Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Kroger in Talks to Enter Cumberland Mall

The Marietta Daily Journal reports that Cincinnati-based Kroger is in talks to lease the upper level of the Sears store at Cumberland Mall.  The new Kroger would be 93,260 square feet, and if all goes well, could open by summer 2016.  Sears has recognized that their most valuable assets are their real estate holdings. In the case of Cumberland Mall, Sears owns the 15-acre tract on which their store is located, and as such, has the flexibility to reconfigure their layout.  Current plans call for Sears to begin their lower level reconfiguration this June, with plans to vacate the upper level completely by January. 

It's believed that this new Kroger would be in addition to the current Kroger store about a mile and a half away at Riverview Village.  The Riverview Village Kroger is less than half the size of the proposed Kroger, but was recently renovated and is located at the cusp of the affluent Vinings community.  

Currently there are 129 Kroger stores in the grocer's "Atlanta Division."  (New Kroger stores are coming soon to Lindbergh Place and Glenwood Place.) 

If the plan comes to fruition, it would further Cumberland Mall's title as the most diverse mall in Atlanta.  A former J.C. Penney store was demolished in 2005 and reopened as a Costco in 2006. The Costco is not directly connected to the mall though it does have a ground lease with mall operator GGP. The Costco also features a popular fuel center.  Given the upcoming Atlanta Braves Stadium and existing offices, Kroger would be wise to add a fuel station as well, but that detail has not yet been publicized.  The current Sears auto center would seem to offer the perfect location for the fuel center should that become part of the plans.  The Sears auto center occupies an outparcel on the Akers Mill side of the Sears store, the same side where Kroger would have its main entrance.  Customers parking on the Akers Mill side would walk right into the grocery on the upper level.

Cumberland Mall opened in 1973 and was once anchored by Davison's, Rich's, J. C. Penney and Sears. The Davison's was eventually renamed Macy's.  Later, following the Macy's-Rich's consolidation, the Macy's store was shuttered.  The store was demolished and in its place, a new entrance as well as a number of new retailers and restaurants were added to the mall.  

This won't be the first time a grocer has opened within a mall in metro Atlanta.

Korean retailer Mega Mart opened their first US store in Gwinnett Place Mall in 2009.  The combination retailer and grocery occupies the former Macy's department store and caters to the area's Asian population.  When it opened the store, it occupied both floors of the Macy's, but its clothing and housewares business on the second floor was phased out, and today the retailer is primarily a grocery store.  The reviews are mixed on the store with many locals preferring to shop at nearby Super H Mart.  

Do you think a Kroger makes sense at Cumberland Mall? Do you think both Kroger stores should remain open?  If the Kroger store does not opening at Cumberland Mall, what should Sears do with their space?

Please share your thoughts below.  

17 comments:

Carl said...

Fascinating! I never would've seen this one coming. FYI: Mega Mart occupies the former Macy's space.

Atlantan99 said...

@Carl,

Good catch, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Interesting! Very common in Canada and Europe for grocers to be part of "fashion" malls, haven't seen too many in the US. Cumberland has come a long way - all the restaurants on the front, plus Apple, Sephora, Michael Kors inside it.

Anonymous said...

Lenox had a Colonial grocery store back in the day. It also had an organ grinder with a monkey. But I don't see that making a comeback.

BW said...

Cumberland Mall was just on the cusp of becoming a thriving, upscale mall again with all the higher end specialty retailers and restaurants they've added over the last few years. I figured GGP was most certainly in negotiations to buy the Sears property in the near future and repurpose that parcel into a mall addition complete with a Dillard's and/or Von Maur. Instead, keeping that parcel as an underutilized Sears store on the lower level and a Kroger store on the upper level, I feel that any progress that GGP has made over the last few years will effectively be halted. We won't go backwards but I also don't see any further progress in their efforts at turning Cumberland back into a destination center like Mall of Georgia or North Point or any of the other higher-end malls in the metro area.

I cannot imagine there being much crossover traffic from grocery store shoppers to the various specialty retailers in the mall. I also see Kroger moving into that location as being rather short sighted...grocery store success is all about convenience. Having a grocery store in the middle of a busy mall parking lot is the exact opposite of convenient.

Ham said...

While I agree the fit is probably not great the reality is the metro-Atlanta area has too many malls. There are simply not enough traditional mall retailers to fill all that space. A Kroger is better than an empty store or some off the wall retailer.

Anonymous said...

I would put this in the category of another downgrade in the existing retail space around the new stadium. As some of the folks above have alluded to, can you imagine there ever being a grocery store at Lenox or Perimeter?

There is also very little residential development around Cumberland with another Kroger or multiple Publix in every direction closer to where people actually live.

gnd said...

Agree 110% with BW. GPP must not be thrilled about this move. Actually though, Sears could be smart. They could be threatening the Kroger in hopes of that the mall will offer more money to buy them out to prevent the supermarket. The only thing the Kroger will do there is take valuable parking space(especially if they also put a gas station on the outside. Unlike a strip center, I doubt that a Supermarket in a mall(particularly the top floor of a anchor spot) is a major selling point!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine very many people would choose to buy their groceries upstairs inside a mall bordered by extremely busy multiple-lane major roads. This store will be convenient for a few dozen mall workers who do not have a preferred grocer near their route home. Beyond that group, it will be largely unknown.

AJ said...

I agree this is an odd choice and IMO a bad choice, but people READ THE ARTICLE - yes it's the upper level of the MALL, but there is access from the parking lot without going upstairs.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of adding a grocery store in a mall? I'm just confused by the whole concept..
"I need a pair of khaki's and some ketchup!"

Ham said...

Kroger has a real estate division and own several shopping centers. So, it’s not a stretch to imagine that they have their eyes on the Sears owned property and maybe the mall itself.

http://www.krogerrealestate.com

Anonymous said...

This is an AWFUL idea. Terrible. Just Terrible.

Jethros Fiftyseven said...

actually, this is a brilliant idea. predict it will be be overwhelming success.

Jethros Fiftyseven said...

actually it is a brilliant idea. will be highly successful

Eric Vinton said...

We have a Whole Foods in our mall down in Clearwater and it is a great fit. This is a great move. It is unorthodox, but malls need to be reworked.

Anonymous said...

The new Huddle House design a few minutes way in Snellville is killing WH. Along with a better tasting and full menu. Don't slip on it. You may not return to a Waffle House after going their. I know I haven't.