LabCorp move could affect downtown Burlington businesses

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- This time next year you may feel a difference in the amount of foot and car traffic in downtown Burlington.

LabCorp has announced it will move 975 jobs from five offices in the downtown area along South Main Street and East Davis Street to the Citi Cards building in Guilford County off Interstate 40.

"It will have an impact. I don't know how big; I think it's a little premature to speculate how much," said Derek Spencer, owner of Paul's Pastry Shop.

He said he saw his business spike three years ago when he moved to a downtown location. He'd like to see other businesses join him if LabCorp is willing to sell.

The future of those five LabCorp buildings is uncertain. Reports indicate there are costly upgrades needed for those properties. LabCorp did not want to comment on when or if those buildings would be available but did say they would continue to work with the city as they always have to improve the downtown area.

Kasey McDowell is already a regular visitor to downtown Burlington from Mebane in Alamance County. She said it's mostly the restaurants that prompt those trips. She said the area gets busy around lunch time and she would like to see the city use the move as an opportunity to improve parking.

"At lunch is when it gets hectic because everybody is coming to these little small places to eat, like people who work for the city and the banks," said McDowell.

McDowell commends the city for improving the downtown area and doesn't believe the move of those 975 employees will put her favorite eateries out of business.

A spokesperson for the City of Burlington said it's too soon to tell what kind of development could be in store for LabCorp properties because they just learned of the company's move.

LabCorp said no jobs will be lost in the transition. An estimated 2,500 employees will still work in downtown Burlington after the January relocation.

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