By Joshua Winata
The Cove Herald
Copperas Cove is undergoing growing pains, and for many residents, the hardest part is waiting for promised plans to come to fruition.
But the waiting game is almost over as construction draws closer to an end on four large-scale projects, two of which are opening this month.
“Everything’s just exploding this year. It’s nice to be here right now,” said Monica Hull, Copperas Cove Economic Development Corp. marketing director. “Everything that I’ve been working for since I got here in the May of 2000 is happening this year.”
The shelves are filling up quickly at Walgreens as employees busily stock displays in preparation for the store’s Oct. 26 opening.
Located at the western corner of U.S. Highway 190 and Robertson Avenue, the 14,820-square-foot full-service store will offer a pharmacy, photo lab, seasonal merchandise, groceries, toys, electronics, greeting cards, cosmetics, hygiene products and much more.
In addition to the usual range of offerings, the Copperas Cove Walgreens will also feature a coffee kiosk called Café W, a pilot program implemented in only a handful of stores across the country. Shoppers on the go can grab lattes, cappuccinos, soft drinks and snacks from the stylish mini coffee bar.
“We want people to come out and shop,” said Walgreens Store Manager David Williamson. “We’re excited to be here in Copperas Cove, and we hope we can offer them fast, convenient service here.”
A grand opening event is scheduled for two to three weeks after the doors open to the public.
According to a cost/benefit analysis conducted by the CCEDC, Walgreens will generate $1.5 million in taxable benefits to the city, county and school district and more than $11 million in salaries paid to workers over the next ten years. The project also directly creates about 25 jobs.
The CCEDC anticipates the construction of Walgreens will spark even more commercial development.
“Once you get a Walgreens, you get on the map,” Hull said. “There are certain businesses that look to locate near a Walgreens. Walgreens is one of the criteria for them to relocate in a community. They know that the customers of Walgreens fit some sort of profile for various retailers.”
Construction on the store began at the end of 2006, and sign installation and inventory displays are the finishing touches that will completed this week.
Founded in 1901, Walgreens is not only the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain, it is also considered the leader in innovative drugstore retailing with $52.8 billion in sales during the 2007 fiscal year.
The 35,000-square-foot Days Inn will be adding 62 rooms for visitors to Copperas Cove by the beginning of 2008.
The hotel is springing up near the intersection of Constitution Avenue and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard adjacent to Wal-Mart. The facility will feature a business center, indoor pool, exercise room, high-speed Internet connections and meeting space to accommodate up to 125 people.
Construction on the hotel began in March, and the erection of the wooden frame for the three-story building has been completed. Installation of pipes and electrical wires is scheduled to be finished by the end of the month followed by sheetrock in November.
The opening date is slated for January 2008, a month later than originally announced due to delays in city approval of building plans and summer inclement weather.
“We’re at a point where we’re completely dried in,” said Mark Manos, job site supervisor with contractor Construction Services, Inc. “Weather’s not going to be a factor for us.”
Owner Sam Patel said he expects the new hotel to bring between 20 to 30 new jobs to the city and inject more than $2 million per year in taxes and salaries into the community.
Days Inn joins a string of hotels including Best Western and Comfort Suites, which opened in August, being developed inthe business park at the western end of the Copperas Cove.
“These hotels will add to Copperas Cove’s ad valorem tax revenues while at the same time increase sales tax and hotel/motel tax revenues for the city,” CCEDC Executive Director Jerry Connor said.
Boardwalk Plaza, located at 914 South Main Street, expands the available office space in Copperas Cove with a touch of Texas sophistication.
Scheduled to open in January 2008, developers David and Diane Harman said they are hoping to attract professionals like attorneys, certified public accountants, optometrists, doctors, dentists and realtors to open shop in the plaza.
Several businesses have expressed interest in renting the space, but no contracts have been signed on any of the eight available 1,000-square-foot offices. Those interested in leasing the offices can contact the Harmans at (254) 258-2540.
The 8,000-square-foot plaza was designed by the Harmans in collaboration with Cove-based design firm Gene Dane and Associates, Inc. Made with native rock and stucco and boasting a metallic roof and breezeway, the building is designed as an comfortable and elegant space.
“We thought that it would improve the looks of Copperas Cove,” Diane Harman said. “It’s going to be a unique building. It’s going to be very, very beautiful.”
Construction on Boardwalk Plaza began in August, and the frame and some of the plumbing has already been completed. The roof is going up this week.
Ben’s Service Center
A Copperas Cove landmark begins a new chapter next Monday when Ben’s Service Center, historically renowned for opening the first business on U.S. Highway 190 in 1951, moves into a new 4,900-square-foot home.
Located at 801 Leonhard Street, the new service center will benefit from synergies with next-door neighbors Advance Auto Parts and Autozone. The completed facility will also have six spacious bays with heavy duty lifts, a radiator shop, expanded office space and a much larger assortment of tires and automotive parts.
Ben’s Service Center closed the doors at its temporary location on U.S. Highway 190 on Wednesday and will reopen in the new site on Oct. 22 upon receipt of a certificate of occupancy from the city. A grand opening event will kick off business several weeks later.
“We’ll still be doing just about all types of automotive work, essentially what we’ve been doing since 1951 when my dad built the shop.” owner Russell Mickan said. “We’re looking forward to moving in and for people to come see us.”
Contact Joshua Winata at email@example.com or call (254) 547-6481