For students, it seems, what’s different is always best.
At least, that’s what Justin Harris hoped when he received City Council approval to build a Zaxby’s restaurant last spring.
“The University has played a big role,” Harris, owner of the N. 12th Street chicken restaurant said. “The Zaxby’s franchise likes to target areas around college towns.”
This theme led City Council members, with the help of the Murray Chamber of Commerce, to drive forward the construction of several new restaurants in Murray.
The proposed Dunkin’ Donuts project tabled by the Murray Planning Commission in May was readdressed late last month. Marv Blomquist, civil engineer with Blomquist Design Group of Louisville, submitted a new design for the restaurant that addressed problems Commissioner Mary Anne Medlock pointed out in the previous meeting, according to a report by the Murray Ledger and Times.
Some of the concerns Medlock pointed out included drainage issues, fencing, sidewalks and landscaping.
“This new plat addresses all my concerns,” she said.
The current plans include a rectangular facility, combining the doughnut shop with another restaurant that has not yet been chosen. The Dunkin’ Donuts developers have applied for a demolition permit for the space on N. 12th Street near its Sharpe Street intersection.
If granted, construction could begin in the coming weeks, the article stated.
Lance Allison, president of the Murray Chamber of Commerce, said the Dunkin’ Donuts project and the recently-opened Zaxby’s add a diverse mix of restaurant choices he thinks students will find attractive.
“We want to have here in Murray as wide a variety as possible,” he said.
Allison added that a doughnut shop in that area, along with a fast-food restaurant providing a unique menu like Zaxby’s’ will help to prevent an overflow of similar business in the Murray area, which he said aids in healthy competition and can bring a more steady a flow of new businesses into the community.
“I think that Zaxby’s and Dunkin’ Donuts are really great examples of having a little bit different mixture than what we have right now,” he said.
Allison said many communities similar to Murray were affected far more negatively by the national economic downturn that started in 2009.
Murray staved off the brunt of the recession because of the diversity encouraged by student demand, Allison said.
“Having Murray State and the students here kind of guards us from some national trends,” he said. “Murray is affected by it, but not as bad as some of our surrounding communities.”
That affects how the Chamber communicates with businesses that are interested in developing in the Murray area.
“We trumpet the University and the student population when we’re talking to anybody,” Allison said. “You can put Murray State and the student population right there as a key demographic when we’re talking to folks.
Also discussed in the June Planning Commission Advisory Meeting were initial plans for the construction of an Arby’s, also on N. 12th Street, next to Fidalgo Bay.
Allison said he presumed the closure of the old Arby’s location in the spring was due to monetary reasons.
Rajiv Johar, the new restaurant’s developer, confirmed, saying his new location was more affordable and better for traffic than the old location.