More Clayton businesses show interest in store makeovers

ndunn@newsobserver.comMay 19, 2014 

The Town of Clayton will pay a higher share of remodeling downtown storefronts in need of makeovers.

Town leaders agreed this month to raise the percentage Clayton reimburses store owners who spruce up their buildings. The change is part of a broader initiative to improve the appearance of downtown.

The Town Council increased the reimbursement level from 50 percent to 75 percent, which is where it stood during the run-up to Clayton hosting the N.C. Main Street Conference in 2012.

Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen said at least five building owners are considering improving their storefronts because of the change in the reimbursement formula.

A town document show owners have committed to improvements at 222 E. Main St., which is home to Spencer Realty Co., and 408 E. Main St., the home to Country Folks Creamery.

Under consideration are 423 E. Main St., a vacant storefront owned by Walter and Caroline Shelton of Raleigh; 234 E. Main St., a vacant storefront owned by Linda McAdams and Herman Mitchiner, both of Clayton; and 406 E. Main St., a vacant storefront owned by Clayton residents Bonnie and Hubert Lee, according to the document.

If all of the projects get done, the town would pay about $9,200 of the more than $12,200 in projected improvement costs.

“This is a good opportunity to do it,” Naegelen said. “A couple of those businesses are vacant, and this will help bring some potential tenants to downtown.”

The vacant storefront at 406 E. Main St. will be home to Manning’s Restaurant, which town leaders say will feature Southern cuisine in an upscale setting. The owners plan banquet rooms for parties and a rooftop patio.

Since 2008, Clayton has awarded grants to downtown businesses that give their storefronts makeovers. To date, the town has added about $55,800 in public funds to total private investment of more than $307,000.

Several councilmen and Town Manager Steve Biggs want to pursue a similar improvement program along U.S. 70 Business. But at its regular meeting May 5, the Town Council did not discuss the proposed highway plan, which would likely focus on landscaping and smaller buildings.

Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104

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