Why Does Kroger Continue to Avoid Urban Store Model in Cincinnati?

Kroger is one of the Queen City’s prized Fortune 500 gems. The company was founded here in 1883 and has grown into the nation’s largest grocer, and one of the nation’s largest retailers overall. While the company has done much good for the city, the question is now being asked if they are now content with their hometown market.

While public officials work to rid the city of its food deserts, Kroger has been largely absent from the conversation. Furthermore, the grocer’s remaining stores throughout the city are seemingly in a constant state of fear of closure. Cincinnati still has Kroger stores in about a half-dozen neighborhoods, but many have either fallen into disrepair or are showcases of urban design failures.

In 2008, Kroger rebuilt its East Price Hill store to the pleasure of city and neighborhood leaders. The possibility of losing the neighborhood’s only full-service grocery store was a real concern. While shiny and new, the rebuilt store now sits more than 100 feet off of Warsaw Avenue, with a sea of parking and a Kroger Fueling Station in front.

Mt. Washington had their neighborhood Kroger built in 1999. In this case, the parking for the store is off to the side of the building, and it sits right along Beechmont Avenue. However, the building includes virtually no windows, and instead of serving as an anchor for the business district is more of an eyesore. While its site plan differs from Kroger’s East Price Hill store, both are still oriented to cars, not the pedestrians or cyclists that make the respective neighborhood business districts attractive.

As UrbanCincy reported yesterday, Kroger is now working with transit officials to improve bus facilities in and around their Walnut Hills store in Peeble’s Corner. But aside from that, the store is essentially defined by the same story as its Mt. Washington counterpart.

In Corryville a different story is unfolding. First developed in the 1960s as part of what is now seen as an awful urban renewal project, Kroger’s uptown store is one of its worst. Fortunately the store will soon be torn down, but after years of discussions with neighborhood leaders and developers, it sounds as if the new store will be not much different from the existing one in terms of its form or function.

Kroger stores in Winton Place and Westwood, and the one currently under construction in Oakley, are nothing more than urban design atrocities ignorant of their surroundings.

Of course, all of this goes without discussing the poor state of Kroger’s Over-the-Rhine store, which practically sits in the shadow of the company’s global headquarters, or the fact that Kroger has yet to actively pursue a store for the city’s exploding residential population downtown.

Meanwhile, approximately 80 miles south along I-75, Kroger has worked with community leaders in Lexington on a new store near the University of Kentucky. The newly opened 86,000-square-foot store is two stories tall with parking situated on the building’s rooftop. The structure is built to the street, includes facades with windows, café seating both inside and out, local food offerings, and has been designed with the surrounding community in mind.

In short, Lexington’s brand new Kroger shines as an example for what the Cincinnati-based company could and should build in its hometown.

Cincinnati is fortunate to have Kroger headquartered here; and the half-dozen or so neighborhoods that have a store are surely thankful to not be left stranded, but at some point Cincinnati should demand better from its hometown company. It is not too late for Kroger to get it right in Corryville, Walnut Hills, Over-the-Rhine, Downtown, or any of the city’s existing neighborhoods without any access to a full-service grocer.

  • Because our fantastic mayor says beggars can’t be choosers.
    I hope the city and neighborhood citizens can hold Kroger’s feet to the fire and demand better.

    • EDG

      Kroger was allowed to ruin the E Price Hill business district long before Cranley, but that’s essentially the logic.

    • Pamela Taylor

      The irony is that neighborhood citizens in East Price Hill did hold Kroger’s feet to the fire to get the design they wanted for the Warsaw Ave Kroger. Maybe it’s not Krogers that needs to get with the times? Also, it has to be said that the manager of the East Price Hill Kroger, Troy, is incredibly dedicated to the neighborhood, and has turned the store into an asset for the community well beyond the obvious benefits of having a local grocery. Not to mention, they have one of the best produce departments in the city, and the employees are incredible service-oriented.

    • EDG

      That’s a good point, many in the community settled for the sea of parking as good design. The problem is that the city doesn’t have a position/office of urban design to show the community what they could’ve had or how what was built impacts the neighborhood.

    • Don’t they reputedly have the best Mexican food section in the city?

    • Carrie Schnittger

      They really do.

