$66 million spent on food and drink in downtown Raleigh sets quarterly record

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- If it seems like Raleigh is constantly changing before your eyes, it's not your imagination.

A new report shows record sales in and around the downtown area, and the trend shows no signs of letting up.

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance's second-quarter economic development report shows consumers set a record for food and beverage sales in April and spent a total of $66.7 million over the quarter.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance President & CEO Bill King said a lot of that growth is fueled by the growing number of dining options in the area.

"In 2019, I believe 22 storefront businesses opened, that does not include food hall tenants," King said.

Newly opened businesses during the second quarter include Ealdwine Gentlemen's Shop, Slice Pie (pop-up), Munjo Munjo (pop-up), Rocket Fizz (pop-up), Western Dragon Teas and Tisanes, South Street Mini Mart, Calavera, Wye Hill Kitchen, Barcelona Wine Bar, SweetWater New York Ice (pop-up), and Layered Croissanterrie. The businesses that closed were The Alli, GoodWill, Polished by April, Boylan Bridge Brewpub, Acorn at Oak City, Benelux Coffee, and 18 Seaboard.

"More businesses are opening than closing, so we have a net gain of businesses. If you look over the last two years we've had a net gain of over 45 new businesses," King said.

More people living and working downtown is also giving the economy a boost.

The report shows an occupancy rate of 96.2% for downtown office space and an estimated 48,000 employees in the area. Hundreds of new condos and apartments are also under construction.

King also says keeping a good balance of public and private investments is important to keeping the growth momentum going.

"What's been nice is that you've seen some really good public investment that's helped stimulate private investment. Think about the Warehouse District you've got Union Station, which the city has put in a great deal of effort, beautiful building. Right across the street you have The Dillon which is private development, added a lot of density to that district. They architecturally have a similarity so they kind of almost speak to each other, so it's a nice sort of way of showing how you're seeing development from both the public and private sector interact and you're seeing a much more vibrant city."
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