A couple of restaurants will be the first tenants to open in the new East Bend shopping center this fall.

Panda Express and Chipotle, side-by side on the Turner McCall Boulevard frontage, are both basically dried in — to the point that work can focus on exterior detail and all of the interior necessities.

Rome-Floyd County Building Inspection Chief James Martin said representatives with Texas Roadhouse have picked up their permits. Bob Ledbetter Jr. of R.H. Ledbetter Properties said he expects to see work on Texas Roadhouse start to come out of the ground by the middle of the month.

Texas Roadhouse will be tucked right into the corner of the shopping center at the Hicks Drive entrance. Panda Express is located closer to the railroad bridge.

A McAlister’s Deli will be located between Panda Express and the first of two small strip retail buildings.

The strip buildings could be ready for occupancy by late this fall, Ledbetter said. The developer expects to be able to release the names of some tenants in those smaller shops later this summer.

Documents filed with the Rome-Floyd County Building Inspection Department indicate that a Wing Stop Express would be one of the tenants in the strip behind Panda Express.

Both Old Navy and Five Below — a specialty discount store chain — appear likely to have openings sometime in the spring of next year.

They are two of the three anchor tenants. Work on those buildings is underway at the back side of the property. Two other buildings that will house a series of smaller shops are also at various stages of construction closer to the railroad tracks.

“Right now what we understand is that (Five Below and Old Navy) are shooting for a March opening,” Ledbetter said.

He is still waiting to hear from officials with Kohl’s regarding their plans for the third anchor space, between Five Below and Old Navy.

“If they miss March, we’re hoping they make it next October. But it will probably be sometime (next month) before they make that call,” Ledbetter said.

When the East Bend shopping center is complete, it will feature approximately 110,000 square feet of retail space and is expected to generate close to 400 new jobs.

The Ledbetters have said from the outset that they wanted to bring retailers to Rome who were not already in the market.

The city is providing the developers with a Tax Allocation District financial incentive package of approximately $1.9 million spread out over 15 years.

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