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Golden Corral set to return to Loop 281

By Jo Lee Ferguson Special to the News-Journal
Sept. 28, 2013 at 10 p.m.


G<em>olden Corral</em> is coming back to Longview, with an expected opening sometime in late summer or fall 2014.

Longview developer <em>Scott Zhorne</em> said he's signed a long-term lease with Golden Corral for a site next door to <em>Newk's</em>, a restaurant at 110 E. Loop 281. Five houses sit on the planned Golden Corral site. Zhorne said he's been purchasing houses in that neighborhood for 25 years and owns 24 of them, all the way to Airline Drive. He expects to start demolishing the five houses on the Golden Corral site about Nov. 1.

Golden Corral closed in Longview more than a decade ago, after operating in what is now the <em>China King Buffet and Sushi Bar</em> at 440 W. Loop 281.

Zhorne said Golden Corral was owned by franchisees last time it was in Longview. The new restaurant will be a corporate store.

"This will be a huge distinction from what was here in the past," he said.

Dick Chase, Golden Corral's vice president of development, said the restaurant would be 8,000 square feet with more than 300 seats. It will feature all Golden Corral products, including a chocolate fountain, cotton candy and all-you-can-eat steaks on the buffet. The interior will not look like the earlier Longview store.

"Longview's grown a whole lot," Chase said. "Certainly the expansion of the loop there to fix lanes in that part of the market is a plus because it's increased traffic, and we really like the retail shopping area. We think that's an attractive area for people to come to to make up their mind about where they want to eat."

He expects construction to start in March and be finished four or five months later.

<h3>Hotel changes owners</h3>

The new owners of <em>Baymont Inn and Suites</em>, 502 S. Access Road, don't plan any changes.

Neal Patel is one of several partners who purchased the property in August under the name Longview LAXMI. The sale price was not disclosed.

It is the first hotel the partnership owns so far, Patel said. LaQuinta previously operated the Baymont.

<h3>Cellphone help</h3>

Cell Phone Repair Solutions opened Sept. 5 at 301 E. Marshall Ave., at the corner of Green Street.

Manager <em>Jose Ibarra</em> said the family who owns the business has similar businesses in Longview, but he declined to name the family. County and state records show <em>Almas Z. Shaikh</em> is one of the principals.

The business fixes all types of cell- phones and sells cellphone accessories and prepaid service, Ibarra said. It also buys, trades and sells phones. People also may bring in their phones with which to activate prepaid service.

The store is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

<h3>Amberwood progress</h3>

Leasing is expected to begin late this fall at the new <em>Amberwood Place Apartments</em>, at 411 W. Hawkins Parkway, at the northwest corner of McCann Road and Hawkins Parkway. Residents would be able to move in around the beginning of the year, according to <em>Megan DeLuna</em>, representative of the firm building the affordable housing apartment complex.

"We like to refer to it as workforce housing," she said. "It's people who are working to make a better life but their income is less than the area median."

Renters will pay less than market rates for the apartment if they meet income guidelines and pass a stringent criminal background check and credit check, she said.

Amberwood consists of 78 units in five buildings, with Energy Star appliances, a clubhouse and pool, fitness center, cyber lounge, covered children's playground, barbecue and grilling stations and full-size washers and dryers. All but 10 of the 78 units are reserved for affordable housing units. The property features 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments, with rents ranging from $317 to $982, depending on the number of bedrooms and a renter's income.

Construction on the project started earlier this year, with financial support from the city of Longview and from tax credits provided by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

<em>- If you have items for Business Beat, email to newstip@news-journal.com; mail to Business Section, Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606; or call (903) 237-7744.</em>

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