Three years after the Kroger Co. entered a deal to purchase the site of the Macy's store at Kingsdale Center, there is still no timetable for the company to move forward on the project.
As of Feb. 7, Upper Arlington officials said they still expect Kroger to submit development plans for the Kingsdale site, but they don't have an indication of when that might occur.
"While the city has maintained positive contact with Kroger representatives, no timeline or specific dates for anything have been provided," said Chad Gibson, the city's senior planning officer.
"All the informal discussions, thus far, have included a mixed-use development which may or may not include retail, office, residential, restaurant, bank and grocery uses.
"No commitments have been made of any kind, although Kingsdale is zoned PMUD -- Planned Mixed Use District," he said. "The ultimate proposal will be required to meet the standards of this zoning district."
Gibson said the site is owned by Kroger, which gives the company sole control over when and how any development will take shape.
Cincinnati-based Kroger made news in January 2015 by confirming plans to purchase and redevelop the 6.2-acre site at Kingsdale that had served as home to Macy's, the shopping center's anchor store for 45 years.
Macy's closed roughly two months later and the familiar blue-brick building has been vacant since.
City officials said at the outset of 2017 and 2018 that they anticipated Kroger would come forward within those calendar years with a proposal for redeveloping the site.
In the meantime, Kroger closed a 56-year-old store in the nearby University City shopping center on Olentangy River Road in Columbus last fall, as well as another store on Cleveland Avenue in Columbus' Linden neighborhood.
On Feb. 6, numerous media outlets reported British convenience store operator EG Group is buying Kroger's convenience-store units for $2.15 billion as it expands into the U.S.
Those reports said Kroger has been considering the sale of its 66 convenience stores in 18 states since October.
Kroger's convenience-store business includes the Turkey Hill, Loaf 'N Jug, Kwik Shop, Tom Thumb and Quik Stop brands, and employs about 11,000 people.
A Kroger representative did not return a call Feb. 7 seeking comment on the company's plans for Kingsdale or its commitment to the site.
Amy McCormick, a Kroger corporate affairs manager, responded to an email requesting an interview about the Kingsdale project by stating, "Kroger is still in the process of developing the plans for this site. We will share details after we submit to the city. No timeline has been set for submission."
Gibson said informal discussions with Kroger have indicated a grocery store would be part of the mixed-use proposal the company intends to bring forward, but he added, "Nothing formal has been submitted or committed to."
He said the city hopes the proposal will yield a "mixed-use development that meets the master plan's vision for Kingsdale as a thriving, mixed-use, walkable environment. The inclusion of office use is preferred."
Gibson said he has "no idea" how important a Kroger store at Kingsdale would be to the Upper Arlington community, but noted the Kroger-owned property "is an extremely desirable site located in the heart of UA."