ASHLAND, Ky. — Anticipation of a new Toyota dealership in east Ashland is stoking development plans in the area, city officials said.

The dealership’s co-owner, Mike Ayres, said Toyota of Ashland is now scheduled for a spring opening. Weather has pushed back the target date for opening by a couple of months.

“We had hoped for February but now we’re looking at April,” said Ayres. Bad weather slowed some early steps in the construction, he said.

The 30,000-square-foot building is under roof and workers are pouring floors and doing other tasks now, he said.

The steel-beam framework has risen over the past couple of months in the 3500 block of Winchester Avenue, just south of the intersection with Greenup Avenue.

The dealership is on the site of what once was Hecks Department Store.

Plans remain to hire most employees locally and the number of applications has been “overwhelming” for the 50 jobs to be filled initially. Interviews will begin sometime in the coming two months, Ayres said.

The project is already changing the development landscape in the area, Mayor Steve Gilmore said.

“We’re already talking about it with a couple of parties interested in property across the road and up the hill and down the road, simply because that Toyota dealership in going in there,” the mayor said.