  • Kelly Haggerty Halbert

    The Hyde Park Kroger is apparently adding a parking garage once the new Oakley Kroger is built! Yuck!

    • Mark Christol

      Hyde Park Plaza Kroger?
      What’s wrong with a garage?

    • charles ross

      HP Kroger is the most horrible shopping experience I can think of, and it’s not because of the staff – it’s the building – it’s too big, layout is bad and parking lot is absurd. Anything they can do to fix that will be great!

  • Chas Wiederhold

    I mean… I know you know that they are researching a better local urban typology through UC|DAAP. Why not mention that or reach out to Michael Zaretsky (or anyone who may know more) for this story?

    • Yes I am aware of this work. For the purposes of this stiry that would merely serve as justification for their poor stire designs thus far. In all honestly, they should have studied this years ago. And to be brutally honest, I’m not sure why the matter needs to be studied so much. Cities all over the world have successful urban grocery stores. Some are small, while others are huge. Some are single level structures, while others are 2-5 levels. Some habe parking, while some do not. There are so many examples the fact that they haven’t figured it out yet is laughable.

    • Brian H

      I get the frustration with the quality of the design, but they have followed the same model as almost every grocery store chain out there, so singling them out seems to miss the mark. (The reuse of an existing vacant storefront is still the exception, not the rule.) Why not just argue for better design across the board? Are our office parks any better? How about our other big box stores? Sometimes Kroger owns the building and sometimes they lease it…the design of the structure isn’t always in their control. And let’s not forget that these projects are built almost to the exact expectations that are reflective of the underlying zoning. Frankly, I expect that zoning and lack of urban design guidelines are bigger culprits here than Kroger.

    • EDG

      Great line about planning/zoning: “In fact, after 1945, urban planning became one of the methods through which capitalism could be managed and the interests of developers and corporations could be administered.”

    • I think we have actually been quite critical and challenging of all sorts of products. Just this month we panned the conceptual design for MetroWest in Lower Price Hill. We have challenged all sorts of developers, corporations and city policies. The reason we do this is because we can ask and demand something better. Right now the system is broken.

    • Brian H

      Fair enough in re: the system being broken (when has it not been?), but this article feels like an attack and not a critique. It’s ironic to point out their lack of participation in food desert conversations without pointing out how instrumental they have been with supporting the Freestore Foodbank. Pointing out that things are broken is much easier than pointing out ways to improve the system. What are your suggestions? Shaming Kroger might be one way (your editorial here), but what are the other components, if it is indeed the entire system that is broken? I suggested zoning as a potential culprit…would you not agree? When Kroger does rebuild downtown, don’t you think the city’s form-based codes will give us a better store? Why not hold other grocers feet to the fire for NOT opening up a store downtown?

    • charles ross

      Other grocers? Marsh? IGA? Thriftway? Oh wait….

    • Chas Wiederhold

      Urban stores aren’t new to Kroger. They have urban stores across the US. Urban stores locally are new to Kroger. I think a better editorial would compare the local Kroger division to divisions that are building urban stores. What is it that keeps the local division from acting? What demographic models are they using that aren’t supporting the case for investment. I am not criticizing your editorial for its content, it’s just, you haven’t proposed anything new. You haven’t asked any new questions.

    • EDG

      Communities get the design they deserve. There is a focus on traditional design in Short North, Kroger didn’t just volunteer to build their grade-a store.

    • reggie98ud

      Why should Kroger fork out a ton of money on stores that have high rates of vandalism and high loss rates due to theft/shoplifting? It is all about ROI and if that isn’t high enough then there is no motivation for Kroger to build/refurbish the new store. It also has to do with the local neighborhood/city leaders. We have a store here in Dayton in the urban sector that was slated to be replaced with a beautiful new store complete with a gas station and possible expansion for more local investment/businesses. Neighborhood and city leaders caused so many problems it became too much of a hassle for Kroger and they scrapped the idea.

    • EDG

      This vandalism logic was refuted above, and I’m sorry that Dayton is the Flint of Ohio. Urban neighborhoods should be more than a collection of commodities.

