West Chester responds to $1.8M Kroger offer for activity center

The West Chester Twp. trustees continue to mull a $1.8 million offer from Kroger’s landlord to buy the township’s Activity Center where senior and other programming has been housed for years.

The trustees met in executive session Thursday to discuss the offer that was tendered last Friday. Trustee Board President Mark Welch said no decisions have been made.

“We went through the contract and talked about things we like and didn’t like,” he said. “Like anybody would with any contract, the things you don’t like, you send them back to them.”

Kroger wants to build a giant new marketplace at Tylersville and Cox roads and has offered to pay West Chester Twp. $1.8 million for the senior center property there, but the sale could leave seniors and others without programming.

RELATED: Kroger wants to buy a West Chester activity center for a huge new store. What about the seniors who use it?

West Chester Plaza owners Regency Centers were the only group to submit a proposal for the West Chester Activity Center. The activity center acquisition would allow for a new 95,545-square-foot Kroger, and the grocery giant and retail center owners have even bigger plans to building a 117,166-square-foot Marketplace.

The Regency proposal indicates that to build the Marketplace they would also need to purchase the Providence Bible Fellowship church and property from Chesterwood Village. Church officials declined comment.

Kroger’s landlords attached a five-page addendum to the RFP and one of the provisions allows them to back out of the deal if the purchase of the other property doesn’t materialize.

The proposal also calls for an 18-month due diligence period. When asked, Welch said he doesn’t like that part.

“I think any reasonable person would think 18 months is too long,” Welch said.

Talks have been going on with County Commissioner Don Dixon, whose family owns Hillandale Family Communities — a senior care company with senior living and health care locations throughout the county — to incorporate the senior programming into their expanded Chesterwood Village location on Tylersville Road.

Timing didn’t work out for that to happen so the programming is in limbo.

One resident who takes exercise classes at the center — not just senior programming goes on at the center — said it is a shame because the seniors especially will be impacted.

“I always think about the seniors, people like my handicapped brother-in-law who goes,” she said. “Those folks are going to go by the wayside because once it’s closed, they’re not going to know where to go, what to do, that group of folks and there’s quite a few of them.”

The township has a lease agreement with Community First to run the programming through Dec. 31. There is however a clause in the RFP that notes the township will “use all reasonable efforts to expedite termination of the lease” earlier.

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