Kroger, city officials announce plan for downtown grocery

Cincinnati-based grocer will build a 45,000 square-foot, two-story store as part of a mixed-use, 18-story apartment tower at the corner of Central Parkway and Walnut Street.

click to enlarge A rendering for the downtown Kroger location at Central Parkway and Walnut Street
A rendering for the downtown Kroger location at Central Parkway and Walnut Street

Downtown Cincinnati by 2019 will see its first downtown grocery store in decades, city officials and Kroger announced today.

Urbanists and city elected leaders have salivated at the idea of a downtown store for years — the city’s last one, a Kroger on Race Street, closed in 1969 — but before now, the pieces had never come together.

The Cincinnati-based grocer will partner with the city to build a 45,000 square-foot, two-story store as part of a mixed-used development at the southeast corner of Central Parkway and Walnut Street. That development will also include an 18-story, 139-unit market rate apartment tower and a 550-space parking garage. North American Properties, NorthPointe Group and  Rookwood Properties will be developers on the project, GBBN will serve as the architect and Turner Construction will be the development’s general contractor.

Kroger says the store is meant to serve customers living in downtown, OTR, the West End and other nearby neighborhoods. The store will have a bar, food court and other novel amenities.

The almost $91 million project will receive an $8.5 million grant from a city fund that must be used for downtown development, $4 million from the Ohio Development Services Agency, $2.5 million in state and federal New Market Tax Credits, about $7 million from 3CDC, $19 million from Kroger and $42 million in private investment.

“We as a city have been chasing this for decades,” said Mayor John Cranley at a news conference at the Hamilton County administration building parking lot where the development will be built. Cranley called a downtown grocery the “Moby Dick” of city development and praised Kroger’s leadership in making it happen.

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullin returned that praise.

"The city has done such a good job revitalizing downtown and Over-the-Rhine that we finally got to a point where we could put something together," he said at the news conference.

Kroger’s Over-the-Rhine grocery at 1420 Vine St. will close after the new location opens and its 60 employees will be transferred to other stores. The grocer will donate the property to 3CDC, which is still mulling plans for the location. 

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