Nick Koglin, vice president and market officer for Kroger’s landlord Regency Centers said they are excited to finally be moving forward “it will be great after all the years of this project sort of starting and stopping.”
“It is a really great opportunity, clearly the community has outgrown the existing Kroger and this is one of those things we’re going to be able to bring an impressive new amenity to the community,” Koglin said. “A nice line-up of dining, restaurants, service providers and other daily needs operators.”
He said he couldn’t provide any more details until the plans are presented to the township zoning commission on Monday. Kroger could not be reached for comment on when the new store might open.
A submission to the township’s planning department sheds a bit more light on what the new store will feature, including 16 online shopping pick-up spaces and two drive-thru pharmacy lanes. It will be done in the most current color scheme of shades of gray with blue accents.
“The new store will offer expanded offerings in many departments including produce, deli, meats etc. Murray’s Cheese and Starbucks will be included in the store along with the offering of apparel and a kitchen place,” the description reads.
Koglin said they are still “working out” what to do with the existing establishments at the center.
Township Planner Tim Dawson said they are redeveloping the entire site and the township hopes they’ll re-sign current tenants.
“They’re going to try to keep the Kroger open as long as possible during that first phase of redevelopment,” Dawson said. “They’re going to try to re-sign those tenants into the new buildings. Then they’ll demo the Kroger building and the new one sets back a little further than the current one and it’s a larger footprint for the Marketplace.”
According to the drawings the two retail buildings and fuel center will be on the frontage along Tylersville Road and there will be a total of 777 — 491 are required — parking spaces.
It’s been a rough road getting here
The plan has been on-again, off-again for four years, ever since Regency offered to buy the old Activity Center on Cox Road for a new grocery store in 2019. The township and Kroger closed on the $1.9 million sale in April.
Trustee Ann Becker told the Journal-News they are still discussing how to spend the proceeds of the sales. She is happy the actual project is getting off the ground.
“I’m glad Kroger is staying in that location, we won’t have an empty big box store spot in the township, they’re just going to reuse the spot they have and expand on it,” Becker said. “So that will be beneficial, no one likes to see big empty box stores.”
The trustees agreed for a second time to sell the old Activity Center to the giant grocer in December 2022. In between Kroger’s initial $1.8 million offer and closing the deal, the township received two purchase offers from Dr. Mohamed Aziz who wanted it for a medical clinic, an Illinois company who wanted to open a Montessori School, a family that wanted to create an event center.
The marketplace project was contingent on Regency Centers being able to acquire the Activity Center, the Providence Bible Fellowship church, a sliver from Chesterwood Village and easements and agreements with about 10 other property owners to complete the complicated deal.
Ryan Ertel, who has been brokering the deal for Kroger and Regency Centers since the beginning, said he has a sales agreement with the church and they will close after the planning and permitting phase is complete. There is a contract with the Dixon family that retained the Chesterwood Village piece when they sold their business last year.
In the beginning officials said redeveloping the 33-year-old store site would triple property values and increase the tax bill from $169,000 to more than $500,000 annually and double the plaza footprint to about 20 acres. The new plans call for 29.4 acres with 10.4 acres open space to start and about half that reserved for future development.
According to the Butler County auditor’s website, the Regency Center plaza is valued at $7 million and generates $167,448 in property tax. The township’s cut is $39,133.
By the numbers: New Kroger Marketplace
New store: 122,910 square feet
Frontage retail: 24,292 square feet in to buildings
Parking: 777 spaces
Acreage: 29.4 acres with about 5 acres for future development south of Kroger