Murfreesboro stands to gain nearly 150 newly created jobs if plans for a current industrial development are approved by the Murfreesboro Planning Commission and City Council.
A site plan for the industrial development on South Rutherford Boulevard is expected soon, after final approval of the annexation and rezoning request by the Mary Murfree Family Partnership, which owns the location.
Metal Max Inc. owner Brian Berryman said his two-year-old business venture on South Church Street has been so successful that he has run out of room for expansion, and would like to bring an additional 10 existing clerical jobs to Murfreesboro from his Old Hickory, Tenn., location.
"We're just out of room," Berryman said. "Right now, every time we need room for something new, we have to tear down something else on the property."
In addition to the stamping and cutting of metal roofing and siding through Metal Max in Murfreesboro, Berryman owns Old Hickory Buildings, a multi-state firm which constructs and sells minibarns, with a large sales lot in Old Hickory and a plant in Statesville, N.C.
The two offices would be combined at a new South Rutherford Boulevard development, and the additional acreage and nearby railroad spur at the new site will provide opportunities for expansion that could grow to 200 additional employees, Berryman said.
But one major hurdle will be building an adequate entrance and egress onto South Rutherford Boulevard, which was compounded when the city of Murfreesboro extended this major artery, building an elevated roadway that effectively deprived the property and adjacent parcels of right-of-way.
Berryman, with help from Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Economic Development Holly Sears, has applied for a FastTrack Infrastructure Grant through the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which will provide funds for the necessary road improvements.
The FastTrack Grant is a state program that provides funding to municipalities for economic development related infrastructure, and also played a major role in attracting Amazon Inc. to Murfreesboro's Joe B. Jackson Parkway in late 2011.
"Such infrastructure improvements not only help bring economic development projects to these sorts of specific sites, they also benefit adjacent properties, which allows further job creation in Murfreesboro," said John Harney, a local commercial real estate broker with Parks Trust Development Company.
As an example, Harney cited the 2010 FastTrack project for NHK Seating's sewer expansion on Joe B. Jackson Parkway, which later provided the infrastructure Amazon required at the adjacent property.
"It was a major factor in attracting Amazon to the site," Harney said.
Berryman hopes to meet with the same success in his endeavor to relocate and expand, and he is pleased with the state's progress in the effort.
"So far the state has been great," he said.
He initially began the Metal Max venture simply to fulfill needs for metal roofing in his minibarn construction business.
Metal Max expanded rapidly, though, shattering Berryman's initial potential employee estimates in less than two years.
"I looked around the Murfreesboro area and realized there was a need for a metal roofing fabricator, because two such businesses had recently closed, and our minibarn business served as its largest customer at first," he said. "I originally projected about 10 employees would be needed at the South Church street location, but we have 30 working their now."
Consequently, he is keeping his mind open when it comes to expansion opportunities at the new site.
"We may even start manufacturing metal carports at the new location," he said. "We'll just have to see how the market goes in the next year or so."