Downtown construction hurting area businesses
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Construction along downtown Wilmington's waterfront has been underway for two days now as workers are repairing a bulkhead, but some Water Street store owners aren't too happy about it. While the store owners were notified of the repairs, they say it's more extensive than they were told, and it's going to take business away from them. Store owners in the Brooks Building on Water Street were surprised to see the work out front when construction started. One store owner, Michael Dolan, said, "We didn't know the gravity of the construction project and we have no idea it was going to be this big." The store owners' main concern is there's now only one entrance to the building and it only has stairs. The construction got rid of a ramp that served as handicap and stroller access. Mike Naklicki is one of the project managers and said they are willing to work with the stores. ”The big thing was to make sure that this area was accessible to all pedestrian traffic. There were door flyers that went out to all the tenants of the building." But the tenants said the flyers didn't give the extent of the repairs. Poodle Lockhart, a downtown store owner said, "The fence that is in front of our building, we were not told that it was going to come all the way down the building." The store owners say owning a business in this economy is tough enough already, and need all the help they can get. Jordan Spencer, another store owner, said, "It's already been slow this year and with it being like this, we've seen one or two people today that have been in the store and it's supposed to go on for three months. I'm just scared we won't get enough traffic." The construction is expected to be done by the Azalea Festival in April. The project managers say these are urgent repairs and are asking for the store owners’ understanding.

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was your first reaction to seeing the construction, to call the city and let them know you thought the intrusion would be less, and discuss it with them, or was it to call the media and let them know how the city LIED to the business owners on Water street. You must think government employees spend their days thinking up ways to screw the average citizen. Gee, maybe they didn't realize the extent of the project either, until it actually was started. And I do own a business, although not downtown, and would stop to gather all the facts, before going on TV to say how the city people intentionally lied and misled me. Maybe they didn't intentionally set out to "get" you..could have just been an unforseen event...
Yes.....my first reaction was to call the City's project mangager in which we did. We got NO where with him and when the MEDIA showed up and asked questions we all talked. I'm a Homeowner in the direct project area and we WERE NEVER told about losing a vital access ramp....nor were we told about the barricade around one end of our building. Don't you think that's disrespectful of the City not to tell us up front things of importance such as losing a Main Entrance!!! Come on......I paid a lot of money for this piece of property and we all deserve to know up front as to what to expect!!!! And You have NO IDEA the many conversations WE ALL had with the project manager before the project even started and absolutely NO idea what we were all told!!!!!
Guest2009 I agree with you. Of course, we all know that city employees all live up north somewhere and spend their days trying to see how they can completely destroy this city. None of them actually live, work or spend time here. None of them work downtown or go to any of the downtown establishments or pay city taxes. It's no wonder these businesses didn't work with the city to have directional signs put up. By the way, I saw a huge sign down there saying that the businesses are open...
For your information!!!!!!! These Businesses should not have to ASK THE CITY to put these DIRECTIONAL signs up!!! The City should have taken care of that long before the project started on Monday!! It should not be an added expense for those Business Owners!! It's not the Homeowners or Business owners fault for the project. You should come down here during the day and see all the construction trucks blocking the signs at the end of the Brooks Building....that's not fair for those people in that Building. The City needs to put up more signs for the people walking from the Hilton as to which way the traffic flow goes and also and the end of Market St. It's confussing the way it is and if you walk on the back of the Brooks Buidling there are NO signs up on the Riverside. Let's not forget this project will affect other businesses on Water St. as well and too with the way the City has lack of Directional Signage. Those Businesses include The City Market, The George, Elijah's, Pilot House and the Chandler Wharf areas!!!!
Guest9999, no need to get upset! I agree with you that the city should have put up better directional signage. I never said that anyone should have had to ASK for the signage. Obviously that was overlooked. Believe it or not, city employees are human beings and they do actually live, work and spend time (and money) at these very establishments. I believe the city is also working to include access to the handicapped ramps. I just have a hard time understanding the people who say they didn't understand the scope of the work. To be fair, no, I wasn't at the meetings and don't know what the city said or didn't say, but I would like to think at least they informed the people in the area that the street would be closed to vehicular traffic. That would tell me that the road would have to be blocked off somehow. That being said, I'm sure the city made mistakes such as no handicapped access or putting up any other signage other than the street is closed to vehicles but open to pedestrians. Let's just hope they can finish it ahead of schedule.
Look. First of all, this construction has to be done at some point. The sooner it gets done, the less it's going to cost assuming the problems with the bulkhead get worse (which they will.) It's unfortunate that the businesses in the Brooks building lost an access point - especially the ramp. Quite honestly, I don't even see how it's legal to close that entrance. (Americans with Disabilities Act?) The city has never been and will never be forthcoming with information to the public about anything that they are doing. The city should place an abundance of signage pointing to the entrance of the building and reopen the other entrance as soon as possible. The solution isn't ideal, it would be better if the Brooks Building wasn't effected at all, but this is not the case. Good luck to the small businesses that are in that area! In this time of economic downturn, they can use all the help they can get.
I suppose business would be a whole lot worse for them if Water Street fell into the Cape Fear River -- there have been sink holes there on & off for awhile and that river with its current has been eating away under the street for quite awhile. I'm glad to see it's getting fixed, especially now that the Riverwalk is looking nicer.
Two days ago these same people were on the news saying how great this project is and how it wouldn't hurt business at all. Lesson: Get the facts before you go on the news and gush about something. Lesson 2: Don't shop downtown. Downtown businesses are sucking the taxpayers dry and responsible for electing the current city council, the convention center tax hole, annexation and millions in pork spending.
