Archived Story

Love’s project includes upgrades

Published 10:12am Friday, May 3, 2013

FRANKLIN—The new Love’s Travel Stop, coming to Franklin, will be located on a 20-acre tract on South Street, near the Highway 58 bypass. Traveling South Street toward Murfreesboro, the land is on the left prior to the Highway 58 exit.

When the economic news was announced Tuesday, Franklin City Manager Randy Martin said the Love’s project “is the first piece of a much bigger commercial project, which is but a small section of a grander vision for the entire corridor.”

Every speaker at Tuesday’s announcement mentioned the partnership between Franklin and Southampton County and the assistance of the Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc. in pursuing long-term goals.

“With this project as a catalyst, the 58 corridor will provide a gateway to the Franklin-Southampton community for the more than 30,000 vehicles per day that use this route for commerce and pleasure,” Martin said.

The Love’s project will include much-needed infrastructure upgrades as well. A connector road will be constructed on the tract purchased by Love’s. John Janson LLC, the developer who bought the entire 62-acre tract, will pay a portion of the price of constructing the road further and the city will also pay a portion.

Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn explained that the road will be a new corridor for traffic to and from Pretlow. She and Martin said the service road will offer a vehicular traffic alternative and improve street connectivity.

Martin further explained that water lines will be extended from the South Street/College Drive intersection to the county line, also funded in partnership with Love’s, Janson and the city. Martin said the lines will be 12 inches in diameter and will improve the water flow and pressure, as well as provide much-needed fire protection.

For the future, Martin and Johnson-Ashburn both stressed that the water line would then be available for commercial and industrial development.

A big recreational aspect of the project will be a bicycle trail along the access route to Pretlow, which will go all the way to the Industrial Park. The multi-use paved trail will be 10-feet wide for cycling and walking, and will tie-in with the city’s 2007 Bike and Pedestrian Plan.

FSEDI’s CEO Amanda Jarratt praised Mayor Johnson-Ashburn and the city’s forward thinking and commitment to accommodate the future.

In turn, the mayor praised Jarratt for all of her hard work.

Jarratt said a site plan would be submitted over the next six weeks and that an aggressive construction schedule would be pursued, with hopes of breaking ground in the first quarter of 2014.

Love’s website ( states the Love’s Travel Stops offer food from a national restaurant chain, trucking supplies, convenience center, tire center, filling station and truck station.

The project will result in a $7 million investment and approximately 50 new jobs for the area.

  • torellinva

    This is good news for Franklin…but maybe they should stop patting themselves on the back long enough to try to bring some jobs in that will pay a living wage.

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  • Makalani

    Great catch and a business coup for Franklin considering that nearby Suffolk straddles both US 58 and 460. Kudos to Mayor Ashburn and everyone involved in “reeling in” this “big fish”/business.

    Surely — Love’s executives were diligent in their research relative to all factors — including crime statistics– in choosing South St. Undoubtedly — they would have shunned that location if it was in an excessively crime-prone area. A reasonably intelligent person would surmise that Love’s executives did not grow their business into a $multi-billion$ enterprise by being stupid/choosing “bad” locations.

    They also undoubtedly did “drive-bys” of surrounding neighborhoods before making their decision. As smart — intelligent businessmen — probably unhindered by ignorant stereotypes — what they observed while driving down South St. was mostly older — well-kept single family homes — some well-kept multi-family properties — some rundown “shotgun houses” (that should have been demolished many years ago) and several small businesses.

    The executives probably observed clumps of street-corner-ne’er-do-well-thug-druggie-types that one would observe in almost any city/town. However — what the executives did not observe on South St. or in surrounding neighborhoods was a plethora of panhandling-homeless-types who could present potential nuisances at their business.

    The Love’s executives who made the decision to locate on South St. probably travel all over the country tending to their to travel centers and scouting out new locations.

    A reasonably intelligent person should probably put more trust in their perceptions/judgment of a potentially viable — money-making business location than in a bunch of nattering-nabobs-of-negativity safely ensconced in their small-town — small-mind cocoons.

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    • RWH

      To all that, maybe or maybe not.

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    • employee2

      The main thing they are after is the traffic on Hwy 58. There are no major truck stops between Norfolk and Emporia. It is still nice that they are coming here.

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  • Typhoon

    The deadheads have spoken (the mill will never reopen).

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  • FromHere

    I agree, Sedley Sam.

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  • Greg McLemore

    Way to go Franklin, now we have a truck stop coming to South st.

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    • Sedley Sam

      truck stop/south st…..that will call for 20 more policeman, another ER at the hospital, 4 more ambulances and the EMTs to staff them. So instead of 48 new jobs it will be up close to 100!!! Woo Hoo!!!

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