Milford Runza

Milford’s newest restaurant has “arrived.”

The Runza Restaurant will be just south of the overpass on Highway 6, between First and Second streets. It is expected to open in mid to late September.

The pre-manufactured building arrived on a truck Aug. 29 and was set on its foundation with a crane—a process that took about four hours.

“We’re excited about it,” Dan Rudolph, project manager with Runza National, said.

Rudolph said the restaurant will have a drive-up window on one side and a walk-up window on the other with patio seating. 

The building was designed with the possibility of adding a dining room in the future if business is successful enough to support the expansion.

According to Renee Sjulin, vice president of Runza National, this is the first “drive-thru only” restaurant Runza has tried in a community this size and where it’s the only location in the city.

Sjulin is the daughter of the late Donald Everett Sr., who founded Runza Restaurants in 1966 using his mother’s recipe. He also opened the Corner Cafe (now Cafe on the Square) in Seward.

Sjulin was in Milford Thursday along with her mother, Donald’s wife Sandra Everett, to watch as the building was placed. 

Rudolph said this is the first time Runza has tried placing a pre-constructed building on a foundation instead of building from the ground up on-site.

The building measures approximately 46 feet by 16 feet. Electric, water and sewer utilities also were run to the site last week.

The business will create 15 full- and part-time jobs. It is one of more than 80 Runza locations in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Colorado.

The restaurant is being partially funded by tax increment financing through the City of Milford.

The Milford City Council approved Runza National’s TIF application in late December—the first TIF agreement the city has made.

Tax increment financing is a revitalization tool available to cities and villages under state law. It allows the city to offer tax incentives for companies to revitalize blighted or substandard areas.

The TIF funds helped Runza purchase the land, which was in a designated blighted area.

The land cost Runza $100,000, but the city provided a TIF note of only $37,800. Runza is paying the rest of the costs associated with the land and all other project costs, estimated to total around $550,000.

As part of TIF, Runza will use a portion of the property tax money it would owe the city to instead make improvements to the blighted area. It will pay roughly $3,700 in taxes each year for 15 years.

At the end of the 15-year TIF period, Runza will begin paying the full amount in taxes, depending on its assessed valuation.

Andrew Willis, an attorney with Cline Williams of Lincoln who specializes in TIF law, said the improvements are expected to ultimately increase the area’s assessed valuation from its pre-project $41,600 value to $240,650, adding around $199,000 in valuation to the city’s tax roll.

Runza also applied for $16,000 in Economic Development (LB 840) funds, which the council approved in January.

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