Construction Begins on the Strip


By Sam Jones
By Benjy Jeffords

JACKSON COUNTY -- Construction is underway on a project that could transform the Carbondale Strip. The former 710 bookstore will be cleared to make way for a business and apartment complex. The developers plan to work quickly with a deadline of Fall 2015.

It's clear big changes are on the way at the Corner of Mill Street and Route 51. Dumpsters are in the parking lot and empty poles stand where parking meters once were. All of the preparations are for the biggest construction project on the strip in decades.

“There’s just no parking so unless they build a parking lot just for that its, the strip is a tight squeeze,” William Lo said.

The parking lot was nearly empty Tuesday, but it won't be like that for long. Crews have begun removing asbestos and are expected to begin demolition of the old 710 bookstore in two weeks.

“Having other businesses is not a bad thing. It’s just as a local owner, I would like to see more local businesses come in,” he added.

Lo's business, New Kahala, will be gone before that starts. Their rent has doubled so they're moving to Wall and Grand. In some ways, he's relieved.

“I think it's great for the city. It's great for the students, but down here there’s not much parking so that parking lot is half of this area here; without that parking its detrimental to town,” Lo explained.

Bob Marks of B&L Photo agrees. His biggest concern is parking,since his customers once used the lot that'll be tied up with equipment and workers.

“When you go to a store to buy something you drive around once looking for a spot. You drive around a second time and then you drive away. My personal feeling [is] that’s what you're gonna see happening,” Marks advised.

He's been at the location just down from Quatro's for less than a year, and hasn't ruled out moving. Marks feels the development won't help his store.

“If that’s there, if it’s not there, I don't believe I’ll make another dollars worth of business,” he said.

For now, he'll wait to see what comes of the project: a four story building with room for more than 300 people in the apartments, along with a floor of retail space

Tartan Realty Group closed on the property last Friday. They've obtained permits and plan to break ground next month.

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