Despite news of a down economy, Calloway County will have new businesses open to the public as early as spring of 2012.
Construction for a new AT&T store and Arby’s are currently underway, while Dunkin’ Donuts and Fazoli’s are in development stages.
Peyton Mastera, projects administrator for the City of Murray, said the city hopes to see most of the projects either started or completed soon.
“(AT&T) should be done with construction within the coming weeks,” he said. “Demolishing (for Arby’s) is nearly complete. Hopefully they begin construction in December.”
Crews began removing asbestos earlier this month from two homes located at 307 and 309 N 12th St., the new location for Arby’s of Murray. Construction and demolishing will resume once the site is deemed safe to return.
Previously, Murray had an Arby’s located at 507 N 12th St., but Mastera said the two business ventures are not connected.
“The previous Arby’s was owned by a different owner,” he said. “It is my understanding the previous Arby’s owner and the property owner did not renew the lease and this Arby’s is a separate venture by a different party.”
The Murray Ledger & Times reported on Nov. 10 the Dunkin’ Donuts shop is unlikely to open before 2012. The building site, located on 300 N 12th St., is ill-prepared for construction and will not be ready before winter.
Mastera said the Murray City Council discovered Fazoli’s business intentions through an article released by the Ledger on Nov. 8.
“The only thing we know about Fazoli’s is what was in the newspaper, in that they are coming to town,” he said. “We have yet to speak with a Fazoli’s representative.”
Brad Ritter, spokesman for Fazoli’s, said the restaurant hopes to purchase open land behind the University Shops on Chestnut and 13th Streets and have construction complete by late spring of 2012.
While the job market and housing bubble have negative outlooks for the future, Mastera said he believes new business in Murray constitutes a healthy local economy.
“If people are investing in our community, it shows that people have faith in our economy and what it has to offer,” he said. “While some jobs have been lost due to the economy and some trickle-down effects of the worldwide downturn, we have also added many jobs.”
The unemployment rate has doubled from 3.2 percent in 2000 to 8.7 percent in April 2010, Calloway County, but is shadowed by the Kentucky’s unemployment average of 10.2 percent and a national average of 9 percent.
From 2000 to 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau measured an 8.8 percent population increase in Calloway County, from 34, 177 to 37, 191 residents.
According to the 2010 Census, 46 building permits were acquired either for renovation or construction of new buildings.
And while 20 percent of the county lives under the national poverty line, Calloway County boasts an 84.2 cost of living index, meaning it is 17 percent cheaper to live here than the U.S. average.
“Murray, in my opinion, was not affected nearly as drastically as other communities,” Mastera said. “You read of some parts of the country where communities all but shut down. That was not the case here in Murray.”
Mastera revealed the steps businesses must take to follow county ordinances and zoning laws regarding business development.
“Typically a business and/or developer will approach the city with where and what type of business they are looking to open,” Mastera said. “Often times there are additional review processes those must go through before they can break ground (e.g. utility availability, zoning compliance, ingress and egress, signage, et cetera).”
Those reviews, Mastera said, have to take place before the Planning Commission or Board of Zoning Adjustments.
“No business model has to be approved,” he said. “The only additional review pertains to the physical site itself and ensuring the use is permitted within that zoning district. For instance, in a residential zone you cannot open up a fast food chain.”
Calloway County Facts
-In 2007, $52,463,000 was spent in accommodation and food service sales in Calloway County.
-Median Household Income (1999): $30,134
-Median Household Income (2009): $34,947
-Job growth from Sept. 2010 to Sept. 2011 was -.22 percent, meaning out of 100 jobs, less than 1 was lost over the last year.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2010