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orulz

Chain retail in downtown Raleigh

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The discussion in the 222 Glenwood thread about Dunkin Donuts brings up a burning question. Is there a place for chain retail in downtown Raleigh? If so, where does it belong?

Where would it be OK if the Starbucks, Barnes and Nobles, Dunkin Donuts, Harris Teeters, Targets, and Burger Kings of the world set up shop? If downtown is to grow and become a legitimate, livable, walkable city, this issue will no doubt come up. Personally, I think it's unrealistic to think that, on the one hand, if it becomes that successful, chain stores will want to stay away, and that on the other hand, a livable urban environment where you really don't have to hop in your car for ANYTHING, is possible without chain retail in this age.

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I think a mix of chain and non-chain retail might work best. And it could be that some folks tend to overlook the non chain stores but a nice mixture of both might draw from a larger pool of people.

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Two places, and this is generalizing that chains should go in new buildings, that are themselves usually not unique inappearance, at least in this town. Something like Solas is a nice exception, but anyway...first spot is down around the convention center. My expereince at conventions is that most folks still prefer chains, and even if visiting from elsewhere, likely live in the 'burbs in their hometown where monotony is conforting and expected. Second, because the historic building quotient is lacking and the area is begging for buildup, the Peace St frontage accross from old Deveraux Meadows with a realigned Harrington St bisecting something like the Denver Pavillion

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Definitely should allow some chains around Fayetteville St. No matter how many good local options we have some people are going to go to a Starbucks. Also, a bookstore Barnes&Noble or Borders is a must for the CBD.

Downtown needs to have all the amenities of a suburban shopping center if it is going to be a livable place. If chains are the only stores willing to supply those amenities, then more power to them!

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I think there is room for some chains to open on and near the downtown "zig zag" -- Glenwood/Hillsborough/Fayetville Street, with the Convention Center area getting the most attention initially. Smilar to the way King Street in Charleston evolved, but hopefully enough local places (Yancy's, Big Easy, Creama, the Mint) mixed in with the chains (Starbucks in the Marriot Hotel, Chick Fil A, etc.).

A mix of familiar chains combined with "only in Raleigh" nightlife, restaurants, shops, and hopsitality will hopefully generate repeat convention business.

A while ago (can't find the post) I suggested taking the block west of Raleigh Memorial and south of the Lafayette/parking deck and doing something vertical, similar to the Target section of North Hills. The Target and other storefronts could be close to Sir Walter on the South/Salisbury corner, with parking on the MLK and South Saunders/McDowell sides, a plaza of restaurants, etc. above and a hotel/condos/apartments on top with views of downtown and south Raleigh. Combined with a rail stop that could feed the multimodal center could tie the Convention district into mass transit.

Barnes and Noble is years away, maybe around when the Edison opens. Stores like Urban Outfitters that want to be part of downtown areas could go anywhere downtown, but hopefully in a rennovated storefront.

The area bound by Peace, Capitol, Lane and West is a big blank slate that could have an urban feel to it. Wake County could free up a lot of space by moving, and the rest are low warehouses that could make room for a village that could feed the State Government rail stop.

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I think that in order for downtown to thrive, there needs to be both. Keep in mind that there are many mom and pop stores that thrive from the foot traffic that some chains produce. For instance, there are a number of small restaurants in the shopping center (Promenade Place or something like that) just north of TTC. Most of these small restaurants feed off the traffic coming from the chains (Super Target, Old Navy, etc.) at the north end of the plaza. A Target (kind of like the one they built at North Hills) could generate a lot of foot traffic for the many smaller stores around it, thus helping them survive. This also is related to another topic, affordable housing downtown. Like there is a huge need for housing that is lower priced to reach a wider pool of potential buyers, there needs to be competition among store to create lower prices of goods. A lot of chains are generally priced lower than the mom & pop stores, thus giving people who can't afford the prices of a mom & pop stores another option for getting the things they need. You really need to make things affordable for as many people as possible, or you are severely limiting your pool of potential downtown residents. There are yet still people (like myself) who demand variety and like to comparison shop for the best price. For that to be possible, there needs to be competition. For me, I like my chain stores and wouldn't even consider living downtown until there is more of what I'm looking for. At this point in time, if I wanted anything aside from bars and lived downtown, I would have to drive out of downtown, thus negating the entire purpose of living there for me.

