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Downtown businesses have mixed feelings on economic impact of proposed ballpark

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Building a baseball stadium in Wilmington could have a huge impact on the Cape Fear area, especially for businesses close by.

The Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball Properties will be in the Port City tomorrow morning to make an announcement about the proposed ballpark, and we’ve been hearing they will discuss the economic impact to downtown Wilmington.

Business owners we spoke with say a baseball stadium would definitely help the downtown economy, but only certain businesses would benefit.

“I think all the businesses downtown will definitely get a boost in customers and even regulars that will start coming in,” said Stephen Price, a manager at Hell’s Kitchen.

He says a baseball stadium close by would bring in way more customers.

“Being a kind of sports bar and pub, we’ll definitely see a lot of the people that like baseball come in here,” Price says.

However, all businesses may not be so lucky.

“A minimum affect,” said Isaac Lazar, owner of Isaac’s Men’s Store on Front Street. “We don’t expect too much affect from them.”

Though Lazar and Price agree that a ballpark would help downtown as a whole, Price feels his store would not see a huge increase in sales.

“The people that come to watch baseball, they don’t come to buy clothes,” he said. “They are going to come and have a good time, watch the game, buy drinks, walk around and have a good time.”

The Wilmington Convention Center, which has been open a little over a year, could be an indicator of how a stadium could affect the downtown economy. Lazar and Price have mixed feelings about its impact.

“Yea, our sales are up since that place opened up,” Lazar said. “We’ve seen some significant, positive impact.”

“It really just depends on what they’ll have at the Convention Center, if we’ll see anything out of it,” Price said.

The news conference with the Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball will be held Wesnesday at 10 a.m. on the lawn of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

More: continued here

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