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"Fun" downtown in Apex

By Karen E. Tiede
Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - Meant to write last week and didn't; lost the reference to the "cute and fun" downtown in Apex and Cary and maybe I'm not quoting exactly.

Back when you could buy a 4 bedroom house in downtown Apex for $80,000, downtown Apex was a mess and not fun at all. There was plenty of parking. Now that every square acre of the surrounding land, mostly, is a subdivision full of matching houses clad in variants of beige vinyl, there is sufficient population density to support a tiny three-block stretch of fun and quaint shops and nice restaurants. Ditto for the little bit of Cary that is considered "downtown." Can't park anywhere, though.

Those cute downtowns are also supported by an infinite number of strip malls housing the big box stores that contain the variety I sometimes want.

I think I may have spent $75 on a massage from someone with an office in downtown Cary once. I have spent maybe $200 at Shuttles Spindles and Hooks, which is downtown by a bit of a stretch but does qualify as "cute and fun," at least if you're into fibers. I had dinner in downtown Apex once, but I wasn't too impressed with the value and haven't been back.

Moving these businesses to Pittsboro wouldn't change my budget any, so it's clear they're not staying in business from my trade.

We're missing two essential conditions for a completely "cute" downtown with boutiques and restaurants: We're not beige enough yet, and we don't have liquor by the drink (legally). Apex turned in the space of about 10 years.

We'll make it by 2016, and maybe well before that, at the rate we're building.

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