Giant West Chester Kroger Marketplace approved with conditions

Years in the making, developers ‘worked everything out,’ township official says.



Some thought this day might never come, but the long-awaited giant Kroger Marketplace has final trustee approval for the corner of Tylersville and Cox roads in West Chester Twp. with conditions requested by worried neighbors.

Had the original plan come to fruition in 2019, the store would be spending its first birthday at that location this year. Then a devastating pandemic descended and things went awry. Kroger officials aren’t giving a grand opening date yet, but they have the township trustees’ blessing to proceed with plans to build a 122,910-square-foot store.

“We are proud to be part of the West Chester Twp. community and are grateful of the support of the township trustees as we continue to provide a full, fresh and friendly shopping experience,” a Kroger spokesperson said. “We are not ready to share an anticipated grand opening date at this time, as we know construction timelines shift due to impacts from weather and other factors.”

The new store will feature 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.

Officials told the Journal-News previously there will be some new-to-market establishments and “a nice line-up of dining, restaurants, service providers and other daily needs operators,” in the out-lot buildings.

Traffic, dumpster and delivery noise, bright lights, drainage and at least a couple years of construction headaches for neighbors were among the chief concerns voiced recently. The giant grocer needed the township’s consent on a zoning map amendment to proceed with plans to build a Kroger store and fuel center and 24,000 square-feet of new retail shops — in two buildings — along Tylersville Road.

As part of the approval Kroger has agreed to conditions to address concerns:

  • A sound-absorbing screening wall has been added to the landscape mound near the loading docks.
  • Trash compaction and collection can only occur between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • A circulating fountain has been added to detention pond.
  • A plan to mitigate noise during construction will be provided to the township zoning commission.

Final development plans will be worked out with the zoning commission.

Trustee Mark Welch told the Journal-News he is happy Kroger and their landlord Regency Centers have been sympathetic to neighbors’ issues.

“They crossed their t’s and dotted their i’s; they worked everything out. I think they’ve got the people behind Kroger pretty much satisfied,” Welch said. “They worked the deal out with the gentleman who owns the apartments across the street, the traffic signal is going to go in. They seem to be pretty genuine about how they went about this and were concerned about all those people that might be affected by the development.”

Plans call for adding lanes on Cox Road, three entrance points and other improvements including a new traffic light at the main entrance. During peak hours bottlenecks occur at the tricky intersection of Cox and Kingsgate and a new roundabout is planned for that location.

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens has applied for a $813,639 Ohio Public Works Commission grant to construct a new roundabout there. If Wilkens gets the grant money, his department will chip in $340,548 and the West Chester trustees have approved a $25,000 contribution to the $1.18 million traffic circle.

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 store in 2019. The township and Kroger finally closed on the $1.9 million sale in April.

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 purchase offers from Dr. Mohamed Aziz, who wanted it for a medical clinic, an Illinois company who wanted to open a Montessori School, and a family that wanted to create an event center.

Plans for using the sale proceeds are fluid, but Trustee Ann Becker said she wants the funds to stay in that area.

“We’re looking at a couple different things for our budget, but I’m focused on keeping that money on the east side of our community,” Becker said. “Our Pisgah area, our Keehner Park area doesn’t get as much attention as our Beckett Ridge side of town does, so we’re working through a couple different options.

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. The lease agreement with Kroger also needed to be sealed.

Ryan Ertel, who has been brokering the deal for Kroger and Regency Centers since the beginning, told the Journal-News previously 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.

Trustee Lee Wong told the Journal-News it took a while but the outcome is worth it.

“It took so long, we kept extending and extending, I’m so glad it happened finally,” Wong said. “Four long years and it finally came to fruition, and the neighborhood there, they agree it was a good project. Sometimes it’s best to let it shake out for the best solution.”

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