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Holly Springs development steams ahead in rocky economy

Posted December 5, 2008

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— Despite a stagnating economy, construction on four major retail projects in Holly Springs were going full-speed ahead this week.

Ten years ago, the town had one grocery store.

But soon, between N.C. Highway 55 Bypass and New Hill Road, and between Avent Ferry Road and N.C. 55, Holly Spring's first movie theater, bowling alley, Target and hotel – a 124-room Hampton Inn – will spring up.

"Talking to your friends and neighbors, they're saying, 'Wow, I can't believe it, that this is happening in Holly Springs,'" said Jenny Mizelle, the town's economic-development director.

The town will also get its first urgent-care center. More than two dozen businesses have signed up for new projects, including a 700,000-square-foot commercial development.

Town leaders said they realize the growth in their town is exception at a time when lenders aren't lending and companies aren't taking risks.

"A lot of this is coming at a time when I think it might surprise a lot of folks that we are having the kind of retail, commercial investment that we're having," Town Manager Carl Dean said.

Those new businesses and construction will be an economic boon for the town

"We continue to talk about how many people are losing jobs. This is a tremendous benefit from a tax-base standpoint, job creations. Everyone of these businesses that opens up, they're going to have to hire people," Dean said.

Mizelle said reason why retailers are attracted to the town is simple: "They're looking at out demographics."

The U.S. Census Bureau says that the town's population has more than doubled its census count of 9,192 in 2006, making it the state's fastest-growing town in 2006.

And the building growth that accompanied that population explosion has turned into a business boom – one that shoppers say they love.

"A movie theater, being this close to Fuquay-Varina, would be really great. Then we wouldn't have to drive all the way to Apex or to Raleigh," shopper Jennifer Keown said.


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