Former Hooters tenants pay back rent

ALBANY, Ga. -- The landlord for the building that the now closed Hooters restaurant occupied says his former tenants have closed up shop, but not before paying owed back rent.

The Hooters on Old Dawson Road has officially closed. The sign was removed Monday. The signature wings and tank tops are no more.

Joe Watkins -- one of five investors who own the property -- is optimistic that the right tenant will come.

"We're in good shape," Watkins said. "We're in no rush to get someone in there. We're going to take our time and make sure to get the right tenant."

Watkins filed a dispossessory action against the parent company of the tenants last week on behalf of his investors group, Lake Worth Properties. In the court papers, Watkins contended the tenants failed to pay rent for December and January and had not spoken about extending their lease, which ended Jan. 31.

Watkins said the ex-tenants paid what they owed him in rent, but may still owe local governments taxes on the property.

According to Dougherty County Tax records, the group's parent company, WOA LLC, owes $2,823.39 in property taxes on the inventory and equipment in the business for the 2010 tax year and will owe an additional amount in taxes for 2011, since it was in operation more than month into the year.

While the 10-year Hooters era is now over at that location, Watkins said that he's already receiving inquiries on the property.