Greensboro continues to grow, report finds

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Downtown Greensboro, Inc. released new numbers reflecting growth downtown Greensboro in an annual report to city leaders Thursday morning.

DGI Board Chair Dawn Chaney highlighted 22 new storefronts opened in the past year, including about a dozen restaurants, a travel agency, an eye doctors office and downtown's first organic-oriented grocery market.

Yul Bennerman opened Saltmarsh Willie's this year near Center City Park on North Elm St., which he said pulls in 40-60 lunch customers every day.

" I am in the middle of it all!" said Bennerman. "I got the whole block on lock. I'm the only seafood restaurant downtown."

According to DGI, total financial investment downtown was $34.6 million, up nearly $10 million from the year before.

Construction projects like the Southeastern building renovation have gotten attention from passerby, along with the prospect of two new hotels downtown.

Kristina Fuller is not new to owning a business, but her taco joint Crafted on South Elm St. is her first venture downtown.

"We wanted to be in a funky area of town where we could really appeal to any and everybody rather than just a certain demographic," she explained, calling a move downtown exciting but scary at first.

"It's been great. We've gotten a lot of good feedback and a lot of local support," added Fuller.

DGI's report showed 27 properties purchased downtown this year generated an investment of $23.58 million, up from $5.1 million the year before.

"I think it needs some more work but we're getting there, for sure... With some of these projects with GPAC, and maybe a hotel, new apartments, I think that could really benefit all of us in the long run," Fuller explained,

2012 report:

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