Kroger considering new store in Cornerstone development

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Kroger considering new store in Cornerstone development

Kroger is considering building a store in the Cornerstone of Centerville project, a Kroger spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

“This site has been presented to us and we are looking at the possibilities,” said Rachael Betzler, spokeswoman for the Cincinnati-based grocery chain. “There are no final plans at this time.”

George Oberer Jr. of Oberer Co., the developer of the Cornerstone project, confirmed the project “has been marketed by our commercial real-estate folks to many potential users, including Kroger,” but he added, “There is no deal on the table.”

Oberer cautioned that there are “financial and engineering issues that need to be resolved before the whole development gets off the ground.”

“We’re not across the finish line yet,” Oberer said of the Cornerstone development.

Centerville City Manager Greg Horn referred questions about the development to Oberer, and noted that the only official plans the city has received has been from Costco Wholesale Corp., which is envisioned to be the first anchor tenant of the Cornerstone of Centerville project. The proposed 156-acre multi-use development is bounded by Wilmington Pike, Feedwire Road, Interstate 675 and Brown Road.

The former Dille family home and trees surrounding the home were razed earlier this year in preparation for construction of the Costco store and for the Cornerstone development’s first phase, a 40-acre tract that is projected to include Costco and as many as half a dozen outlots, Centerville city officials said in February. Costco’s plans call for construction of a 154,000-square-foot members-only warehouse with an attached tire center, a free-standing fuel station and 736 parking spaces.

It’s not clear what impact a new Cornerstone Kroger, which would be built near Feedwire Road and Wilmington Pike near I-675, would have on existing Kroger stores. One free-standing Kroger store, at 6480 Wilmington Pike, would be less than two miles south of the new location, and another Kroger store at 2100 E. Whipp Road in Kettering would be less than two miles west of the Cornerstone development.

Kroger spokeswoman Betzler said, “There has been no discussion on closing two stores.”

Kroger built a new store in the Austin Landing development in Miami Twp. in January 2013, but decided to keep open a nearby store at 725 W. Central Ave. in Springboro.

A Cornerstone Kroger store would add to the already robust grocery-store competition in Dayton’s south suburbs, which already includes multiple Kroger and Meijer stores, three Dorothy Lane Market stores, Sam’s Club, Dot’s Market, Earth Fare and Trader Joe’s — and soon will include the Dayton area’s first Whole Foods store as well as Costco and Fresh Thyme. Even non-grocer retailers such as Target, WalMart and Family Dollar have added or expanded the grocery sections of their stores to try to carve off a piece of the market.

Kroger in recent years has opened large “marketplace” stores that carry general merchandise in addition to grocery items. The chain has built marketplace stores in south Centerville, Beavercreek and Englewood. Its most recently opened location in the Austin Landing development was a 97,000-square-foot store that cost an estimated $15 million.

Rob Bernhard Jr., who owns the Dot’s Market in nearby Bellbrook as well as a second store at the Kettering-Dayton border, said the increased competition inevitably will cut into his market share, in part because consumers are increasingly likely to shop at multiple grocery stores rather than just one.

But Bernhard said he’ll continue to focus on customer service and the convenience that his smaller grocery store can offer.

“I’m told all the time that the older generation just can’t walk those larger stores,” Bernhard said.

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