Story by Michelle Hawks, Contributing writer
Murray State’s Town and Gown program made a $25,000 financial commitment toward the construction of a spec building with the goal of bringing more industry into the area.
Carol Brunn, head of Town and Gown, said the commitment—$25,000 over five years—is just one way Town and Gown works with its partners to grow both the community and the university.
According to its website, Town and Gown is a partnership between university and community leaders to allow for collaboration on a broad range of issues.
Brunn said the money comes from 38 Town and Gown partners, who pay an annual fee to be associated with the organization.
“While you are investing in Town and Gown with that fee, we, in turn, take that money and invest it back into the community,” Brunn said.
Mark Manning, executive director of Murray-Calloway Economic Development Corporation, said the building is a necessity in order to add to an already large industrial sector in the Murray-Calloway County area.
“Murray has done well economically,” Manning said. “But that poses a problem; if an industry wanted to come to Murray, there’s no building.”
Although he said there is no way to determine how long it will take for an industry to move into the building, he said his goal is to have it sold by the time the building is finished.
He said in the past, companies have loved Murray for the educational opportunities, low crime rate and relatively low taxes, as well as the strong sense of community that is found in the area.
Because of this, he said he is confident the building, which is equipped with the latest technology, will serve its purpose and bring in high-paying jobs.
Manning said the goal is to create a minimum of 100 high-paying jobs. However, he said the building can be doubled in size, allowing for a total of 250-300 jobs to be created.
“The building is designed to be flexible for all industries,” Manning said.
According to the EDC website, the spec building is 62,351 square feet and will have a building pad that will allow for the building to expand more than 120,000 square feet. It will include partially finished office space, as well as tall ceilings, five dock doors and one drive-in door, among other amenities.
Manning said if the weather cooperates, the building will be completed in the next five months. He said a webcam will be installed at the site so community members can see the progress of the building online.