C h a p t e r 4 S umma ry of P u b l ic I npu t
4.3 Stakeholder Interviews The design team conducted a reconnaissance trip that included two days of stakeholder interviews on March 30–31. The meetings were focused around various topics and city staff identified and invited specific individuals to participate. Local merchants, realtors, elected officials, and property owners were targeted as part of these interviews. Key takeaways are summarized below:
»» Businesses are owned by both lifelong residents and transplants from other parts of the country; most merchants truly care about Wake Forest. »» The last 7–8 years has seen a shift in more people knowing that downtown exists and loving the quaint “mom and pop” feel of the area. »» Merchants have tried to evolve their product selections to serve the new customer base; shift in sensitivity to buy local and avoid chains. »» General feeling is that the downtown streetscape improvements and the addition of White Street Brewing have had the most impact on the shift in demographics visiting downtown. »» Some businesses seem disconnected from the core, particularly those down at the Renaissance Center; more private investment is forthcoming on that end of town.
»» Staying open later is a challenge and is perceived as being cost prohibitive. »» There is lots of tenant interest in downtown buildings; have found challenges with landlord expectations and viable tenant spaces. »» Apex, Durham, Asheville, Savannah, Pinehurst and New Bern are cited examples of desirable downtowns to emulate. »» Downtown is difficult to find; improved signage/wayfinding is necessary. »» Housing market is a bedroom community of Raleigh; SEBTS campus draws families and older population into town. »» Current demographic moving in: mostly younger families (30s and 40s), large retirement draw from northeast.
S S Stakeholder meeting focused on retail in downtown
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