Raleigh Times Expanding With a Little Help From the City of Raleigh

Raleigh Times Expanding With a Little Help From the City of Raleigh

May, 16, 2012, by Jedidiah

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We've heard for a long time that the Raleigh Times restaurant on Hargett Street was planning to expand, with possibly a second floor and outdoor seating. Yesterday, NBC17 confirmed that Greg Hatem, owner of the building and Empire Properties, was approved a $50,000 loan from the City of Raleigh to expand the restaurant to include more indoor seating in the location formerly occupied by Brass Grill. As well, the Times expansion will have a second floor, with rooftop seating above Holly Aiken Stitch at the corner of Hargett and WIlmington.

Both parts of the expansion are expected to be finished this summer and will include a takeout window (something downtown needs many more of). 



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  • LB
    05/16 09:58 AM

    Very thankful for Greg’s vision and the quality he has brought to downtown with his establishments.  But given his great track record, the apparent success of RaleighTimes and the momentum downtown Raleigh has right now, why is the City providing him with a loan? To be sure he has many banking relationships that could easily provide this capital.  If it’s a question of over leverage or risk, then why is the City sticking their nose in?

  • smitty
    05/16 10:05 AM

    From the article: “Qualified applicants to the program must show they are unable to secure financing from financial institutions for the amount being requested.”

    I think Greg could have easily put $50k on his Centurion Amex.  Maybe the city should hold out for a needier applicant.

  • Manuel
    05/16 10:22 AM

    Given that RalTtimes is a seemingly successful downtown business with a good track record, then it does sound like a good investment for the city, doesn’t it?  That would actually mean that the city should get the money back, and the city gets an expanded successful business.

    Is there a record of needier applicants being denied similar loans in favor of this one? If so, that would be a different story.

  • smitty
    05/16 10:46 AM

    I don’t think it was a good investment for the city because I’m sure the Times would have expanded whether the city gave him your tax money or not.

  • hackles10
    05/16 10:55 AM

    Smitty, they aren’t giving away tax $, they are loaning the money.  I am sure there is interest attached.  So the city is loaning $50k to a guy who supports downtown raleigh, is expanding his business, and will continue to accrue local sales tax revenue for the city and provide a new outdoor/expanded venue in a once depleted/abandoned space.  This sounds awful….grab the pitchforks and torches!!!  (by the way, please take some time to compare this 50k loan, to the 1 million spent on upfitting the Mint space for a now defunct restaurant.)

  • LB
    05/16 11:04 AM

    From the outsider’s perspective this is a safe investment - the Times, and Hatem’s other biz’s, appear to be killing it.  Now somehow Hatem proved that he couldn’t get a $50k loan to expand an extremely successful business - seems like a no brainer for a private lender.  So either there was some spreadsheet sorcery/ol’ boy favors going on, or Hatem has way too much aggregate debt on his companies.  Either way, it makes one raise an eyebrow. In the grand scheme of things not a big deal - just hope its not a trend.  Times is great and we will all enjoy that rooftop.

  • Marky Mark
    05/16 12:24 PM

    Empire Eats appears to be killing it, but Empire Properties is currently involved in some large legal disputes. Not being able to find a private lender for $50,000 is not completely implausible.

  • Bill
    05/16 02:29 PM

    When is the takeout window at Kings/Neptunes going to open?  I’ve heard the city has been less then helpful with that project.  I mean, it’s not like they’re asking for $50,000 - they’re just asking to put a counter in a window.

    And seriously, let’s hear more about these “large legal disputes”?

  • HeffRaleigh
    05/16 03:38 PM

    In addition to the incremental tax revenue generated, this minor loan, which will be presumed to be paid back with 3.5% interest rate attached to the loan, the Times expansion is projected to add 15 full-time employees to the restaurant’s staff. Seems like a good use of funds to me.

  • ld
    05/16 04:31 PM

    woohoo!  I will be frequenting the rooftop!

  • I'maSweetsin
    05/17 09:19 AM

    I’d much rather have that takeout window at kings that serves Indian. The bigger Raleigh Times gets, the more douches it will attract.

  • Squirrelbaby
    05/17 10:35 AM

    The takeout window debacle is obvious.

    The City knows that in order to drive off the hipsters, you must starve them. They’re working on a 150% tax on all PBR and Tecate sales too.

    Oh and if you enjoy fun social/urban commentary….

    On Twitter: @Squirrelchat

  • Fitflops
    05/19 04:27 AM

    I have visited your site. I found a lot of interesting information in your fitflop thailand blog. From the tons of comments on your articles.Please visit my website too and tell me what you think.

  • Arthur
    05/19 03:19 PM

    We, the citizens of Raleigh, should not be providing him with an interest free loan. He had the credit to get a loan from a bank. The city should only help start ups with interest free loans!

  • richardfoc
    05/21 09:35 AM

    Arthur: who said anything about an interest free loan? Can you provide a link where this was mentioned?

  • PMasterson
    05/21 12:08 PM

    This is great news. Another store front renovated and occupied.

    Oh and your twitter is hilarious, Squirrelbaby. Consider it followed

  • scoop
    05/21 08:04 PM

    Arthur, this is not an interest-free loan.  Thanks for checking your facts before contributing next time.

  • Ranter
    05/22 11:35 AM

    Now can they improve their food?  It used to be really good and has taken a downslide over the past year.  Apparently the masses do not care but to some of us it does matter.

  • reality
    05/22 11:59 AM

    How many years have they been open? They don’t have 50k sitting in a bank account somewhere.  I guess they need to stop selling PBR’s and start pushing those 25 dollar beers on the menu.

  • Phil
    05/22 01:42 PM

    Busy does not always equal profitable. You never know what their bottom line may or may not look like.

  • kg
    05/23 08:24 AM

    nag, nag, nag… i wish they would close this place and turn fayetteville st back into an urban mall.

  • Olivia_S
    05/23 09:23 AM

    This is a no brainer in terms of return on investment, so I don’t see the problem here.

    Although, I have to agree with Squirrelbaby’s hipster conspiracy. Hahah your twitter is ridiculous too.

  • bcb
    05/24 07:45 AM

    @Ranter I could not agree with you more.  The food which was once a reliable source of quality grub has taken a major turn for the worst.

  • FuckThatShitGuy
    05/24 10:38 AM

    The food sucks.  $9 shit veggie burger with no side.  Fuck that shit

  • Roza
    07/12 02:31 AM

    Let’s see you have horrible cedirt , and you want to borrow $4000. Hm. Nope. I believe I’ll pass. Looky here: if you have horrible cedirt , you’re not in a position to dictate the terms of any loan you might be lucky enough to fall into. Lenders look at your past to predict your future   and looking at your past, they’ll see that you don’t pay your debts on time   or at all. That said, they’d be foolish to let you have any money. You’ve already shown you’re not trustworthy.This is a pretty harsh answer, but it sounds like harsh is something you haven’t had enough of yet.

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