More than $1 million will be spent on two new retail developments on Derr Road, a sign the shopping corridor is still strong after the loss of a major anchor four years ago.
Kroger is planning a $1 million fuel center at its Derr Road location next to Pizza Hut, while AutoZone is also planning a new location next to McDonald’s across the street.
A public hearing was held last week to change the development plan for the Moorefield Square shopping center to allow for the Kroger gas station to be added to the property near Pizza Hut. Construction is expected to begin this fall and will take approximately three months.
Four years ago, the Kmart store at the Northland Plaza shopping center closed, taking away 50 jobs from the area.
“We were confident that corridor would be conducive to someone else coming in,” Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said.
“It continues to see interest from retailers,” Heck said. “They’ve been able to keep occupancy levels at nearly full capacity.”
The fuel center will be located in the southeast portion of the Moorefield Square shopping center. It will have five fuel islands, a covered canopy and an employees kiosk — similar to the other gas stations at the Kroger locations on Bechtle Avenue and East Main Street.
Many of Kroger’s customers choose to use their fuel points as part of their shopping experience, said Anne McBride, a project representative.
“That’s why they really like to make fuel available at their stores,” McBride said.
Of the five Kroger stores in Springfield, two have fuel centers. A sixth location has been discussed in Springfield Twp., but neither the Clark County nor Springfield Community Development departments have received plans.
The gas station won’t affect parking for the nearby shopping center, which already has too many spaces, Springfield Planning, Zoning and Code Administrator Stephen Thompson said.
“It will alleviate that,” Thompson said.
City Commissioner Kevin O’Neill questioned if the fuel center would cause problems at the nearby traffic signal.
“Sometimes that can be a bottleneck there with people exiting both shopping centers at the same time,” O’Neill said.
Springfield City Manager Jim Bodenmiller said he doesn’t anticipate improvements will need to be made at the traffic signals due to the new development.
The 6,000-square-foot auto parts store will be located in the Northland Plaza and include about 38 parking spaces. A change to the development plan was approved by the Springfield City Planning Board earlier this month. It will be heard by city commissioners in August, Thompson said.
AutoZone has three locations in Clark County, including two in Springfield and another in New Carlisle. Representatives from the company couldn’t be reached for comment and no project investment was available.
About 13,000 cars drive near the Derr Road shopping corridor per day, according to 2015 traffic counts by the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee.
Springfield resident Edward James has been shopping at the Derr Road Kroger for years. The fuel center will give him even more reason to shop in the area, although he would like to see more restaurants.
“A Chipotle would be nice,” James said.
The fuel center will also create competition with Speedway and fill a need on the north side, Springfield resident George Smith said.
“We only have a few gas stations on the north end,” he said.
Springfield resident Ramona Knop will purchase gas at the Kroger fuel center on Bechtle Avenue in order to redeem discounts earned by purchasing groceries there, she said. She hopes to see more retail in Springfield.
“I wish we had more places here in Springfield, especially for clothing and that kind of thing,” she said.
The Springfield News-Sun provides complete coverage of business developments in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent stories on new stores coming to Bechtle Avenue and the future of the Upper Valley Mall.
By the numbers
$1 million: Cost of the planned Kroger fuel center on Derr Road.
10: Gas pumps at the planned gas station.
13,000: Cars that drive near the Derr Road shopping corridor per day.