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Well, I suppose some chain retail would be beneficial...especially if it's "destination" retail. Ie, a place not already easily found here. (Whatever happened to that rumor of H&M looking here?)

A good mix can work...it certainly works for Cameron Village and North Hills.

However I don't care for any more national chain dining options than what is already there. That's one of the best things about downtown, is that there is little of that. No Applebees, TGIFriday, Outback, Bennigans or any of that type of tripe, thank goodness. And fast food joints have been kept to a minimum such as Quiznos and a couple of Subways. Personally, I think there are plenty of good locally-run options (and competitive price-wise) to avoid bringing in too many of those types of places.

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I believe that there has to be something for everyone and downtown is going in that direction. Visitors know what to expect when they see a mcdonald's or chick fil a or barnes and nobles or starbucks or any other 'mega' chain. While it adds nothing different to the area compared to other cities, it does add convenience, to visitors that are unfamiliar with the area or to residents that just want to something cheap and fast.

Downtown already has some more attractive chains with less locations that the typical person does not think about, flying saucer, stool pidgeons, sullivans, hibernian, rum runners, buckhead (even the old jillians). These are also familiar locations, probably to people who travel, and serve residents and visitors just the same. These stores are a little more exclusive then the mega chains since they are typically located downtown but i think they serve the same purpose to a degree.

The Raleigh originals are doing just fine now against the chains, imo. The Rocky Top trio in 510 glenwood and the Hatem projects can start a long list of places that easily show you downtown is creating something orginal. it just may not be obvious yet to the casual visitor however.

I think it all comes down to personal taste. I know some people who love the convenience that target and fast food places give them, at such cheap prices. Then there are others that like something more original, with some character and atmosphere. I prefer both so I want to see downtown serve it all.

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The two downtown McDonalds -- Wilmignton Street near Shaw and Peace Street -- and several Subways (City Market, Salisbury Street, Peace Street) haven't turned the rest of downtown into nothing but chains. Even with other sandwich chains (Gandalfos, Cafe Carolina, Jersey Mikes at Peace/Capital) places like F Street Tavern, Sam and Wally's (basement of Sheraton), Angelo's and Woody's in city market, etc. seem to do well too. Sometimes we want to eat at K&W or Bob Evans, sometimes F Street Tavern or Cafe Luna.

It would be nice if there was a local doughnut shop downtown, but the void is being filled by Dunkin Donuts on Glenwood. Morning Times, Port City Java, and Creama carry a few pastries and bagels, but they are hit or miss.

There isn't much retail to displace downtown outside of City Market and the few businesses along Wilmington Street, so chains and non-chains are welcome. I live downtown but still shop at Target, etc. I'm not within biking distance of any of them, but am a shortish drive from three -- Garner, North Hills, and Crossroads, with the new Knightdale one not too far way. Target likes to be in urban areas, see the midtown location in Charlotte opening this month. Downtown is several years (if ever) from attracting big box stores, but to get there from here, an unserved/underserved group of residents needs to be established first.

I prefer living a few blocks from the CBD with a few choices now, more coming, and a bus ride/drive to more retail vs. miles from the "neighborhood" strip mall with a grocery and drug store, but that's just me.

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One thing I can't help but wonder....if the current boom in downtown that's happening now happened 20-25 years ago, would we still have a downtown department store (ie, the Hudson Belk which hung on till '95)?

Who knows...but it does make one yearn for the good ol' days when downtowns had department stores.

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^^lots of things held on until around then actually....Radio Shack, Wendys, 2 Hardees, McCrorys, Briggs..the one hunderd block had other occupied stores too before First Union came in with their tower ...I am told they demanded Alexander Parking Deck too. Chains and independants have always seemed to do ok on Fayetteville St until the pull of the 1990's out past the beltline was too much with no reinvestment downtown by the City other than some facade improvements along Martin St between City Market and Fayetteville st.

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