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National, regional chains lining up in Covington Town Center
Restaurants, service providers opening, planning locations in multi-use development
Covington Town Center
A recent aerial photo facing south shows the developing Town Center project, including The Cove apartment complex and Residence Inn in the upper part of the photo and Alcovy Road on the left. (Special | AT&T)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Area residents and visitors will encounter a wide variety of dining options — as well as services — in the rapidly developing Covington Town Center complex.

Panda Express opened recently as the first restaurant to operate along the half-mile strip of outparcels fronting Alcovy Road in the multi-use development.

Eight other restaurant companies have closed deals to open locations in the same area, said Harry Kitchen of South Carolina-based master developer The Foxfield Co.

The restaurants include:

• Whataburger;

• Jim 'N Nick's Community Bar-B-Q;

• Zaxby’s;

• Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers;

• Dunkin Donuts.

• Arby’s;

• Huey Magoo's Chicken Tenders;

• Amici;

Aqua Blue Carwash will operate on the southernmost outparcel while Heartland Dental will open along the same stretch fronting Alcovy Road near I-20.

In addition, The Foxfield Co. is hoping to add two more nationally known companies to the mix in coming weeks, Kitchen said.  

He said Foxfield is developing something others in Metro Atlanta are trying to achieve — a true “live-work-play” development that is filled with “best in class” companies in the lodging, housing and retail industries.  

“What makes it unique is the mix of tenants that we have,” Kitchen said. “It is a one of a kind project.”

At buildout, the area around I-20 and Alcovy Road will see more than 34,000 vehicle trips per day to Covington Town Center, Kitchen said.

Kitchen estimated about 1,800 jobs will be created amid its final development cost of $350 million.

The 180-acre, mixed-use project is bounded by Alcovy and City Pond roads, Georgia Hwy. 142, the Nisshinbo Automotive Manufacturing plant and Covington Airport. 

Some previously planned businesses have begun to open. Anchor retailer Publix supermarket recently cut the ribbon on its store. Others have included Batteries Plus, Metro Brokers real estate office, and Avalon Nails. 

SportsClips also is among other planned retailers and service companies in the Publix-anchored retail center. 

The first of three hotels, Residence Inn by Marriott, recently opened. Construction has begun on Courtyard by Marriott. Staybridge Suites also is planned.

A 350-unit apartment complex, The Cove at Covington Town Center, is operating on 26 acres and an additional 267 townhomes are planned. 

Zoning changes approved by Covington City Council allowed the Town Center's residential space to have up to 625 units. 

More than four miles of sidewalks and walking trails are slated to be available for residents and visitors to access shopping and other amenities, he said. About 29 acres of common area will feature natural woodland and lakes.

Foxfield had originally planned office space in the area and considered a movie theater, as well. But the developer added more residential uses after demand subsided for office space and public movie-going in the midst of the pandemic.

Kitchen said Foxfield bought the site in 2016 and has been actively planning and developing the project for more than five years since mid-2017. 

Foxfield moved just under 1 million yards of dirt, including 160,000 yards of rock, in completing the grading for the previously undeveloped site, Kitchen said.

The city of Covington, meanwhile, spent more than $1 million on such infrastructure as gas mains and lighting for the project by early 2020. Covington City Council also voted in early 2020 to waive $1 million in permitting costs and water and sewer tap fees along with $456,000 electric infrastructure costs to spur construction of the complex. The complex already has spawned additional nearby development unrelated to Covington Town Center, including a 395-unit apartment complex on City Pond Road. 

Developer Emory Equity LLC is the developer and said the 39-acre complex would connect via roadways, sidewalks and trails to Covington Town Center.

AT&T and Foxfield also recently announced that AT&T Fiber will be made available to residents and businesses in the area.

Caleb Deerinwater of AT&T said high speed internet “is the foundation on which most of our day-to-day activities rely on, like working from home, remote learning, shopping online and social networking.”

Kitchen said AT&T’s fiber service “will give our commercial and residential tenants the connectivity they desire.”

Panda Express
Vehicles wait at the drive-through window at Panda Express on Alcovy Road in the Covington Town Center. (Tom Spigolon | The News)