Kroger plans new store at Austin Landing

The 99,000-square-foot grocery is latest project set for Austin Landing.



MIAMI TWP., Montgomery County — The Kroger Co. plans to build a 99,000-square-foot store with a fueling station at Austin Landing, the mixed-use development east of the new Interstate 75 interchange along the Warren-Montgomery county border.

On Tuesday, the Miami Twp. Zoning Commission is expected to consider a final plan for the development, including a drive- through pharmacy, landscaping and lighting, on land at the northeast corner of Austin Landing, off a new interior road, Innovation Drive.

“The major issues have been fairly well settled,” said Chris Snyder, assistant planning director for Miami Twp. “We’re still working with them on some design issues.”

If approved by the zoning commission, the plan would likely be up for final approval by the township trustees Feb. 28.

The Kroger plan is the latest unveiled at the $130 million Austin Landing, just east of the I-75 interchange.

Austin Landing is already home to a Kohl’s department store, an office building housing several businesses, including the developer RG Properties, and the Teradata headquarters.

Also under construction are a third office building, south of the existing four-story building, and a Hilton Garden Inn, just east of Teradata.

Eventually, RG Properties plans to add a village offering retail, restaurants and residences, a cinema and an ice rink-community area.

The Kroger store would be about seven miles west of a site at Ohio 48 and Ohio 73 in Clearcreek Twp., where the company won approval for a $13 million supermarket, fuel center and strip center shopping center that was never built.

Kroger built a new store — almost 50,000 square feet larger than the one proposed at Austin Landing — five miles north on Ohio 48 in Centerville.

The Austin Landing store would also be less than two miles north of the newest Dorothy Lane Market, on Main Street (Ohio 741) in Springboro.

“A new store so near one of our stores will take some of our business, but that’s the nature of the grocery industry,” said Norman Mayne, owner of the three-store DLM chain. “You just cut the pie into smaller pieces, and you have to deal with the new reality.”

Dorothy Lane Market’s other stores in Oakwood and Washington Twp. have faced new competition from several fronts through the years, from Kroger, Meijer, Trader Joe’s and Earth Fare. “We’re still here,” Mayne said.

The Austin Landing Kroger would also be about four miles north of a Kroger on Central Avenue (Ohio 73) in Springboro. Kroger has no plans to close any area stores, said Rachel Betzler, a spokesperson for Kroger.

Betzler pointed to three Dayton-area stores on Whipp Road, Stroop Road and in Sugarcreek Twp., as another example of several Krogers co-existing in one area.

Kroger declined to provide details about the Austin Landing plan, pending approval.

“It is a project we are very interested in,” Betzler said. “We’re very interested in the project and getting it finalized.”

Kroger already has about 110 stores in the Cincinnati-Dayton area, including northern Kentucky and eastern Indiana. Kroger also has about 100 stores in the Columbus market, Betzler said.

“We’re constantly looking at areas where there is growth and there is need,” she said.

Proximity to competitors was less of a consideration, due to availability of pharmacies and fuel centers at Kroger stores, Betzler said.

“There’s a lot more convenience with Kroger than any of the competitors in the area,” she said.

Kroger is probably preparing for competition from Walmart Neighborhood Markets, the latest store innovation by Walmart, according to analyst David Livingston.

Walmart is currently developing about 60 stores, from superstores to the new smaller markets in a three-state area including Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Milwaukee, Livingston said.

“You’re probably going to have Walmart make another pass through the area,” Livingston said. “I’m sure (Kroger) wants to get a strong foothold before the next wave of competition.”

Livingston also predicted older Kroger stores, such as the one in Springboro, could be closed in coming years.

“The business has got to come from somewhere. Some of it has got to come from themselves.” Livingston said.“Kroger is positioning themselves for 2012, rather than 1992.”

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