Raleigh restaurants close, are new laws to blame?

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Thursday, January 14, 2016
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Half a dozen restaurants have closed in Raleigh over the last 2 months

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Over the last two months downtown Raleigh has seen half a dozen restaurants close.

Places that were once packed, like Tyler's Taproom at Seaboard Station and Tir Na Nog, are now closed for business. In addition, Brewmasters, Battistella's, The Borough, and The Oxford will close as well.

"One of the things we hear sometimes, maybe it's not easy to do business in Raleigh," said Jennifer Martin, who heads Shop Local Raleigh. The organization promotes and supports locally owned, independent businesses.

She says new noise and outside seating regulations from the city are concerning and even hurting business.

"It's getting really strict with new changes and new rules coming in and with more restrictions. It's easier sometimes to do something else," she said.

Although there are lots of events and more to do in downtown than say 10 years ago, businesses say they still struggle with foot traffic.

"I think that's one we are still trying to work on and still find a solution here in Raleigh is - how do we get people here around the clock so they're always spending?" said Martin.

Business owners told ABC11 parking laws and rising rents are also contributing factors. They're now waiting to see how the city can help them deal with it.

"We need a lot of open conversations, a lot of discussions and a willingness to try new things," Martin commented. "And not that they haven't been, but I think it's important now we've got the infrastructure there - what's missing, let's really look and see what are we not doing that we really need to consider."

Still, some of the closures could just be the nature of the beast for the restaurant industry. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance says a dozen new restaurants are in the works to open in 2016, and 2,000 new apartments should be available.

The DRA says the more dense downtown becomes, the more business will be here.

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