Hillsborough Street businesses are asking developer John Kane to delay a planned two-week street closing.
Business owners have scheduled meetings with Kane and city officials this week to discuss the closure, which is needed to move utility lines for Kane’s Stanhope Center apartment development.
Kane scheduled the closure from Dec. 19 to Jan. 5 to coincide with N.C. State’s winter break and minimize traffic woes. But for shops hoping to lure last-minute Christmas shoppers, the timing is a tough pill to swallow.
“Christmas Eve is perennially one of our strongest sales days, and the surrounding week is very brisk as well,” Brian Shaw, owner of Nice Price Books, wrote to city council members. “Even moving the closure back one week, to Dec. 26, would make a tremendous difference in business.”
With construction happening round-the-clock, it’s unlikely the work can be compressed into one week. A delay would keep the road closed as students return, with spring semester classes starting on Jan. 6.
Kane says he wants to help the affected businesses, which also include Cup A Joe, Guru Guitars, Reader’s Corner and College Beverage. “We look forward to working through this with you and will make every effort within our control to minimize the impact on your business and the other merchants in the area,” Kane told the businesses in an email.
Businesses are also upset that they weren’t informed of the plans before the Raleigh City Council voted on the closure earlier this month; many learned of the closure in the newspaper the day of the vote.
Councilman Russ Stephenson wrote in an email to city staff that the lack of notice was troubling, though Stephenson joined the rest of the council in approving the closure without any discussion.
“For businesses that depend on non-student holiday sales, the timing of this closing couldn’t be worse,” he said. “Based on the news report, affected businesses were not consulted before the closing decision was made.”