MUSCLE SHOALS — Mayor David Bradford is pleased with the amount of construction going on in the city these days, from the first Dunkin' Donuts in the Shoals to a new warehouse at North American Lighting.
Much of the construction is happening on Avalon Avenue from the new medical office complex near City Hall to a second location of Florence's 306 Barbecue across from Southgate Mall.
"Retail and commercial is what drives things," Bradford said. "My thing is, if people have jobs, everybody benefits."
According to Building Official Tandy Crosswhite, contractors are constructing a new branch of First Metro Bank on Avalon Avenue in a building that will also house a new location for Singing River Dentistry.
Singing River Dentistry is currently located on Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals.
Jimmy Gardiner, of Singing River Dentistry, said he is leasing space in the First Metro Building.
"We'll be a tenant," Gardiner said. "We're really excited about our partnership with them."
He said the new building will give the practice an opportunity to add new equipment and technology, and accommodate more patients.
He also likes the proximity to a new medical office complex being built next door by a group of doctors.
Crosswhite said a stone building that currently houses a medical complex will be demolished.
"They're coming out of there and moving into the new building," he said.
At the western end of Avalon Avenue, 306 Barbecue is building a new restaurant in an existing building that will also include a Smokin' Jalapenos , a Tex-Mex style restaurant, and an upstairs nightclub and event space.
The restaurants will be located in the Tudor-style building at the corner of Avalon Avenue and Broadway Street.
The two restaurants will share a common courtyard and seating area. The second story will feature Birdy's Sports Grill, which will have a variety of games, including old style shuffleboard and two multi-sports simulators. It will also have a large event space.
Darren Rhodes, one of the partners in Southern Hospitality, said this will be the second 306 Barbecue restaurant in the Shoals. Southern Hospitality also has a location in Athens, and it owns the Stricklin Hotel, Big Bad Breakfast and Taziki's.
Rhodes said the owners hope to capitalize on the lack of restaurants in Colbert County. They also hope to draw the Franklin County market that frequently drives to the Shoals to dine out.
The upstairs event space could open by Christmas, but the restaurants probably won't open until January.
Easter Seals of Northwest Alabama is also building a new headquarters behind its existing building at 1450 Avalon Ave.
North American Lighting has broken ground for a 100,000 square-foot distribution warehouse in Muscle Shoals Research Air Park on Sixth Street. Bradford said the company will be adding 110 to 115 jobs along with the expansion.
"They're just now digging the footings," Crosswhite said.
Bradford American Paper and Twine Co., which purchased locally owned Paper and Chemical Supply in 2015, is also building a distribution warehouse in the Research Air Park.
At the intersection of Avalon Avenue and Woodward Avenue, Listerhill Credit Union is building a new branch where the old "round bank building" has been since the late 1960s.
Bradford said Yummies Bakery, which has a store in Florence, is locating near the Southern Barbecue restaurant on Wilson Dam Road. The bakery is renovating the old New Orleans Transfer building.
There is also a new "strip mall" type complex that is being completed on Sixth Street across the street from the Cypress Lakes Golf and Tennis Complex. Bradford said there are five suites in the complex, and one houses a diabetes and wellness clinic.
"It's a very nice building," Bradford said. "They just completed it last month."
Bradford said the city experiences construction booms like this at different times.
"We've been fortunate," he said. "Anytime we can get a new business, or fill a vacant building, it's good for the whole area."