If you’ve walked to McMurray’s recently and noticed the construction next door, get ready for more changes; Jimmy John’s will be opening on the corner of College and Limestone before the semester ends, with the possibilities of other businesses coming later, said McMurray’s owner Brian O’Neill.
“We would love to have something up by April, maybe mid-March,” O’Neill said. “It just depends on how it goes.”
O’Neill is reaching out to businesses to move into what will be College Hill Commons, a new group of shops that will open up on the plot of land where the previous McMurray’s bar stood.
The original McMurray’s burned down during the summer of 2013 after a kitchen fire and relocated next door to a property also owned by the O’Neill family.
McMurray’s and Paddy’s pizza will occupy one of the vacancies, with Jimmy John’s in another. O’Neill is not sure what direction they will go with the new space, but might be interested in seeing if they can maintain Paddy’s outside of McMurray’s.
As of right now, there are two vacancies in the building.
“We’ve talked to a lot of people — even Starbucks — with not a lot of success at getting back to us,” O’Neill said. “We want something conducive for the area it’s servicing: campus, downtown, Springfield.”
O’Neill says he is looking at “what kind of environment, who would fit here, who would benefit everybody” to put in place.
He mentioned reaching out to chain coffee shops because he recognizes that local businesses may not be able to afford moving into the facility.
“Clearly, we don’t want to exclude any local interest whatsoever. There just isn’t a lot of local desire to take on such a massive undertaking,” he said. “It’s very expensive to move into a brand new facility.”
When businesses move in, they will be responsible for adding lights, fixtures, paint and flooring. The units will have white walls with loose wires hanging from the ceiling when businesses initially purchase them. This will allow businesses to decorate and arrange the shop in the style of their restaurant.
Although weather may delay construction, O’Neill looks forward to businesses opening during the spring “and before seniors leave.” He also hopes to develop the area and impact campus life with the new development.
“This is definitely a mark that is gonna be left on campus,” O’Neill said. “I think it’s gonna impact the student population greatly, and we’re trying to promote that as much as possible.”