Construction boom evident in many areas

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 17, 2000

From nearly one end of town to the other, Brookhaven is abuzzwith the sounds of construction as workers focus in on all phasesof various developments.

“In the 10 years I’ve been here, I believe this is the busiestyear we’ve had,” said Brookhaven Building Inspector Steve MoretonFriday in discussing recent business and construction activity.

Brookway Boulevard is the site for several developments, bothcommercial and governmental.

A new Social Security office is under construction on JohnnyJohnson Drive off Brookway Extension. The new office is locatedacross from the Mississippi Tax Commission office that openedrecently.

“They got the walls up today,” Moreton said about the socialsecurity office. “It’s a pretty good size building.”

The neighborhood around Wal-Mart is blossoming with threeconstruction projects. Work on a new Super D Express is under way,and Moreton complimented Joe Allbritton on the appearance ofAllbritton-Sullivan’s new Mazda dealership, which is close to beingcompleted.

“It’s real pleasing to the eye,” Moreton said.

Also getting its share of attention is the Wal-Mart Plaza, whichsaw Dollar Tree open two weeks ago and will have several storesopening soon.

Brad Combs, with Sandor Development of Indianapolis, Ind., saidseveral businesses should be ready to open in the next 30-45 days.Fashion Bug, Sally Beauty Supply and Friedman Jewelers already havesigns up on the 11-suite building.

On-Cue, a division of Musicland, offers music, books and moviesfor sale, Combs said. It will occupy a 5,000 square foot suite andis scheduled to open on August 1.

“It’s a great operation,” Combs said. “They do a lot incommunities that do not have a mall.”

Other businesses that have committed to locating in the plazainclude SunCom, a cellular telephone service, and Fashion Nails,which will be expanding and relocating its Brookhaven business.Combs said he is awaiting word on some others.

“I have three leases out for remaining spaces,” Combs said.”We’re real excited about getting everybody opened.”

Also in the area, Kellwood has put its sign up on a new clothingoutlet in Highland Square, and farther down the boulevard, Bank ofBrookhaven’s permanent building remains under construction. Moretonsaid Kellwood Outlet should be opening in the near future.

On Highway 51 south, Moreton said Rapid Oil Change is about 75percent complete, and Weeks Barber Shop was working on its parkingarea Friday.

Education-related projects are contributing to the sounds ofconstruction, Moreton said.

A new office for the Brookhaven School District’s transportationoffices is in the works on North Second Street and a newsix-classroom and media center at Brookhaven Elementary should beready soon. Superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds said he has receivedassurances the new addition will be ready by Aug. 5 before studentsreturn on Aug. 9.

Mississippi School of the Arts work is beginning on theWhitworth campus and at Brookhaven High School.

“They’re doing some major demolition work over there,” Moretonsaid about BHS work in preparation for renovations and addition oftwo new education wings.

Construction crews have started emergency work to restorebuildings on the Whitworth campus. The $1.6 million project isfocusing first on Johnson Institute, the most critical in need ofattention, and also on Enoch Hall and Cooper Hall.

Bids on the BHS project are expected to be awarded later thismonth, Moreton said. He said the project features two thick volumesof plans, and the Whitworth project will be even larger thanthat.

“They’ve got some good architects on those two jobs,” Moretonsaid.

Moreton said Specialty Minerals Inc. in the Industrial Park isreal close to being ready, and some residential projects are alsokeeping construction people busy. Moreton mentioned some townhouses near Church and Chickasaw Street as one example ofresidential development.

Moreton said it was difficult to recall and keep track of allthe business, industrial and residential development.

“You can almost stand on any street corner in Brookhaven andhear the ringing of a hammer or the buzzing of a saw,” Moretonsaid. “It’s that much going on.”