"I have called it a mass exodus," said Flourish Market Owner Emily Sexton. "In the past year, sadly, the foot traffic had just completely tanked. And then also around that timeline, our building sold to an out-of-town developer, and we were just no longer aligned."

She relocated her popular business out of downtown Raleigh and into Raleigh Iron Works.

Sexton says she is paying significantly more in rent at Raleigh Iron Works, but it's already paying off. She explains that there is far more foot traffic here and she feels like her landlords are open to collaboration.

"The challenge that I found in downtown is that I kept raising my hand with feedback and I didn't feel like it was heard," said Sexton. "You hear that a lot from business owners who've actually also left."

Union Special recently shut its doors.

Clyde Cooper's BBQ has also expressed a desire to leave.

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) has been working with a consultant to create a comprehensive plan. The work could start on Fayetteville Street.

The DRA has said the goal is connecting and condensing the downtown corridor.

RELATED | Downtown Raleigh Alliance wants to make Fayetteville Street the new main street

Ideas include broadening the sidewalk for more outdoor dining to growing entertainment options.

Folks who live or work downtown are looking forward to changes.

"We have to re-energize this area," said Holly Springs resident Tony McDermott.

"On a nice day like this at noon, you'd expect to see more," said Raleigh resident Kelsey Green.

"They're always talking about comparing it to like North Hills and trying to get it to that level of like shopping and eating so, I'm curious to see if that ends up happening," said Raleigh resident Sydney Bitancor.

The DRA has also hired a private security firm to address safety concerns.

RELATED | Raleigh considers free parking, dog park, other enhancements to boost Downtown: 'Critical stage'

The City of Raleigh is trying to come up with a game plan on how to increase foot traffic in the Downtown area. Several options were tossed around at a committee meeting on Tuesday.

ABC11 reached out to the DRA to speak about revitalization efforts. We were told nobody was available.