Rio Grande coming to I-77 area

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — A new business, a Mexican steakhouse, will locate on land formerly owned by Carroll County near the U.S. 58 and Interstate 77 interchange, the Carroll Industrial Development Authority learned Monday.

Developer Marshall Lineberry gave the IDA members an update on the shops at the Southwest Virginia Farmers Market that he continues to build there, and he threw in the information about the new Rio Grande that will go in on the east side of the interstate.

Lineberry bought that property from the IDA and has since built an office building there that serves as a United Country real estate location.

Lineberry has a new contract for the remainder of that land to become the home of a Rio Grande restaurant.

He gave credit to the Virginia Department of Transportation's Bob Beasley and Will Dotson for making a commercial entrance work out there, where a coffee kiosk used to be.

"What we're going to have here in the near future, within the next 12 months, is another million-dollar building sitting up there," Lineberry said.

The restaurant will employ up to 25 people at $9 an hour, he added.

Lineberry held off an announcement until he knew the restaurant could use that entrance.

The owners of the new Rio Grande also have 18 other restaurants and are affiliated with 30 more on the East Coast, Lineberry said. If this one works, then another one will go on other property Lineberry has in Fort Chiswell.

The new Rio Grande owner, Andrew Auquire, will make a more formal announcement of their business later, Lineberry said.

"It's top of the line," he said. "It's really going to be an eye-catcher to bring in people off that interstate."

Building the shops at the farmers' market continues to go well, despite all the rain that fell this spring, Lineberry said. "The Village Market is going well," he said. "We're ahead of schedule as far as I'm concerned — we've worked against the rain and other elements..."

His workers are now waiting for Sowers Construction to finish up its portion of grading on the parking lot, so the parking for the shops can be tied in smoothly, Lineberry said.

There's a sidewalk to pour outside of the shops, and then Lineberry will get the framing done for the restrooms he agreed to supply to visitors to the farmers' market — part of the deal for him to buy the land there.

Everything is there waiting to be installed, Lineberry said. Three-phase power is going in, sewer's in, and the water's next.

"We're hoping within the next 60 days to be finished, give or take a few days, and open for business," he said. "We've had numerous phone calls, people wanting to lease space from 500 square feet up to 1,500 square feet."

Lineberry felt that the new entrance going into the retail side of the farmers market will be a boon for the place.

County Administrator Gary Larrowe gave credit for the parking lot changes to Farmers' Market Manager Kevin Semones. It's meant to make traffic flow better at the retail building.

"Maybe it won't so congested," Larrowe said. "It's very easy to have more than 500 cars a day there."

Lineberry said he appreciated the county officials' patience with his project there. "I mean, it's rained or snowed every week since last October. We're just glad to have it under roof, we should be finished up here very shortly."

The shops at the farmers' market were designed to make that location, already home to the Blue Ridge Plateau Visitors' Center, even more attractive to travelers and tourists by putting arts and crafts and other retail businesses of interest as well as restrooms to draw people in.