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Number of businesses leave downtown Wilmington

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WILMINGTON -- When you're in downtown Wilmington you may notice a number of vacant businesses with for-sale and for rent signs on them. Front Street has no shortage of empty spots but that doesn't appear to bother too many people. Kurt Trede and his brother may want to relocate their Carolina Beach restaurant to Front Street. They were checking out available spaces today and Trede said the vacancies don't bother him. He's confident downtown would bring them year round business. John Hinnant from the economic development organization Wilmington Downtown says the signs in the windows don't necessarily mean downtown is hurting for business. Hinnant said, "You're actually looking at a strength of downtown as we're taking a lot of caution in how we grow, and we're being selective with our tenants." Hinnant says some businesses were getting too big for Front Street and had to relocate. Hinnant says downtown properties are averaging $14 to $25 per square foot, depending on the condition of the space.

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