Mex­i­can res­tau­rant com­ing to Cov­ing­ton

Sher­iff ’s of­fice de­mol­ishes for­mer work re­lease build­ing

The Covington News - - Front page - By Gabriel Khouli ghouli@cov­news.com

With the new year comes some new de­vel­op­ments, a new Mex­i­can res­tau­rant, and some old ru­mors, there’s still no move­ment at the old Wal­mart in Martin’s Cross­ing.

Bur­rito Loco, a tex-mex res­tau­rant, signed a lease for the for­mer Luigi’s Pizza lo­ca­tion in The Ex­change re­tail cen­ter, said prop­erty owner Sam B. Hay III. The res­tau­rant is ex­pected to open in mid to late Fe­bru­ary, and the own­ers have ap­plied for an al­co­hol li­cense.

Hay said the res­tau­rant is owned by Chris and Stephanie John­son, the same cou­ple that op­er­ates the Mad Cac­tus in Cony­ers. Hay said the cou­ple has been look­ing to lo­cate on U.S. High­way 278 for a while.

No other deals have been made, but Hay said busi­ness ac­tiv­ity ap­peared to be slightly up in 2011.

Ru­mors about the old Wal­mart next to In­gles are noth­ing new, and Tom Sol­ley, Sun­belco’s prop­erty man­ager for the re­tail com­plex, said there is noth­ing to the lat­est ru­mors. Al­though ne­go­ti­a­tions with In­gles have been go­ing on for more than four years, no break­throughs have oc­curred.

Sol­ley said he hoped that since space around the new Wal­mart lo­ca­tion was be­gin­ning to fill up, busi­nesses might be­gin mov­ing their in­ter­ests south again to­ward U.S. 278.

There is also noth­ing to re­port at the in­ter­sec­tion of Ge­or­gia high­ways 20 and 212, at the re­tail lo­ca­tion across the street from the Kroger. Con­struc­tion has been tak­ing place, but prop­erty owner Rick Car­pen­ter, owner of At­lanta-based Glen­ridge Devel­op­ment, said the com­pany was sim­ply putting in a curb cut and de­mol­ish­ing some houses that had been pre­vi­ously dam­aged in a fire.

How­ever, Car­pen­ter said the in­ter­sec­tion is much im­proved fol­low­ing the ad­di­tion of a traf­fic sig­nal in late 2009. He said he ex­pects the area to de­velop well with the an­chor stores of Kroger and CVS. The prop­erty was re­zoned in Novem­ber 2007, and at the time Glen­ridge expressed a de­sire to build a driv­ethru res­tau­rant or a 15,000 square foot re­tail es­tab­lish­ment at the 5369 Ga. High­way 20 lo­ca­tion.

Res­i­dents may also have no­ticed a de­mo­li­tion project next to Cov­ing­ton City Hall on Stallings Street.

The Newton County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice for­mer work re­lease pro­gram build­ing was de­mol­ished be­cause it had be­come di­lap­i­dated and an eye­sore to the com­mu­nity, Sher­iff Ezell Brown said Fri­day. The build­ing had also been dam­aged by a ro­dent in­fes­ta­tion. The de­mo­li­tion work was per­formed by the county’s pub­lic works depart­ment, said pub­lic works di­rec­tor Robert Grif­fith.

The brick build­ing next to the de­mol­ished site is cur­rently a sher­iff ’s of­fice an­nex of­fice. It used to be the jail, Brown said.

The de­mol­ished build­ing had also been used for stor­age but had been va­cant for the last seven or eight years, Brown said. The land where the build­ing used to stand will sim­ply be used for park­ing, he said.

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