New businesses to rise in Murphy

by | May 13, 2021 | Latest

Murphy residents will some day soon have a chance to chow down on a breakfast sandwich and then burn off those calories at a dance studio, as Panera Bread and the Kaiser Center for the Performing Arts have cleared some hurdles to open in the city.

Murphy City Councilmembers on May 4 approved a specific use permit to allow a restaurant with a drive-thru for a Panera Bread to be located at the northwest corner of North Murphy Road and FM 544, where a Walgreens used to operate. City officials said the new building would have approximately 8,900 square feet. Panera Bread, a national fast-casual chain, serves sandwiches, soup and other cuisine. This unit will be corporate owned.

City officials said the 3,500 square foot restaurant will also have a 750-square-foot patio. The remainder of the building, approximately 5,400 square feet, will be used as a combination of service uses or a restaurant (with no drive-thru).

Councilmembers saw artist renderings of the new Panera location, and Panera has been looking to open a location in Murphy for a “very long time,” said Reagan Rothenberger, city planner.

“We do have a Panera franchisee who lives in Murphy, so there’s always been interest, and when this site became available, we knew it would be a potential (location),” he said. “The new owners have been great to work with, and when we tried to make that connection with them, they listened. And they worked hard to bring this here.”

He said the property owners, The Murphy Companies, would work hard to bring other high-quality tenants to the city.

Later, in an email, Mayfield said the city does not know the timelines for demolition of the old building or when a new building would be constructed in its place. The next step in the city process is for the developers to submit formal site plans, landscape plans and building elevations, which will then need approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission and council. Mayfield expects that those plans will be submitted and approved sometime this summer.

The Walgreens property was purchased by The Morgan Companies, based in Charlotte, N.C., in September 2020.

The dance studio, to be called The Kaiser Center for the Performing Arts, will be located at 104 N. Murphy Road and will target youths ages 2-17 but also will be a place where adults can take lessons. Councilmembers approved amending the Planned Development ordinance to permit the use “Dance Studio” for property located at the North Murphy Road location. “Dance Studio” was not specifically listed in the Murphy Marketplace Planned Development, said Jared Mayfield, director of economic and community development, who discussed the floor plan to be used by KCPA.

“It’s a little over 9,000 square feet,” Mayfield said about KCPA’s space. “It’s a fairly good-sized spot there for them.”

KCPA will operate in the space that used to contain the Tuesday Morning retail operation.

Jennifer Kaiser, owner and director of KCPA, said she has been working in the dance studio industry for about 22 years, working with mostly competitive and recreational programs. This will be the first dance studio she has opened herself.

“We are really excited about this opportunity,” said Kaiser, who was flanked by husband Jason. The Kaisers live in Wylie. “It’s a great location. I’m in a little bit of disbelief that we were able to acquire it. It’s amazing.”

Jason Kaiser, a civil an engineer with 17 years of experience, said he has a great partnership with Jennifer, and said his expertise in architecture, engineers and working with cities will be a benefit to the business.

“You guys can certainly count on me not teaching any of the dance classes,” he joked. “I’ll just go ahead and say that’s not a good idea for anybody.”

He gave a breakdown of how the business will earn income, such as through tuition, fees, retail components and birthday parties.

Jennifer said the KCPA will try to provide an encouraging environment to give dancers and artists the tools to thrive in each phase of their lives. The business will have these core values: integrity, compassion and ethics; sportsmanship; community; and ingenuity. Other communities will be served in addition to Murphy.

The business will have three programs: Kaiser Kids Dance, for young children; performance and technique, for general population and for people needing coaching; and an assembly competition team, which is for area dancers needing help before competition. Jason Kaiser showed some artist renditions of the studio, including dance rooms.

Mayor Scott Bradley, councilmember Jene Butler and Mayor pro tem Jennifer Berthiaume liked what the studio could offer the community.

“I just think this is just a fantastic plan, a fantastic use of space,” Bethiaume said. “I’m so excited to be able to come and hopefully see some performances here.”

While the plan for the studio is initially focused on the dancing aspect getting set up, Jennifer Kaiser said, there will two rooms established for music lessons, although they won’t a be a music studio. People can find a space for other lessons, such as for voice.

Plans exist to bring adult classes into the business when it opens, Jennifer Kaiser said. Classes are ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, musical theater and Acro. Music and potentially acting lessons could come later.

“Ballroom (dancing) is not on the list just yet, but there’s always a chance we could add it,” she said.

Jennifer Kaiser said she wants to provide something different from what other area dance studios offer, explaining, for example, teachers will instruct differently and core values will be slightly different at KCPA.

“So there’s going to be a culture that is going to be different,” she said, explaining that some people may not fit into other places but they can find a different option in KCPA.

The Kaisers said they hope the business can open in July. People can find the Kaisers on Facebook and Instagram at KCPAdance. People may join the waitlist at www.KCPAdance.com, and the email is [email protected]

By Don Munsch [email protected]

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