Kroger Marketplace to be Primary Tenant at Turnpike Location
Final plans are underway for the construction of a new Kroger Oak Ridge Marketplace store. The store will be located on the corner of the Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. Homes located on the future shopping center site have been placed under contract by Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial officials working with Betsy Coleman Realty Co. of Oak Ridge. Officials will be bringing the site plan and proposal to the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission for rezoning consideration by close of business September 10. City officials anticipate that the Planning Commission will consider the proposal at their September 28 meeting, and if approved, their recommendation will be sent on to the Oak Ridge City Council. The announcement was made through the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.
The new 113,000-square foot store will provide Oak Ridge with a unique and interactive shopping experience, designed to be a convenient and inviting addition to the community. Kroger customers will be able to dine-in or take-out prepared meals from a Bistro - an in-store, café-style restaurant - or order fresh sushi from professional chefs at the sushi bar.
The store will also feature a larger health and beauty section, broader selec¬tions of perishable and grocery items, full-service meat and seafood departments.
Kroger's Marketplace will also offer products not typical of a traditional Kroger-including jewelry, bed and bath items, decorative goods, office and school supplies, furniture, toys and seasonal items. Traditional Kroger services and amenities, such as in-store banking, Starbucks Coffee, a drive-through pharmacy and a Fuel Center, will also be available.
In addition to the Kroger Oak Ridge Marketplace, the store will contain approximately 12,000 square feet of small shop space. The site will allow four to five outparcels. Outparcel tenants have not yet been identified. The specific outparcel space depends upon whether the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church congregation chooses to sell their current building and property. The church is located adjacent to the property already under contract.
Chris Johnson, President and CEO of ORNL Federal Credit Union and Chairman of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce's Retail, Commercial and Residential Growth area said, "This is exciting news for Oak Ridge. As someone who has traveled to retail conventions to help recruit new retail into Oak Ridge, this is exactly the kind of retail project we've been hoping to see make a commitment to our community. In fact, we met with the Kroger Real Estate team at the ICSC RECon event in May. Members of the Chamber's Retail Recruitment Facebook group may recall a post by Parker Hardy during that event saying that a prospect had told us Oak Ridge was their number one priority in the Knoxville Market - that was Kroger!"
According to Parker Hardy, President and CEO of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, "The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce began conversations with Blanchard & Calhoun about this project in November 2011. Though the firm conducted an extensive search, other properties were either deemed unsuitable for the center or were unavailable."
Mark Watson, Oak Ridge City Manager said, "The proposed Kroger Oak Ridge Marketplace is the kind of project our citizens and those in surrounding areas have been waiting for. This project demonstrates that Oak Ridge is a desirable market to be in and identifies Oak Ridge as having strong investment potential. People like stores and buildings that are new and the size of this project developed with Kroger will plant an image of a vibrant, economically strong community, spurring further projects and future growth in Oak Ridge.
"As far as what will happen with the current Kroger site on South Illinois Avenue, our understanding is that Kroger will be aggressively marketing that location to other retailers for sublease," Watson added.
David Bradshaw, Oak Ridge President for CapitalMark Bank and Trust and Chairman of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors said, "Not only am I thrilled to see Kroger commit to a Marketplace concept in Oak Ridge, but I believe with the close proximity of this location to Grove Center, it will lead to greater visibility, consumer traffic and sales for the Grove Center merchants."
In regards to the impact the shopping center will have on the Oak Ridge City Center (formerly the Oak Ridge Mall), Hardy said, "The Kroger Oak Ridge Marketplace will be a destination for consumers, attracting new customers to our community and creating economic synergy for Oak Ridge Mall. And, new money coming into the store and outparcel tenants will circulate through the community, creating a multiplier effect."
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the City of Oak Ridge has been advised that this development, which will have an estimated cost of $30 million, will be self-funded with no public support anticipated.
Ray Evans, an economic development consultant for the City of Oak Ridge stated, "In this day and age, it's actually unusual to have a development of this size come about without the need for some level of public participation. That doesn't happen very often."
"Kroger is committed to bringing the best products and services to the communities we serve," said Glynn Jenkins, Director of Communications and Public Relations for Kroger's Atlanta Division, which includes the Oak Ridge area. "Kroger has been a neighborhood store since 1954, and we are delighted to introduce a variety of new amenities to the Oak Ridge community, and we look forward to opening day, which is tentatively expected in the spring of 2014."
The new location is expected to bring 250 new jobs to the east Tennessee region.
The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is a Four-Star Accredited Chamber of Commerce.
Kroger's Atlanta Division is headquartered in Atlanta and is one of the Southeast's largest retail grocery chains with more than 213 stores covering Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, Northern Alabama and South Carolina. Kroger was recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in the U.S. The Company focuses its charitable efforts on hunger relief, K-12 education, women's health initiatives and local organizations in the communities it serves. For more information about Kroger, please visit www.kroger.com.