Proposed $20M Kroger Marketplace to employ 350 in Springfield

The plans submitted for a proposed $20 million, 123,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace development along Ohio 72 say it may employ up to 350 people and include the county’s first Starbucks.

The proposed grocery store is a huge win for the south side and Clark County, Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said.

“I’d rather have it on this side of the interstate, but I’m very happy to have a Kroger that’s up to modern standards on the south side,” Copeland said.

Initial development plans submitted to the city’s Community Development Department on Thursday afternoon show the popular Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee will have a location inside the big box store. It could also have a pharmacy with drive-through, cafe, Little Clinic health care center, bank with drive-through and a 20,000-square-foot Kroger Fuel Center, public records show.

“Kroger believes that the development of the site as a Marketplace store will provide the residents of Springfield with much needed grocery options that will allow Kroger to offer features and services not currently available in the city or township,” wrote consultant Anne McBride in a rezoning application.

>>RELATED: Trustee: Springfield Twp. development could include Kroger Marketplace

Kroger Marketplace stores are often much larger and include a wider selection than the traditional grocery stories, including clothing, furniture and home goods.

The store on South Limestone Street currently employs about 40 people.

The store would also feature ClickList, an online shopping service that allows shoppers to order groceries online, pay for them and then pick them up at a later time.

It will be one of the first Kroger stores to feature a new, contemporary design, records show.

The plans also show two nearly 10,000-square-foot outlots near the Kroger fuel center along Ohio 72.

Kroger is expected to hold a public information meeting about the proposed store from 4 to 6 p.m. July 26 at the Springfield Center of Innovation: The Dome. The company couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday.

The grocery has an option to purchase property for the development at 2630 Springfield-Jamestown Road, which is currently being annexed into the city. The annexation was approved by county commissioners earlier this week and is expected to come before city commissioners in September.

Copeland, a south side Springfield resident, said he’s met with Kroger about six times in the past to ask for changes to the South Limestone store.

“It’s way past time,” he said. “You can quibble about where and what but this is really great news.”

A consultant for the company has applied to the Central CEDA Regional Planning Commission to rezone the 28.8-acre vacant driving range property into a shopping center district at its Aug. 4 meeting.

Kroger is also performing a traffic study for the property.

There are currently five Kroger locations in Springfield. The company also plans to build a $1 million fuel center at its Derr Road location.

>>MORE DETAILS: $1M in new developments coming to Derr Road in Springfield

While it’s unclear if any stores will close, Copeland said the city may change bus routes to help south side residents travel to the new development.

“The vast majority of people will get there,” Copeland said, “but obviously that’s a concern.”

The development will be a major investment for Springfield and Clark County, said Dale Henry, former president of the Southern Gateway Neighborhood Association who has also lobbied for a new grocery store for many years. He hopes the store will spur more development on both sides of the interstate.

“Those are good jobs for the community and that’s what we need to be about,” Henry said. “These are jobs people can raise a family on.”

Springfield Twp. resident Susan Page spoke out against the development at the Clark County commission meeting earlier this week, citing concerns about traffic coming on and off the interstate.

“I’m quite sure the congestion that will result from this will be unfathomable,” Page told commissioners on Wednesday.

The development will be “transformational for the county’s most important interchange,” Chamber of Greater Springfield President and CEO Mike McDorman said. It will be a focus for local leaders over the next 10 years, along with downtown, he said.

The I-70 corridor is expected to be widened in the fiscal year of 2020, while a $119,000 traffic study is currently being completed to make changes to South Limestone Street. Springfield also recently made changes to zoning along the corridor.

“It makes it easier to build the public infrastructure that will be needed to propel our community forward,” McDorman said. “We’re beginning to see the signs of real momentum happening in our community. It’s neat to be a part of that.”

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