|Classic "Greenhouse" Kroger with subsequent updates|
Grocer plans to expand existing store
Cincinnati-based Kroger plans to expand its existing store at Howell Mill Square on Howell Mill Road. The expansion would see the current 58,000 square foot store swell to about 83,000 square feet. Exterior and interior evidence suggests the store was previously expanded, something confirmed by a local reader who estimates that about 20 years ago approximately 10,000 square feet were added.
|Exterior evidence of the previous expansion|
The current store has been renovated a few times but "greenhouse" front windows and low ceilings, trademark elements of the 70s/80s era Kroger stores, remain.
The currently proposed expansion would further consume everything to to the left of Kroger: Chin Chin and Mama Niki's Pizza. Chin Chin has reportedly been told they must vacate their space "within 60 days" and if the property's siteplan is accurate, have already been assigned a new location within the center. Marietta-based Retail Planning Group shows Chin Chin occupying suite C16, a 2,650 square foot space to the right of Kroger, adjacent to an existing Subway.
|Mama Niki's and Chin Chin to the left of Kroger|
Mama Niki's, a popular pizza restaurant established in 1996, reportedly has "term" left on a seven year lease and has not yet been formally made aware of any need to relocate.
Already the dominant grocer in Georgia, Kroger has been working to expand or relocate many of its stores as it seeks to diversify its product offerings and further increase its sales.
Kroger has completed similar expansions in Decatur and Brookhaven, among others, while another is proposed in Sandy Springs. (I have since confirmed the Sandy Springs expansion at Fountain Oaks would add 23,000 square feet to the existing nearly 60,000 square foot store.)
There is already one Publix (31,000 s/f) less than a mile from the Kroger store at Collier and Howell Mill Roads, with another (45,600 s/f) slated to open next spring at a redeveloped Moores Mill Center, about three miles away.
I inquired with a manager at the Howell Mill location as to what would be added if the expansion happens, his response was that it would be a "big beautiful store."
Contrary to local chatter, the expansion is not slated to include the addition of a Kroger fuel center, an amenity the company did add to their Citi Center location on Memorial Drive in 2014.
The fuel center is seen as a traffic driver for the grocer and its inclusion in the planned expansion of its Embry Village location is reportedly a prerequisite for the expansion to happen.
I contacted Glynn Jenkins, Public Relations Director for Kroger’s Atlanta Division, regarding a possible timeline at Howell Mill.
Jenkins indicated that "There is no timeline for the expansion of this project, as we continue to work through scope of work and layout of the store."
There are currently no building permits on file with the city of the Atlanta for the project. There is, however, a permit for "Commercial Miscellaneous Non-Structural" dated April 18th for a "Driveway realignment @ Kroger" with an estimated cost of $32,000. This work would seem to be a precursor to the store's expansion.
Calls for comment placed to Retail Planning Group were not immediately returned.
Are you in favor of the planned expansion? Do you prefer Publix or Kroger? Do you prefer one-stop-shop grocery stores or do you prefer a smaller, more general experience?
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