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Downtown Raleigh broke records in 2018

Raleigh’s skyline is changing as more construction projects come to downtown

There are several large-scale projects currently under construction or near completion in downtown Raleigh, with many more expected to follow suit in the coming months.
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There are several large-scale projects currently under construction or near completion in downtown Raleigh, with many more expected to follow suit in the coming months.

Bars and restaurants in downtown Raleigh are booming.

Food and beverage sales rose 7.6 percent to $240 million from last year, according to an annual report from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Several months saw $20 million in sales, something that hadn’t occurred in downtown history.

Four of downtown’s districts — Fayetteville, Glenwood South, Moore Square and the Warehouse District — saw increases.

In addition to the record year for food and beverage sales, over $329 million in public and private projects were completed in 2018, according to the report. That’s the highest since 2013 and more than four times the $75 million completed the previous year.

All told, over $2 billion in projects were delivered between 2015 and 2018, remain under construction or are coming to downtown in the near future, according to the report. That’s comparable to the tax value of over five Crabtree Valley Malls.

More than 2,400 new housing units have been added downtown in the last four years, Bill King, DRA president and CEO-elect, said in a press release.

‘Ghost town’ no more

Forty-five businesses opened in 2018, for a net gain of 23 businesses downtown. Nine new retailers opened along the Hargett and Martin Street corridors, in addition to others relocating or expanding there.

Jill Rossi opened The Devilish Egg in late 2018. The shop, on Blake Street, holds art and craft classes and people can bring in wine during the courses.

“If you can find it on Pinterest, chances are we have a class on how to make it,” Rossi said.

She worked downtown in the early 2000s when it was “a ghost town.” She wanted to open the store, in part, because it would be near the soon-to-be renovated Moore Square.

“[This district] just feels like it has history and character, and I also really like the collection of businesses that are there,” she said. “They are local, and it is not a bunch of chains.”

By the numbers:

  • 2,400 — New housing units downtown since 2015
  • 1,300 — Housing units planned in the near future
  • 95 — Residential occupancy percentage
  • 93 — Office occupancy percentage

  • 45 — Businesses that opened in 2018
  • 22 — Businesses closed (for a net gain of 23 businesses)

  • $137 million — Public investment started or underway in 2018.

  • $290 million — Private investment started or underway in 2018.

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