You should think about cleaning the Wax out of your ears as you definitely have a HEARING PROBLEM!!!! And when you get the wax out go back and listen to those interviews again!!!! Lesson 2: You don't know anything about our Businesses and how we voted on Council, Convention or any Gov issues.......Who are you to make a "Statement" like that? We have Businesses to run and that's all we're trying to do.....and it's obvious running a Business is something YOU know nothing about!!!!
YES, I DO KNOW how downtown businesses voted on the Convention Center, pork spending and electing the current council. Your Downtown Business Alliance, Wilmington Downtown Inc, and fellow downtown merchants think you have a right to steal money from taxpayers. Thats a fact. I'm a taxpayer and that alone gives me a right to call you out for being self-interested leeches. If you cant run your business without taxpayer pork projects, you don't belong in business. Your sense of entitlement to taxpayer subsidies for your business is telling. Thats the attitude of the Downtown Business Alliance and your peers. Facts are Facts. If you can't make your business a success without government handouts, try another endeavor in life. Better yet, its time for downtown businesses to stop supporting selfish corrupt government in City Hall!
godloves, your reaction really leaves me less inclined to patronize your establishment. If I knew which store you operated, I think I would steer clear. Guess I'll just give them all a miss from now on and spend my Xmas money at the mall instead. As much as I love the shopping and the downtown atmosphere as a rule (I'm typically down there wandering around and spending money at least once a week), I don't much care for your attitude. In the future, maybe learn how to deal with people like the one you replied to with more professionalism and tact. That would be a better advertisment, don't you think?
This goes out to: Guest turned off, Guest 66666888, Guestless and B-My-Guest! This is what's wrong with our Country today. People have lost compassion for others. You ALL should be ashamed of your behavior toward those people directly involved in this project! Who are you to JUDGE them???? Shame, Shame, Shame on YOU!!!!
I'm confused -- who was I supposed to be judging? I was simply stating my opinion, and I even added that I was not at any meetings, nor do I know what the residents/business owners were told by the city. I also said that I thought mistakes were made. How is that not being fair? Don't judge me and I won't judge you. Deal?
What an attitude from a business owner. Maybe they take their cue from city council. Birds of the same feather flock together.
Guess they'd rather have the city not fix it at all, and just have the entire street collapse into the river..oh wait, then they would whine that the city didn't do anything..
Let's see what would happen if you owned a Business or Residence on this property? Most certain you wouldn't sit back and let your Business fall by the way side!!
No where in any of the conversations or interviews did we "Business" owners complain about the profject it self. "We" business & homeowners understand the importance of this project and do know that it has to be done. The point here is the way the City handled it and was not upfront with us about the extent of the layout and the lack of support we've received to inform pedestrians of the traffic flow along with proper signage to let people know we are open for business!! We are not trying to get something for nothing only what the City should do to keep the traffic flow comeing thru and letting the public know we are open. I believe if "you" owned a business you would feel the say way!!! Thanks!!!
The City of Wilmington should compensate the store owners for the losses they will suffer for the next 3 months. With the economy as bad as it is at the present time, the City and Contractors should have left the handicap ramp and made a way for customers of these stores to enter from the Market St. side. Signs should have been posted to direct customer traffic into these stores. This was extremely poor planning on the part of the City and is unfair to the store owners, building owners, and residents who live upstairs. These stores may not be able to recoop their losses during this long period of time.
I'm suprised no one has raised any ADA issues with the lack of a ramp. Also, if the "City" is to "compensate" the owners for "losses," who determines what are acceptable losses and those of us within city limits will be the ones paying through taxes anyway. Dumb idea.
This is the cost of doing business on the waterfront. Sorry, but they chose to put their businesses their and had to know that at some point things like this would happen. I hardly think the city is responsible for reimbursing anyone.
You are right about our choose to put our Businesses on our wonderful Historic Riverfront. I would not be anywhere else in this great City in which we both live. Yes, we do know that things like this happen and the project has to be done. We Homeowners & Businesses don't have a problem with that. What we do have a problem with is the way the City's project manager mis-informed us and has left us out in the Cold so to speak. All we want is for people to be able to figure out the traffic flow and how to get around our building. Let the pedistrians know we are open as it looks now you cannot tell!! I'm sure if you were in our shoes..........you would feel the same way. Sometimes unless you've walked in someone's shoes it is best to say nothing as you never know what could happen to you or a Loved one during this Life. May God Bless you!!!
Maybe the City should do nothing and let that part of the city fall into the water. Let's see how the store owners would like that
Give these people a break! They are trying to run a Business and make a living just like you! Do you own a Business and know what it's like to try and survive in today's Economy? Do you personally know any of these Business Owners? I doubt it and if you did I'm certain you would not make a comment of such! These folks aren't complaining about the Project having to be done.....they understand that and know it's something that has to be done! They just need more support from the City for proper signage and directons to get around the area. Anyone who's ever had to go through something like this understands where they are coming from and would know how the City had poor planning on this project for those Businesses and Residences involved!
I am a homeowner and I do own a business (not on Front Street). Last year the sidewalk in front of my store had to be redone. Why it takes them so long to replace a short stretch of a sidewalk I have no idea, but the front of our business was a mess for almost 3 weeks. Initially, the only sign I had up that would let you know was a small flip sign on the door. After two days of the construction I decided to go to SAM'S and get one of those lighted OPEN signs. It made a huge difference.
There's one thing I do know for sure and that is if you were a Homeowner or Business owner on Water Street......you would feel the same way we do!!!! None of us have a problem with the project and DO UNDERSTAND that it has to be done!!!!!! All we need is support from the City for proper signage and route directions for the pedestrians and to let tourist know we are OPEN!!!!! I don't think that is asking for TOO MUCH!!!! Blessings!!