    • reggie98ud

      It isn’t just the vandalism, that is only one part of the “perfect storm” or a combination of all of the issues I referenced that gives companies pause before building in an area. Dayton isn’t all that bad, that area is just one example. There are groups working on revitalizing the Central Business District that are making great strides here. The problem is that some neighborhoods have to inject race into it and fight gentrification because they don’t want “whitey” to come in and take over the neighborhood. That was paraphrased from an actual comment on a news story from a couple of years ago in the Dayton Daily News about the Kroger I referenced. My point is, why is it Kroger’s responsibility to have to deal with this negativity when the city won’t do anything about it?

    • Neil Clingerman

      Youngstown is more like it, but Dayton is not exactly a lively place with underutilized assets, its got a very steep hill to climb if its to revitalize itself.

    • TOSWITW

      This. So much this. Do any of you have any idea how much it costs to build a NEW building?

      To Chas’s point. You’re so quick to complain- where are your solutions?

    • reggie98ud

      I’m not complaining, I’m defending Kroger against this hit piece disguised as an “opinion” article. The solution is found in areas like the Short North Columbus store posted elsewhere on this thread where you find a nice new store that was brought about by local involvement and support that made it a smart business move for Kroger. In the absence of this type of support (like in OTR and my Dayton example) it does not make good business sense for Kroger to sink a bunch of money into a new/updated store. The problem is that it isn’t Kroger’s job to “force” the neighborhood to want the new store, that has to fall on local neighborhood/city leaders, something that is not addressed in the article.

    • TOSWITW

      Sorry! No, that second comment was to Randy. I think you and I (Reggie) agree on this. 🙂

    • EDG

      CR has already built urban stores. Is the DAAP involvement simply PR/community engagement?

    • Chas Wiederhold

      I don’t think so. My capstone studio directly contributed to the redesigned Euclid Ave store in Lexington and 2 of my classmates were hired by Kroger after we graduated to work in their design department. I think they are listening, but are very slow to move. When they do an urban store in Cincinnati, they want it to be the piece de resistance.

    • EDG

      Rumor from surrounding property owners that Kroger is behind the mixed-use grocer and residential building on the surface lot at Walnut and Central that’s on the streetcar and will be their HQ showpiece store, rather than renovating the Vine St one.

    • TOSWITW

      There are actually several DAAP grads who’ve been working in the design department for years. It’s less about us designing them, and more about the cost.

    • reggie98ud

      In other words, that didn’t fit his agenda so he ignored it. Another case of Journalism at its finest!

    • Neil Clingerman

      This is an editorial not straight journalism.

    • reggie98ud

      If the author had learned anything in his COM 101 class, the best way to make a persuasive argument is to look at possible objections and refute them with your information. Not doing so makes it look like he is hiding something. Just like he didn’t address loss rates (theft/shoplifting), crime rates (vandalism/assault/mugging), neighborhood/city resistance, or a number of other factors that play into a project on the scale of building/refurbishing a new store. This was nothing but an attack piece against Kroger trying to use class warfare as the premise. As has been mentioned above, Kroger has built plenty of stores in “poor” areas but low income doesn’t mean trashy. There is a difference.

    • No, this was not an “attack piece” on Kroger. It is simply a critique that Kroger can do a better job when it comes to the design of their urban stores in Cincinnati, especially when they have shown that they can do so it other cities under similar circumstances. The fact that people are interpreting this editorial is a “hit piece” is baffling to me.

    • In addition to this being an editorial piece, this is also a detail that didn’t make the cut for the story along with many others. Could we have gone into the pros and cons of all of their area stores? Could we have compared how Kroger does to other national chains? We could have looked at a lot more, but wanted to keep the editorial focused on the topic at hand. Thanks for reading.

  • EDG

    The #1 reason is because most Cincy municipalities are hesitant to even appear to push back against them because they are a local company. Also, lets be honest, there are few places outside of the city where there is urbanism and a community with strong design control- Mariemont, Wyoming and Bellevue come to mind.

    This is may favorite urban Kroger, an adaptive reuse project in Grosse Pointe’s The Village- http://www.colerussell.com/expertise/all/kroger,-grosse-pointe-detroit/?r=18

  • Jeff Hanneken

    Meanwhile, in Columbus:

    • reggie98ud

      This store is in a neighborhood that won’t trash the store which is why it was built this way. If the urban Cincinnati neighborhoods and the people that lived in them would frequent the stores without having the vandalism and high rate of theft then maybe Kroger will put some money into those locations.

