It’s become a very different Warehouse District lately.
The city’s once-sleepy art gallery/dive bar hub—riddled with construction through most of last year—is now experiencing a major growth spurt with the migration of upscale eateries into The Dillon, the recent opening of a $75-a-membership co-op grocery on Hargett Street and the still-shiny Union Station. Food and beverage sales have ballooned 63 percent in the Warehouse District over last year, outpacing every other district in the city.
“I’ve never seen a district have a leap like that,” says Downtown Raleigh Alliance CEO Bill King. “It’s really significant.”
Here’s how the growth compares to other downtown districts, according to a recent economic development report from the DRA:
Overall, September saw record-high food and beverage sales in the city, with over $24.8 million in business. Sales are up nearly 11 percent from last year.
And it’s not just Union Station (and the soon-to-be Go Triangle tower) driving businesses to the Warehouse District, King says, but also the historic character of the buildings, revitalized with a modern twist.
“It’s got that brick stock that has a certain character to it,” King says. “You go into it and you do feel like you’re in a district; it’s a bit easier to get your head into that district’s feel and vibe.”
New businesses include Weaver Street Market, a co-op grocery on Hargett Street, and the announcement of Luang Prabang, a Laotian grill from Brewery Bavana owners Vansana and Vanvisa Nolintha at the Dillon.
Because the Warehouse District is constrained geographically by the train station and downtown, King expects development will spill into abutting neighborhoods as growth continues. Still, it’s got a long way to go to catch up with Fayetteville Street and Glenwood South, which continue to dominate food and beverage sales.