Story by Alicia Steele, Staff writer
Locally owned and operated Murray Donuts will move to a new location at the corner of Olive and 12th Street in May, along with two other businesses yet to be determined.
“Moving closer to Murray State is always best,” Bunnarath Mao, owner of Murray Donuts, said.
Last March, Mao addressed the Murray Planning Commission with the idea to demolish the existing structures on the corner of Olive and 12th and replace them.
Mao said he was interested in a larger location with a 30-person seating capacity. He said families and groups of students meet at the donut shop and the current location can only seat 20.
Mao told the commission that customer convenience is his first priority, and while the new location would include parking and a pick-up window, the most important factor is that the new location will be within walking distance of Murray State.
Mao said he understands that parking on campus is a problem for students, and by moving his business closer to campus it will be more convenient for students to walk to and still make it to class on time without worrying about the hassle of finding parking when they get back to campus.
Commissioner Marc Peebles reminded the commission at the planners meeting of the concerns the neighbors of Olive Street had when Jimmy Johns proposed a delivery location.
Robert Jeffries, a planner in the city’s Planning and Engineering department, said Murray Donuts would operate on different hours than Jimmy Johns, and commissioner John Krieb, said Murray Donuts would not be a delivery service, avoiding the traffic of delivery, which was the main cause of concern with Jimmy Johns.
Danny Steele, of W.D. Steele Construction Services, told the commission the property had been underdeveloped for years, and he supported Mao’s plan to develop it into a greenspace with adequate parking available.
Mao’s main concern remains with his customers. He said moving the location of his business will also prevent international student who walk to Murray Donuts from crossing 12th Street, preventing any potential accidents.
Barry Morris, architect with Ace Design Group, told the planning commission that the building will be 5,400 square feet, which means each unit will be 1,800 square feet.
“Everything is approved and can start at any time,” Mao said. “It’s all up to the general contractor’s schedule.”
As for the other tenants, Mao said they must be approved through the city and meet the B-4 zoning restrictions before being approved to move in. Mao said no matter who owns the property, the city will still control what businesses will move in.
“We don’t know what types of business will go in yet,” Jeffries said.
As of now the property sits bare, but Mao said construction on the building will begin as soon as the contractor is ready and the weather permits, and then Murray Donuts will be ready to move to a location closer to Murray State.