Those looking for a quick lunch spot on the east side of downtown Raleigh won’t be able to buy tacos out of an old horse barn, after all.
Justin Miller, who co-founded a local tech company and recently launched a taco business, has abandoned the idea of opening a restaurant in a space that Raleigh police once used as a horse barn for their mounted police unit.
Miller, who founded the “WedPics” photo-sharing app for weddings, in January asked the Raleigh City Council to let him explore the idea of using the 817-square-foot barn at the corner of Martin and Person streets in downtown Raleigh. The idea would be to operate El Taco Cartel, which he launched last fall, out of the building just south of Moore Square.
But the cost of retrofitting the barn at 230 E. Martin Street, which was built in 1915, is one of several reasons Miller says he’s abandoning the idea. He noted that the City Council has also yet to clarify its vision for the property or whether it will try to preserve the building’s historic character.
It’s “entirely waaaaaaay too much of a hassle dealing with it on all fronts,” Miller said in a text message.
Raleigh is in the process of redesigning Moore Square to add play spaces and a performance area, among other features. Construction is expected to begin this fall.
The barn is part of a larger city-owned property that also includes a City Market parking lot and the Norwood House, occupied by the city’s parks and recreation department. The City Council is expected to discuss potential uses for the space during its meeting on Aug. 15, said John Boyette, a city spokesman.