    • Neil Clingerman

      Don’t feed the anti-urban troll.

    • reggie98ud

      I’m not anti-urban. I lived in Dayton proper for many years. Now, Dayton isn’t really what one normally thinks of when they say urban but it fits the definition. I was pulling for the new Kroger that was planned to be built in Dayton but city and neighborhood leaders derailed the project and the “Scary Kroger” that was supposed to be replaced is still there. Sometimes, it isn’t Kroger who is holding back on the new stores.

    • Asha K. Self

      hmm… these two sides of you are interesting… fascinating….

    • reggie98ud

      Get a job troll!

    • This store was actually a replacement Kroger for a very dilapidated Kroger store for that very reason Reggie. Located just outside the Short North Arts district, it borders the low income neighborhood of Weinland Park. Kroger’s investment at this location has greatly improved this area aesthetically, and they provide a much higher quality service than the previous store. They employ at least 2 security officers at the doors during all hours, and their aquisition of the nearby liquor license also provides a much cleaner and safer environment for locals to shop.

    • reggie98ud

      Agreed, the whole area has improved a lot over the years. That says more about the residents of the neighborhood and proves my point. A neighborhood can be low income without being dangerous or crime ridden. It ins’t Kroger fighting against low income, it is an investment based on the ROI they will get by building a new store. The neighborhoods in the article are not know for taking care of their local businesses and it is likely that the stores already there experience a very high loss rate to shoplifting, etc. That will play more of a roll in Kroger’s decision than if the neighborhood is poor or not. This is still a business, Kroger doesn’t owe any of these areas anything.

    • This Kroger is on the edge of the gentrification of the Short North Arts district into the Weinland Park/OSU Campus area. I’m not sure how you have proven your point this neighborhood is low income but not crime ridden. Last year, just in the area this Kroger is located, there were reported: 263 thefts, 121 home burglaries, 57 robberies, 41 grand theft autos, 11 commercial burglaries, and 6 aggravated assaults (Columbus Dispatch) I do agree, however, it is a calculated business development decision to in turn generate revenue and profits; Especially when there was a need for a large grocery store and its ability to serve multiple neighborhoods based on its unique location. I can just say I am happy to see that it was a success in my neighborhood.

    • Steve Weide

      This also says a lot about how people react. When you give them a crappy store, they will treat it like crap. The OTR Kroger is the perfect example. People treat it like crap because it is crap. Anyone who wants something better will avoid it entirely and everyone else doesn’t care about it because it obviously doesn’t care about the neighborhood. Replace it with a store that is nice and fits in with the urban aesthetic and you will not only attract more and better clientele, most of your clientele will treat the store better. This will help lift the entire neighborhood and will ultimately help the store even more.

    • reggie98ud

      I’d love it if that worked but OTR has a bad history that is going to require a higher expected ROI before Kroger invests in the upgrade. With the streetcar going in, there may be more reason to upgrade but unfortunately, OTR’s history works against them.

    • Alicia Wamsley

      I live in Mt Auburn, in-between the OTR location and the Corryville location, and yet I shop at neither. The selection at either location is so poor that there is little I would buy, at either. I drive to Hyde Park and Newport IN A DIFFERENT STATE to get the selection I require. I’m not an aberration, there are MANY MANY other people that are taking their money to other townships and even states in this case, because their neighborhood Kroger is so terrible. There is a market for Kroger in these neighborhoods, it’s just driving really far to shop at better locations.

    • reggie98ud

      You say different state like you are going hours out of your way when in reality Newport may be 15 minutes out of your way from OTR depending on traffic. It isn’t that there aren’t people who want to shop there, it is the long history of all the negatives in OTR that is keeping Kroger from making any changes. Like I said, maybe with the streetcar things will turn around but it isn’t Kroger’s responsibility to fix up the neighborhoods.

    • Neil Clingerman

      but it is Kroger’s responsibility to make their hometown a desirable place for people to live so they can attract talent…

    • reggie98ud

      Kroger can only do so much, the rest is up to the city/neighborhood. Maybe if some of these municipalities weren’t so hostile to Kroger would be more involved. There are also building codes/regulations for each municipality that Kroger has to follow which could restrict their ability to expand on their designs. Just because Columbus allows a certain type of store does not mean that Cincinnati’s building codes, especially ones that could apply to “historic” buildings. There are so many variables that go into the decision that is is irresponsible to place the blame squarely on Kroger by themselves.

