Some Halifax business owners are expressing their concern over the future of Barrington Street after the closure of several businesses in the last few weeks.

Jay Wells has spent 18 years building his salon business on Barrington. He has seen the streets’ ups and downs, but he was shocked when he came to the realization that six stores on his block had recently folded.

He believes rising assessments are a part of the problem.

“Because the property taxes are so high, and first it affects us, and then ultimately affects the building owners, and then there’s empty buildings,” says Wells.

For decades, people and businesses have been drawn to Barrington Street for its heritage facades and flavour of urban cool, but lately the area has been taking a beating.

Vanessa Smith owns a shop which sells spiritual books and accessories, located just a few doors down from Wells’ salon.

Smith admits she finds it lonely on the block with so many empty storefronts and says nearby buildings have been under renovation for a painfully long time. She hopes that will soon change.

“To get the downtown going and get the stores filled, possibly,” she says. “If the developers are going to be sitting on properties for various reasons, to get something in there as a short-term tenant.”

Mayor Mike Savage says construction projects are underway that will hopefully encourage more people to live downtown.

“I think as we get more people living downtown as a result of this construction there’ll be people that want all kinds of different services,” says Savage.

Wells looks forward to that, but for now he says downtown businesses need a break to stay vibrant until the people arrive.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw