The Kroger Co. has unveiled plans for a new, smaller-format store in Downtown Cincinnati, a $19-million development that will be the area’s first grocery store four decades.
Working with the City of Cincinnati, North American Properties, NorthPointe Group and Rookwood Properties, Kroger is adding the store as part of a $90.5 million, 18-story mixed-use development that will also include a 555-space parking garage and 139 market-rate apartments. It is a relocation of its Vine Street store, less than half a mile from the newly proposed site, which will continue to operate until the new store, to be at the corner of Court and Walnut Streets is completed.
At 45,000 square feet, the new store will be twice the size of Kroger’s Vine Street location, offering fresh food and traditional grocery items at low prices that residents of Cincinnati’s Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and West End neighborhoods – currently enjoy. In addition, more fresh prepared meals and a greater variety of products will be available for shoppers. As will a second-floor area with a bar and food hall, which will feature several local vendors and restaurant-style seating alongside the beer and wine section.
The City of Cincinnati will contribute an $8.5 million grant to the project, with $6.5 million being used for the construction of the garage and $2 million going toward the residential portion of the project. Approximately $2.5 million in federal and state new markets tax credit equity will also be utilized, but solely to fund construction of the grocery store.
An estimated 52,000 square feet of vacant street-level commercial space and 190,000 square feet of vacant land currently exist within two blocks of the project site, and for several years, the lack of accessible transient parking has limited commercial activity in the area. The new development will serve as a catalyst to the Court Street corridor, which had been considered a “dead zone” before recent efforts to activate the area, ultimately connecting the central business district to Over-the-Rhine.
By increasing the number of parking spaces in the area and adding a strong anchor tenant, Kroger and its associates are hoping to increase pedestrian activity, helping restaurants and retailers in the area to thrive. They also plan for the new development to bring many new jobs to the area, including approximately 160 permanent positions at the grocery store, and 1,200 temporary construction jobs. As part of the relocation, all 60 associates at the Vine Street store will be offered employment at the new location or other Cincinnati-area stores.
Construction on the new mixed-use development will commence this summer, with Turner Construction serving as the general contractor on the project, and GBBN as the architect. Completion is slated for mid-2019.
Cincinnati-based Kroger employs 443,000 associates across 2,796 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and Washington, D.C.