    • Neil Clingerman

      Kroger has enough clout and power in Cincinnati that they could probably circumvent a lot of these rules if they wanted to.

    • reggie98ud

      Possibly, most likely depends on the cost. If too high, Kroger may just elect to go with what is allowed even if it isn’t as pretty.

    • charles ross

      Actually, it is. Every resident and property owner is responsible for their community and major landholders and influencers are that much more responsible. Kroger’s super-block buildings that turn a big bare brick ass to the sidewalk and big-box abandonments (Kennedy Heights anyone?) have certainly detracted from neighborhoods, just as the positive influence of good design could contribute to neighborhoods.

    • Evelyn Van Til

      To clarify, Weinland Park is from 5th Ave to 11th Ave and High Street to Grant. Kroger is in Weinland Park AND branded as the Short North Kroger.

      Weinland Park IS Historic Short North…eponymous Short North Posse; although, racism has frequently excluded WP from being thought of as the “Short North Arts District,” we are working on that. WP is ALSO part of the University District and the New Indianola Historic District, which is a designated historic zone because we have the oldest original intact streetcar suburb in the United States.

      When we surveyed every 3rd house in the area known as Weinland Park, we asked participants what they called the area where they lived. 49% of respondents said “The Short North,” 21% said “University/Campus,” 13% said “Weinland Park.” So, this is the sign in front of that Kroger.

    • Jeff Hanneken

      This stretch of High Street was not very nice when this store was built. The new Kroger was a catalyst for transforming the area: http://www.designinglocal.com/greatkroger/

      Here’s a “before” shot of what OSU students used to affectionately call “Kroghetto”: http://www.designinglocal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/KROGERBEFORE1.png

    • reggie98ud

      We have one here in Dayton too that is the same way except for a couple of significant differences. First, while this Kroger pictured was run down, it does not look like it has been vandalized nor the houses behind it look like a “ghetto.” While there may be security guards posted there, I’m going to guess their loss rate is relatively low. I’m also going to guess that there was neighborhood/city support for this project, that makes a huge difference.

      On the other hand; there is a Kroger on Wayne Ave. in Dayton that’s in a much worse neighborhood that what is shown in this picture that UD students have called “Scary Kroger” for years. It has a high rate of vandalism both of Kroger property and vehicles in the lot. It also has a high loss rate. Despite that Kroger did try to replace it with an update facility complete with a gas station but the city and neighborhood fought it so Kroger just left the one that was there.

      Each store has its own story and taking Kroger to task because of a few selected stores the author cherry picked is lazy, especially when the author ignores information that contradicts his opinion. Just because a neighborhood if low income does not mean that it is trashy, there is a big difference.

    • monica

      Agreed. I shop king soopers out West, and can’t say enough about the great people they hire and the neighborhoods they stay in. Think Wayne ave is scary? Try the Springfield oh 72 store. Kudos to that manager, his staff went out of his way many times to help out, I shopped there to help support it and tip employees that needed it. (And they always deserved it)
      Cincy wants an urban palace? Donate the land, and help them pursue new market tax credits.

    • reggie98ud

      Yeah, I work in Springfield near that Kroger and it looks a little dicey from the outside but like you said, good people on the inside.

    • charles ross

      Walnut Hills – same story. Outside scary (less so now) but inside – Mayberry. Especially as compared to Corryville!

    • Asha K. Self

      hmm… so you are a bit different in real life… that is a bit reassuring…. a bit

    • reggie98ud

      Troll!

    • reggie98ud

      Yeah, I work in Springfield near that Kroger and it looks a little dicey from the outside but like you said, good people on the inside.

    • MrsKrause

      Actually, the Columbus store is near the OSU campus and that area has quite a bit of vandalism and probably a similar rate of theft as most urban stores. There is also a store a mile away in the Clintonville area. This is considered the “nicer” neighborhood but the Kroger store there is not great.

