Number of businesses leave downtown Wilmington

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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I lived in Wilmington from 87 - 97 & was an active member of the arts community. As liberal as I am, I was a bit disgusted with downtown. 50+ bars is too much. I live in New York and Downtown Wilmington is far more freakish and sketchy and any of the worst boroughs in NYC. what happened over the last 10 years? can't downtown get their act together? Where are the good leaders, where are the smart business people? none left downtown apparently. why are smarter people being elected in the city gov? what are they doing to encourage decent businesses to open downtown? nothing apparently! -concerned
Unfortunately City leaders never developed the most viable economic part of downtown, the waterfront. Take a look at Beaufort, the waterfront is developed to cater to all types of boaters, having plenty of dock space for all those who want to visit. This spurs a lot of economic growth and spending, keeping many store fronts in business.
You guys are some nasty mouth people with nothing else better to do. Why dont you be productive and go to school and then open your own business in Downtown Wilmington. I mean you guys act like Wilmington is in important city anyway. ITS NOTHING!!!! -YOURS TRULY
Hang in there you staunch Republicans! Soon enough you will have every piece of property both retail and residential so high-priced that no one below a $75,000 yearly income can afford to live there or open a business there. After more of the undesirables move out, you can continue remodeling and selling the foreclosed or abandon or condemned properties for 4 times what they are worth. Since mortgage companies are tightening their belts too, the few that can afford to pay on time won't possibly qualify for a re-finance to continue living there once their city taxes soar through the roof. It's only a matter of time!
That Trashy Tottoo Parlor downtown can't be helping business at all.. Who wants to eat ice cream accross from a drug infested filth hole.... ?
How do you know it's infested with drugs? Beats a BINGO HALL old man.
Good one! lol
I am not sure what smart business owner would want to be downtown unless they owned a bar/restaurant. It upsets me to think of how much of our tax dollars have went down there on random worhtless projects. I have lived here for 15 years and I do not even like parking downtown. I am not sure why anyone would shop downtown with all of the buisnesses in mid town and mayfaire town center.
It seems we have not learned our lessons from "The Great White Flight" to the suburbs since the 50's and 60's. Jobs are moving to larger cities, gas continues to be a concern, we need to bolster our infrastructure to bring in new business and tourism. We cannot keep running away from our problems. If you want things to change, be a force of change, get involved! The very elements you try to get away from just follow you anyway. Do you enjoy sitting in traffic jams at Military Cut-off Road as much as Downtown? And last I looked, there are an awful lot of empty windows and businesses going under in Mayfaire and the shopping centers across the street! Lose the rose-colored glasses and see the real world!
"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."" Sure, pal. All those empty business locations signify "strength," because you're being "selective." That's not an unbelievable load of bovine droppings, is it? It couldn't be that Downtown is now much widely thought of as a swine-pit rather than a shopping area, could it? Downtown's current attributes include panhandlers, vagrants, the lingering odor of vomit and urine in every doorway, and the odd assortmant of drunks, druggies, and simple lost souls wandering around aimlessly, talking to themselves at all hours of the day or night. It couldn't be that just as we have seen EVERWHERE in this nation for the past forty years, downtowns die as the people with increasing wealth move to the suburbs, could it? Why would a business owner want to locate Downtown when "the money" is now out at Landfall, Porter's Neck, and Figure Eight Island.....and why would anyone from those areas drive all the way Downtown for something they can purchase at Mayfair or even on College or Oleander? Exactly what is there to attract people to come visit downtown? The opportunity to see the winos? If this city is sincere about revitalizing the Downtown Area, go look at Norfolk, Baltimore, or any of several cities that have done it and done it well. The key is to clean the area up (as in TAKE OUT THE TRASH), develop it as a center for quaint, niche shops, medium to high-end restaurants, and true night clubs (as opposed to college vomitoriums), then market Downtown as a tourist attraction in its own right. "The Wilmington Waterfront," would be booming if the city realized that the key is neither a convention center (at this time) nor expanding the squalor Northward, but simply cleaning up and marketing what they already have. Then, they really COULD be selective about what businesses fit into Downtown, and which didn't. Globally, downtown business districts simply cannot survive without active management and investment by the city. Wilmington has had its head in the sand for far too long, clinging to a belief that "Downtown will always be vibrant simply because it IS Downtown." As Downtown Wilmington starts to resemble the main street in Chadbourn, they may want to re-think their position.
stay in mayfair. no one wants your pretentious, uppety self down there anyway. sincerely, one of the lost souls wandering around aimlessly!!!!!!!!!
