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North of 96th - Lindsey

Welcome to North of 96th, your source for business news from Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville. Your host, Lindsey Erdody, can be reached at lerdody@ibj.com.

Kroger / Fishers / Hamilton County / Grocery Stores / Regional News

Kroger dusts off plans for giant Fishers grocery

October 3, 2014

Kroger Co. is resurrecting plans to replace its busy Olio Road grocery in Fishers with a 123,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace store.

The Cincinnati-based grocer floated the idea in February, then shelved it after receiving a chilly reception from Fishers Town Council, which must approve a rezoning request and an amendment to current development standards for the project to proceed.

At issue: the size of the store, which exceeds the 65,000-square-foot maximum put in place when the intersection of Olio Road and 116th Street was developed a dozen years ago. (The existing store is the largest allowed.)

In March, council members tabled a request to annex about 7 acres of land Kroger assembled for the project and chose not to conduct a so-called “first reading” on the other regulatory requests.

Since then, Kroger representatives have met individually with town leaders and conducted a survey of nearby residents to gauge their reaction. The company also launched an informational website, KrogeratOlio.com, and has scheduled a series of neighborhood meetings starting Saturday to address lingering concerns.

The project is expected to be back on the Town Council’s agenda later this month and up for Plan Commission consideration in November.

Nearly 40 percent of the 300 neighbors who responded to the survey said they were excited about the larger store, according results posted on the website. Just 13 percent oppose the plan.

The overwhelmingly majority of neighbors contacted said they weren’t worried about the store size or traffic, the website said.

Kroger’s Marketplace stores aim to provide customers with a one-stop shopping option. In addition to a full-service grocery and pharmacy, offerings run the gamut from furniture to electronics to toys.

That requires space, but Kroger was quick to point out on the website that its average store size is still much smaller than typical “big box” retailers like Target (174,000 square feet), Walmart (190,000 square feet) and Meijer (225,000 square feet).

The proposed size of the new Kroger hasn’t changed, but the website refers to it as a Kroger Neighborhood Store, rather than using the Marketplace moniker.

The company has tweaked the building’s exterior design and removed a planned driveway to 116th Street, replacing it with a detention pond and “reflection area,” said town planner Adam Zaklikowski.

The neighborhood meetings will take place at the Hamilton Southeast High School cafeteria. Hour-long question-and-answer sessions are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 4, 7 p.m. Oct. 9 and 7 p.m. Oct. 13.

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