The city of Denison may soon add another dining option in its downtown. Officials with the Denison Historic Preservation Board unanimously approved initial plans Tuesday for a new Subway sandwich shop near the heart of the city.
“Subway is excited to be a part of the development and revitalization of Downtown Denison and we are working closely with the developer on the design and timeline of our new store,” Subway Area Profitability Manager Dave Barton said in an email Tuesday. “Situated on a major thoroughfare, this location will allow Subway to better serve Denison and surrounding markets and offers better access to customers passing through as well as those who live and work in the area.”
Robert Hempkins, owner of Hempkins Partners and the property located at 209 S. Austin Ave. where the restaurant is slated to be located, spoke on the plans to open the restaurant near that road’s intersection with Chestnut Street. The item on Tuesday’s agenda was in regard to the construction of a drive-thru restaurant within the city’s historic district, which has restrictions and requirements on development.
“I am here to tell you that they (Subway) have been good to work with and they are willing to work within the Austin Avenue Overlay requirements as well as the historic preservation requirements and all city code,” Hempkins said during the meeting, noting that the location will be under corporate ownership.
When asked about the development and a time frame for completion, Hempkins declined to comment to the Herald Democrat, citing a nondisclosure agreement. Plans submitted to the city call for a 1,650-square-foot restaurant on the property, with 21 total parking spaces at the location and entrances on both Chestnut Street and Austin Avenue. The documents describe Hempkins Partners as the landlord and Subway as the tenant with a monthly rental rate of $2,378.75.
Previously, the site was the location for a Bank of America motor bank. The building was demolished as part of an agreement between Hempkins Partners and the city of Denison for the former Bank of America office, located on Main Street. The former bank building will be converted into the new Denison City Hall and is expected to be opened sometime in 2018.
When the request was put before the historic preservation board, officials voiced some concerns regarding signage. Under city ordinance for the historic district, signage is allowed but may not be internally lit. Instead the signage must be externally lit with light projected onto the sign, officials said.
Additionally, city staff also expressed some concerns regarding the location of the sign. As the site is near power lines, the signage must be at least 15 feet from transmission lines and be approved by Oncor, staff said.
In response, Hempkins reiterated Subway’s promise to work with and operate within code and requirements for the city’s historic district.
The news comes as other restaurants have opened their doors in downtown Denison this year. Rustico, a upscale Mexican restaurant owned by Chef Felipe Gaytan, announced plans in late 2016 to open on Chestnut Street and officially opened to the public last month. That was quickly followed by Vitina’s Boiler Room, who opened its first Denison location on Main Street in mid-May.
“We are excited to welcome another new business to downtown,” Dow said. “Their drive-thru and extended hours will be a plus on Austin Avenue and provide another dining option.”
In recent years, city officials have initiated efforts to market downtown Denison as an entertainment district and destination location for tourism. Plans for the development of downtown have included calls for more dining options and restaurants near the city’s core.
“People tend to congregate where there is a high concentration of food options, and we are pleased this restaurant will be added to our growing base,” Dow said.