A new, 100,000-square-foot Kroger store on East Main Street is taking shape and is expected to open in late fall.

The Kroger Co. broke ground last March at the 16-acre site at the northwest corner of East Main Street and Rosehill Road, which was formerly occupied by a trailer park.

A Turkey Hill gas station on the site opened last year and work on the grocery store has picked up as the weather warms.

While the new Kroger will be a traditional grocery format, store specifics -- like amenities and staffing levels -- still are being finalized, said Kroger corporate affairs manager Amy McCormick.

McCormick said some departments in the store would be expanded, much like the new store that opened in Lancaster in 2017.

Kroger's lease on its current location at 6962 E. Main St. will expire in December; that location is expected to close once the new store opens.

About 98 employees are expected to transfer to the new store, McCormick said.

At double the size of the existing store, the new Kroger will need additional employees, but McCormick said last week it was too early to say how many jobs would be created.

Development Director Andrew Bowsher said Reynoldsburg is working on a redevelopment plan with Arshot Development, the propperty management company for the Reynoldsburg Shopping Center where the existing store is located. A facade renovation is expected to be completed and new tenants are expected, he said.

Records at the Franklin County Auditor's Office list the owner of the shopping center as Schendel Retail Center LLC of Portland, Oregon.

The city's 2018 Comprehensive Plan identifies Kroger site in the Reynoldsburg Shopping Center as a "focus area." The plan, approved last year by Reynoldsburg City Council, calls for a mix of high-quality commercial businesses in that area, with the possibility of senior or multifamily housing at the rear of the site.

"We are courting a major medical provider to take over the old Kroger location," Bowsher said, although he declined to identify it. "The city is extremely excited about the partnerships and possibilities for the site.

"The city has momentum, and we are seeing that pay dividends in the conversations we have with prospective businesses," he said.

OhioHealth opened a freestanding emergency care facility at 6960 E. Main St. in 2017, near the existing Kroger at Briarcliff and Main.

Other projects

A 1.6-acre outparcel next to the new Kroger at the corner of Rosehill Road and Main Street is expected to be developed as a casual, sit-down style restaurant, Bowsher said. An application also is expected soon for the development of about 14 acres across from the new store, he said.

"We feel it will be one more piece to a more vibrant Main Street," Bowsher said.

Kroger has not received any tax benefits from the city related to the new development, but a tax-increment-financing deal for the site was approved in 2018.

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting the incremental revenue from traditional property-tax-collecting entities to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.

Funds from the TIF are expected to be used for Main Street improvements, including the installation of a new traffic light near the entrance to the store, Bowsher said.

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