New Kroger fully staffed and closer to opening in Liberty Twp., West Chester location still on hold

After a job fair last weekend, the new Kyles Station Kroger in Liberty Twp. is fully staffed and ready to open later this fall, while the proposed West Chester Twp. Marketplace is still on hold.

Kroger held a job fair last weekend looking to fill all positions for the long-awaited 124,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace. Erin Rolfes, Kroger’s corporate affairs manager, said they have filled all the jobs there but are still seeking employees for other locations.

Kroger doesn’t have a firm opening date but Rolfes said they should have a better idea in a couple weeks.

Liberty Twp. Economic Development Director Caroline McKinney said the opening is good news for the community.

“The new Liberty Kroger on Route 4 has been in the pipeline for awhile so the impending opening is fantastic news for many within our community,” McKinney said. “Throughout the pandemic, the Kroger team and their contractors worked tirelessly to bring this new store online and we’re incredibly thankful.”

The new store will include a fuel center and serve as the anchor for the 56-acre Kyles Station development, located on Ohio 4 at Kyles Station Road. When the new location opens, it will replace a 57,000-square-foot storefront that Kroger started leasing at 5420 Liberty-Fairfield Road in 1998.

The project has had a rocky road up until now. After the township’s zoning board approved some variances for it in 2015, neighbors appealed to common pleas court, but Butler County Judge Greg Stephens sided with Kroger.

Site work started in 2017, but the project remained on the company’s backburner as others were given the green light.

Another new location was headed for Tylersville and Cox roads in West Chester Twp. until it was derailed in August. Regency Centers, Kroger’s landlord at that location, canceled a sales contract with the township to purchase the old Activity Center that would have paved the way for a 117,166-square-foot Marketplace.

Regency had agreed to pay the township $1.8 million for the center on Cox Road. The deal was contingent on Regency being able to sign a lease with Kroger, purchase the adjacent Providence Bible Fellowship church and property from Chesterwood Village.

After the contract was canceled, Ryan Ertel with Regency told the Journal-News the new Kroger might not be off the table forever.

“In view of existing market conditions and challenges specific to this development, we are not able to waive the existing contingencies afforded to us under the terms of the agreement and have elected to terminate the agreement,” Ertel said. “However, we will continue to explore all available options to bring this proposed project to fruition at a later date.”

Rolfes said she did not have an update for that store. Ertel couldn’t be reached for comment.

Trustee Mark Welch told the Journal-News the building is listed for sale on the internet but the township isn’t actively shopping it. He said he still hopes the Kroger deal comes through but they haven’t heard from Ertel.

“It would be such a shame if this thing fell apart like it seems like it is,” Welch said. “The dominoes are falling and it would be a shame.”

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