    • reggie98ud

      Because of its proximity to OSU, it is likely that this store’s profits are significantly higher and warranted the upgrade. Again it is all about the ROI. If Kroger won’t get enough extra profit out of the upgrade to make it worth the cost, they probably won’t build it. I am operating off of complete conjecture here but that is usually how companies make decisions like these.

    • Alicia Wamsley

      This point makes the Corryville location a prime candidate for renovation. It’s the primary grocery outlet for the student body of the University of Cincinnati. Bringing this location up to snuff would benefit Kroger and UC alike.

    • reggie98ud

      Again, there are more factors that go in to the decision, proximity to UC is only one point. There could be a lot of other issues that keep that Kroger from being renovated. That is my entire point, this article picks on Kroger without investigating all of the factors that go into the decisions.

    • reggie98ud

      Again, there are more factors that go in to the decision, proximity to UC is only one point. There could be a lot of other issues that keep that Kroger from being renovated. That is my entire point, this article picks on Kroger without investigating all of the factors that go into the decisions.

    • charles ross

      Rent a Center’s lease is the ONLY thing holding back the renovation. It was slated for 2011.

    • reggie98ud

      Sometimes that is all it takes. That was the same problem here in Dayton with the Wayne Ave. Kroger. They needed to buy one house to make the land the size they needed and the city went in and tried “blight” it. The owners got pissed, fought the city in court and won. The refused to sell to Kroger even though Kroger specifically stated that they had nothing to do with the city’s attempts and offered significantly more than the property was worth. The whole project fell apart after that.

    • matimal

      and a large surface parking lot.

  • Albert Pyle

    As I recall, this is the Kroger where Rodney McMullen worked as a stockboy. It’s in the heart of a genuinely walkable neighborhood.

  • Kendall Jolley

    I actually got a bit jealous of Cleveland yesterday looking at pictures of their new Heinen’s grocery in the Ameritrust Rotunda building. I’m hoping whatever is getting planned for Race St by Findlay Market is at least a little clever. I’ve also been massively underwhelmed by the Corryville plans, but that seems typical for the architecture coming out of the Uptown Consortium of late.

    • Neil Clingerman

      More people should be critical of the Uptown Consortium, while they have brought economic development to Uptown its come at great cost to Cincinnati’s unique and potentially desireable aesthetics.

    • EDG

      Yeah, Uptown Consortium is essentially the chamber of commerce for the uptown institutions. It’s not a design voice or even a community voice.

  • Mark Christol

    Any idea if Kroger is having success with their Ultra Vending machines?
    As I look around, I see co-ops taking over the old groceries (or trying) in Clifton, Northside, College Hill & more. If that happens, Kroger might compete or just abandon the old neighborhoods completely.
    Or install vending machines…

  • Justin Hoffman

    I recently relocated to Dallas but still follow UrbanCincy!
    My local Kroger is in a mixed use development that includes apartments, gym, & parking structure. This area has changed a lot in the past couple years; the Uptown neighborhood across the highway has become the hottest rental market in Dallas and there is light rail stop across the street.
    As a recent UC grad, I wish we had something like this in Clifton. Unfortunately the current model is real estate and rental markets are driving the best design to the priciest areas.
    I don’t see a reason why Kroger wouldn’t want to use Cincinnati as a test market for smaller, urban stores a la Trader Joes & Whole Foods. Between Downtown, OTR, & Clifton there is a lot of demand for this type of grocery.
    https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=32.806755,-96.786783&spn=0.000018,0.016512&t=h&z=17&layer=c&cbll=32.805876,-96.788753&panoid=Il9KTWveceXPQdod-I0APA&cbp=12,323.6,,0,-0.97

  • Marc Raab

    Thank you Randy for calling out one of Cincinnati’s corporate titans. Its been long overdue.

    Kroger seems content on ramming their mega box stores down the throats of this cities residents, while blatantly ignoring the voices of its residents. West Chester and Union, KY residents keep fighting to keep these awful mega stores from ruining their communities, yet several city neighborhoods have been begging Kroger to come there, to no avail. It’s disgusting to see a big corporation treat its hometown so bad.

