Nearly three years after the Kroger Co. purchased a former Big Bear store at the Town & Country Shopping Center, the company has not yet made a move to occupy the site.
"We have purchased the property and have completed demolition; however, the project timeline is continuing to evolve," Amy McCormick, corporate affairs manager for Kroger, said Nov. 26.
Kroger purchased the 8.2-acre site at 3680 E. Broad St. for $4.2 million in February 2017, according to the Franklin County Auditor's Office.
The former Big Bear store, on the north side of East Broad Street at the western end of Town & Country, has been vacant since 2004.
It was demolished in late 2017 and remains a vacant lot today.
While the project's timeline remains uncertain, a tax-increment-financing agreement Whitehall City Council approved to entice Kroger to relocate from its current 65,000-square-foot store at 3675 E. Broad St., directly across the street, remains in play.
The 15-year TIF agreement approved in 2016 was amended to extend the deadline to begin construction from the end of 2018 to the end of 2021, said Whitehall development director Zach Woodruff.
The tax deal would commence on completion of construction, Woodruff said.
A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting resulting incremental revenue to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.
Kroger is expected to invest about $24 million in the project to build a new 105,000-square-foot store at Town & Country, Woodruff said.
Town & Country isn't the only central Ohio shopping center waiting for Kroger to act.
In January 2015, Kroger completed the purchase of a former Macy's store and affiliated property at the Kingsdale Shopping Center in Upper Arlington.
According to the Franklin County Auditor's Office, it was a $10.5 million investment.
Now nearly five years later, nothing short of shuttering the building and occasional repairs to parking-lot potholes and clearing weeds has taken place at the site, city leaders said.
Since the purchase, Kroger has submitted no plans for redeveloping the 6.2-acre property that served as Kingsdale's anchor tenant for 45 years prior to the sale, leaders said.
In the past, Kroger representatives have indicated they planned a mixed-use development, which may or may not include retail, office, residential, restaurant, bank and grocery uses.
In late November, Chad Gibson, Upper Arlington's senior planning officer, said the city remains in communication with Kroger about the site, but no projects appear imminent.
"The company has not shared any direct feedback on their plans for several years," Gibson said.
He said Kroger has offered no timeline for submitting development proposals for the site, and the company hasn't informed city officials of plans to demolish the 105,422-square-foot Macy's building.
In March, McCormick said the company still was "in the process of developing the plans" for the Kingsdale property and was working with the city to do so.
Meanwhile, Kroger opened a 106,000-square-foot store late last month at 6580 E. Main St. in Reynoldsburg.
The new store was designed as a prototype, featuring expanded selections of meat and seafood, wine and produce, plus a large prepared-food section that includes sushi, chicken and sandwich options and a salad bar, Kroger officials said.