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Tim Duncan Restaurant shelved

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NBA Star's Restaurant Shelved Because of Lack of Private Funds

Web Producer: Lee Baber

Modified: 3/12/2004 12:06:34 PM Send this story to a friend

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Once considered a slam dunk for downtown Winston-Salem, the Tim Duncan Island Sports Cafe has been shelved.

"We are going back to the drawing board," said Lou Baldwin, president of the Baldwin Group, which has been brokering the deal.

The firm has raised only about half the $700,000 in private investment needed for the project, he said Thursday.

The idea was to open an upscale restaurant and lounge, complete with Caribbean cuisine and large-screen televisions.

Duncan, a graduate of Wake Forest University and now an All-Star with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, agreed to put his name on the restaurant in exchange for a 10 percent ownership stake. He did not invest any of his own money in the project.

The Winston-Salem City Council had approved a $200,000 loan through its restaurant-row program. That money will now go back into a fund used to help new restaurants open along Fourth Street.

Magnolia Partners, which owns the 13-story building at One West Fourth where the cafe was planned, agreed to spend $700,000 to outfit the space for a restaurant. The project's financing included $150,000 from GE Capital for the leasing of restaurant equipment.

Baldwin tried to raise an additional $700,000 locally by getting 28 investors to put up $25,000 each. But many of the local investors have their money tied up in other downtown deals, he said.

On Thursday, Baldwin said he still has hope for a Duncan cafe.

"Tim continues to want this to work, but like everyone involved, he wants it to be the right thing and to be successful," he said.

John Allen, who oversees the city's restaurant-row loan program, said the restaurant would be good for the area.

"But it's not the end of the world if it doesn't," he said. "We still have a lot going on downtown."

I hope to see this project get back on track quick.

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That space is too valuable to sit empty. I know they've had some excellent offers for it. Just reading in the Winston-Salem Journal that they have three people intresting it that space already is great news.

I'm just surprised it's not cancelled? I thought Mayor Joines said it was cancelled back in January? Now it's still a possiblity? They said it was a bad time, and downtown investors are invested in other projects at this moment. It could happen next year, but I would rather see the ESPN Zone at the Marriott Winston Plaza idea happen. They are about the same in what they offer. Only the food would be different and there's a Caribbean restaurant on Liberty Street already.

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