...because of my employment. Thankfully, I have a .45 automatic on my person at all times, so it doesn't bother me. Sorry if the TRUTH about Downtown upsets you, but it's a dump infested with two-legged vermin.
I did not say i shopped in mayfaire you stupid lost soul. I just figured people with money would rather go there. Stay downtown and get drunk with all of your houdlum friends.
now i'm stupid. learn how to spell hoodlum.
I've worked downtown for the past 12 years and have seen a many a business that had been open for decades go out of business. Old Navy originally had wanted to open downtown (like in Charleston NC)but city council opposed it. With a big recognizable store like that it creates cross traffic that can create business for the mom & pop Stores. This could help these mom & pop stores survive, but with nothing really worth shopping for downtown not to mention the parking ticket "Nazis" shelling out tickets every 5 minutes, shopping downtown for tourists or locals is not even seriously considered. With rent as high as it is and no real daytime traffic the only thing that can survive are restaurants and bars. Way to go City Council you never seem to disappoint!
could it be the shootings in broad open daylight? fighting and puking college students at night? Or is it the muggers waiting for us in the parking lots and garages after we leave Thalian Hall?
Bang Bang Bang!!!....hit the ground...get up, shop and dine. Bang Bang Bang!!!...hit the ground...get up, find your car, and go home. Sounds like a good cario workout to me.
seriously. how often does this happen. you should be at thalian hall. you seem to have a flair for dramatics.
3 muggings that I am aware of in the past year at the parking garage across from the Thalian. But I will say the cops were patrolling the parking deck the last time I was there(August).
This "problem" seems to have started when the really smart front street business owners insisted that the change what had been "Classic"Front St for years a one way street to a two lane street be made so they could garner more business. They were so sure this was the answer and now they are dropping like flies. Maybe they and the City were wrong and now the whining begins. A little late I think.They want to switch it back to the way it was now???????
Most of the people I know don't want to venture out in downtown Wilmington. Too many pan handlers making them feel afraid. Where are the foot patrol police? This would help. Parking in the decks doesn't feel safe day or night. No public restrooms so the dark corners of the parking decks are the restrooms. The bar area doesn't feel good even when you are just passing by. Lots of drinking men standing out on the sidewalks. Guess we'll go where it feels nice to visit.
I had friends in from out of town this last weekend who commented on the alarming vacancy rate downtown. They were also disappointed to see Front St. is now bi-directional again. In a not-so-secret ploy to force more people into an unused parking garage, has the city figured out that the new/old layout isn't business friendly? Pedestrian traffic doesn't flow like it used to downtown. The two way traffic flow hasn't really decreased the traffic load on 3rd, and the Market and Front intersection is ridiculous. There needs to be a "no left turns" policy made there. Some businesses seem to be thriving. Subway, and the coffee shops near CFCC always look like they've got a line at their counters. I guess those customers weren't interested in Hawaiian shirts, or European goodies, as those were the types of shops I saw disappear not too much further down the street from the Community College. Another Italian eatery failed in the Cotton Exchange, I wonder why? Couldn't be parking, as they have a lot in back, and being even closer to CFCC then Subway it couldn't be a lack of foot traffic. It does appear that PPD's employees are losing the urge to walk all the way down to these shops, maybe that's the reason?
Well, the novelty of lunches downtown wears off quickly when almost everything costs $8 and up. Why do you think the Subway is so busy? Less expensive lunches... The many first nails in the coffin for downtown started with the closing of The Ice House, and the construction of condos that blocked the river view. The "new, enlightened" philosophies about downtown revitalization (revitalize from what?) caused these things to happen. Let's not leave out parking meters... I used to go downtown at least once a week for sunset, pick up something to eat for dinner--you know, actually spending money downtown. But now I rarely go downtown voluntarily... and with all the tall buildings going up (for a riverfront, 4 stories is too tall), I fail to see the draw for tourists. Add parking tickets, and I'd not be surprised if tourism slows. But then, that seems to be the desired effect? Whatever personality used to exist not only for Wilmington as a whole, but also the downtown area is being eroded in the name of progress...
Best post on the topic. I concur with your assessment as I used to drive from NYC to stay in Wilmington several times a year until I decided to move to Raleigh. Wilmington has lost its appeal to many and I'm disappointed in the decline of mom and pop stores and the rise of tatoo parlors and vagrants.