A city official says a new Kroger Marketplace store is still planned for Bloomington’s east side, though the project has been delayed significantly from its original timetable.
Kroger wants to close its store at 1550 E. College Ave., Normal, and build a new $24.5 million Kroger Marketplace and gas station on College near Hershey Road, across from Meijer. Kroger has said the current College Avenue location is too small to support its growing sales and product line.
To support the project, the Bloomington City Council back in February 2016 approved a $2.5 million sales tax break for Kroger. At that time, the city expected construction to begin by spring/summer 2016, with the new store opening by summer/fall 2017. Construction never began.
In December 2016, Bloomington aldermen approved a revised tax-rebate plan. But city officials noted the delay in the project.
“Earlier this year, due to global macroeconomic conditions beyond the company’s control, Kroger’s Cincinnati-based executive management team chose to delay the Bloomington Marketplace project along with multiple other new store projects across the nation,” city staff wrote.
Since then, Kroger has acquired the property on College and Hershey, enough space for its 128,000-square-foot store—its first Marketplace store in Illinois. The company bought the land for $4.6 million in February 2017, said Bloomington Economic Development Coordinator Austin Grammer.
If construction begins sometime in 2017, Kroger might still be able to open the new store by Dec. 31, 2018, said Grammer. The city believes the project is still moving forward, he said.
“It’s wonderful to see activity on that property,” Grammer said, noting the other potential development that could be sparked elsewhere on the 30-acre site once Kroger opens.
The Town of Normal hasn’t been able to get any information about when the current College Avenue store will close, said town spokesperson Dan Irvin.
“I’ve heard the project is delayed internally,” City Manager Mark Peterson said Tuesday.
Kroger did not respond to several requests for comment on the project’s status.
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