There is one large “anchor” commercial development eyeing Union as a possible location to open shop.

Community Development Director Joseph Graves said a major retailer had been looking to locate in Union until the recession. He said that representatives of that commercial development are again looking at a site in Union.

“We were very close before the recession in obtaining a large commercial development,” Graves said. “Last year we were also very close to obtaining the same large commercial development.”

Graves did not name the retail developer.

He added that talks have resumed now that the economy is gaining strength and home permits are on the rise in Union.

Graves explained that figures reported in October showed that there had been 125 single-family dwelling permits for the year, which is much higher than the same time period in 2012.

“Not only past population growth but our projected population growth makes it very attractive for commercial development to locate here,” said Graves.

He further explained that if the retail development does build in Union, the store would attract other businesses.

“It would be an anchor of a larger development,” Graves said. “There would be out lots and other businesses because of the anchor.”

While there are positive signs for a new development, Graves noted that luring large retailers takes time.

“It’s going to be a slow process,” he said.


Graves said that developers still look at 2010 census figures when looking at communities to build in.

Union grew 31.5 percent from 2000 to 2010, starting the new millennium at 7,757 and growing to 10,204 in only a decade.

He added that East Central College has had a record number of students over the past few years.

Union also attracts about 2,500 people every day because it is the county seat, and housing city government in the downtown area the city.