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Mexican restaurant coming to Covington
Sheriffs office demolishes former work release building
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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, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 278 and Emory Street, 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. 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 drive-thru 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.