Five years after purchasing the anchor property in the Kingsdale Shopping Center, Kroger Co. announced plans to abandon the 6.2-acre site without developing it.

“Kroger continues to evaluate its brick-and-mortar capital expenditures to assess its priority in our project lineup and long-term viability,” the company said in a release June 5. “As a result, Kroger plans to develop an exit strategy for the Kingsdale site in Upper Arlington.

“We are still growing and investing in that growth, as demonstrated by our $3.1 million investment at Kroger located at1955 West Henderson Road … in 2019. Kroger appreciates the community’s support as it works to best serve our Upper Arlington customers and community.”

Kroger purchased the 105,422-square-foot former Macy’s building and affiliated property in January 2015. According to the Franklin County Auditor’s Office, the price was $10.5 million.

But despite repeated assertions by company officials that a mixed-use development would be constructed that possibly would include retail, office, residential, restaurant, bank and grocery uses, Kroger never brought forward a project – or even a proposal for one.

Additionally, the company never cleared the site for a project, as the blue-brick Macy’s building remains standing but shuttered.

Kroger spokeswoman Amy McCormick said the company had been talking to city officials about its plans to vacate the project “for some time.”

Steve Schoeny, Upper Arlington city manager, said Kroger officials indicated earlier this year they were looking to pull out of Kingsdale.

Rather than being disappointed the project never materialized, Schoeny said, he’s optimistic the property will be a “highly desired site.”

“We’re excited about it,” he said. “One of the things the community has expressed since I have been here is wanting to see things start to move (with Kroger).”

Schoeny said the Kroger statement implies the company plans to sell the property.

He and Emma Speight, the city’s community-affairs director, said city officials are eager to work with interested developers to bring forward a medium-density, mixed-use project that will bring income-tax revenue to the city and further bolster Kingsdale as a destination.

“The purpose of the mixed-use district (at Kingsdale) is to try to maximize the potential of the site from a use perspective and from an income-tax generating perspective,” Speight said.

Macy’s operated as Kingsdale’s anchor tenant for 45 years.

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