Nearly a decade after the Food Town supermarket at Golden Gate Plaza closed, Maumee residents soon could have a Kroger store in the neighborhood.
The Maumee planning commission has approved site plan and design standards for a new 86,629-square-foot store at Reynolds Road and Dussel Drive.
A conditional use permit also has been approved for a Kroger fuel station on the vacant lot next to Schlotzky's Deli.
Bruce Wholf, Maumee's chief building and zoning official, said the new grocery store has been "a long time coming."
"We are excited, and it will be nice to have another full-service grocery store," Mr. Wholf said. "Nothing against Meijer. I hope they complement one another."
According to plans Kroger submitted to the city, work could begin as early as October at the site. The project calls for demolition of the former Ed Schmidt Automotive Group, which has been closed since early 2010.
Jackie Siekmann, a spokesman for Kroger's Columbus division, declined to comment on the cost and projected employment for the new store, saying the company was still in negotiations for the purchase of the property.
Maumee City Administrator John Jezak said the Kroger project is, to him, an encouraging sign that the area is climbing out of the recession.
"I think across the board, while perhaps it's not the boom times of the late 1990s and early 2000s, there's still quite a bit of activity in the private sector," he said.
In Maumee, income tax collection hit an all-time high last year and is down just 1.2 percent -- or about $135,000 -- through August compared to the same period last year.
Other economic indicators -- hotel/motel taxes, building permit activity, phone inquiries about development opportunities -- all point in the upward direction, he said.
"The biggest news is that we're starting to see some new builds," Mr. Jezak said. "We've seen a lot of vacant space over the last 12 to 18 months that's begun to be absorbed."
In addition to the Kroger project, Mr. Jezak said the former Fazoli's Italian Restaurant on Conant Street is being remodeled and expanded into a multitenant building that is expected to be home to an upscale burger chain and an electronics store. Dirty Paws, a pet-grooming business on East John Street, is adding on because of increased business.
Mr. Jezak said he's also hopeful that the recent completion of the 21.5-mile, four-lane stretch of U.S. 24 from the north side of Waterville to Napoleon will make it more attractive for shoppers from the west to visit the Shops at Fallen Timbers.
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