Belltown businesses see little impact after viaduct closure

SEATTLE -- Some restaurants hoped that the increased commute times between the closure of the Alaska Way Viaduct and the opening of the SR 99 tunnel would mean more business.

Edgar Carbajal, General Manager of Wasabi, says that wasn't the case for his Belltown restaurant.

For the last three weeks he has watched as hundreds of cars crawled past his business, and he was ready for them. However, a ten percent discount the restaurant offered during the closure did little to attract customers.

Wasabi wasn't alone, either. Several business owners Q13 talked with say they saw no real difference with the viaduct closure.

"You would think people would park and get their ten percent , I feel like drivers just want to get to their destination," Carbajal said.

Most of the business owners said that after too much eating, drinking and spending during the holidays, January is their slowest month.

But while viaduct victims weren't stopping in at restaurants, Carbajal says the road closure might have helped them in another way.

"The locals stayed in town. They were afraid to go out."

The new SR 99 tunnel opens Monday and should be open before rush hour commutes.