    In the neighborhoods that are “lucky” enough to have a Krogers, we are given buildings that look more like a penitentiary than urban grocer. My neighborhood Krogers- in Mount Washington- is a prime example. Because Krogers was unable to buy the local bank that sits square in the middle of Krogers property, they decided to flex their corporate muscle and surround the building with their development. Instead of adding to the community, they gave Mount Washington the middle finger. Sitting on a great corner lot, in a neighborhood that is very walkable, they could have been the anchor of the NBD. Instead they are an eyesore. It’s probably no coincidence that Mount Washington has been in a steady decline since this building was erected. Car based developments in high density areas are just sickening.

    The new mega Krogers in Oakley is another example of Kroger screwing Cincinnati. Nobody asked for this development. Heck, there are 6 grocers within a few miles of this new Krogers. Yet Krogers will build a big square store in one of Cincinnatis great neighborhoods, with lots of fun surface parking lots to keep people driving.

    Krogers is an employer in this town, and little more. Maybe its time I start better supporting Findlay Market and farmers markets, as well as the premium options we have in this city, like Avril Bleh, Shadeau Breads, etc. I am ready to give Krogers the same indifferent treatment they have been applying to our city for decades.

  • Matt Jacob

    I think it’s more a function of the developers that Kroger partners with in Cincinnati that are determining its stores’ form. Look at what surrounds the new Oakley location owned by the same developer, for example. Other areas of the country with public transportation (and therefore the transit oriented development that surrounds it) have developers that are more willing and experienced in offering these better mixed-use designs. It’s another reason you see similar bad store designs in places like Columbus, also with developers without these types of experiences.

  • finnitastic

    If you don’t see the need for a new Oakley store you have never shopped at the Hyde Park Kroger. You cannot move in the store because it is so overcrowded. It attracts shoppers from Hyde Park, Oakley, Pleasant Ridge, Mt. Lookout, etc. The demand is there to fill at least two more stores, let alone one.

    • One reason there are so many people at the Hyde Park store is that people from other neighborhoods

    • EDG

      When I briefly lived carless in Hyde Park, it was a strenuous effort to shop at that Kroger since it’s so far north on the border of HP and Oakley. Yes, they have neighborhood stores but most of them are not walkable as they don’t fall within or near most of the neighborhood business districts like the examples of urban krogers elsewhere where the design AND siting is good.

    • finnitastic

      I mentioned the other neighborhoods in my comment. That’s exactly why there is a need for another Kroger nearby. It’s not necessarily that there are not other stores in other neighborhoods, it’s that there are not Kroger stores in those neighborhoods. For example, I live in Pleasant Ridge and shop at Hyde Park Kroger or sometimes the Blue Ash Kroger near my office. We have an atrocious Remke at Highland Ridge (which routinely stocks out-of-date items), a Target, and a Meijer. Having shopped at all of those stores, I still vastly prefer Kroger for both price and quality, not to mention the fuel rewards program.

      I would guess that it’s not exactly cost-effective to build a bunch of small stores in each individual neighborhood rather than a few strategically-placed marketplace stores. And Hyde Park and Oakley are somewhat walkable neighborhoods, but not anything like OTR or the like.

      It’s also not clear that a ton of people want to walk to the grocery store. I think you are looking at one small-segment of the population who choose to go to the grocery for a few items multiple times per week, on an as-needed basis. I just don’t think most people shop that way. Many people would rather make a large trip once every couple weeks, and maybe supplement here and there for odds and ends in between. You can’t make the once every couple weeks trip without a car, unless you are just going to steal a cart and take it home with you.

    • EDG

      Well they threatened to close that store as part of the Oakley station discussion, so that reinforces travis’ comment. They’re competing with WalMart while also trying to maintain a prescense in each neighborhood, not a good recipe for design. And lets be honest, that whole Oakley station/center of cincy development is garbage.

      Also, what’s the return on the Wasson Way investment if the HP Kroger never redevelops? Seems like another site where an urban building would make sense since everything around that intersection is urban and the chain restaurants have complied. Right now it’s just a better, newer version of the E Price Hill store’s relationship to the business district.

    • finnitastic

      As far as the Oakley Station development goes, I am just glad to have a decent movie theater close to Pleasant Ridge.

    • Tyler

      Is that enough of a reason to compromise on how our city is built? And what about Kenwood Theater?

    • finnitastic

      Kenwood Theater is just so poorly run. I’ve had so many bad experiences there.

    • charles ross

      HP Kroger has one large side facing Wasson Way – they could have a sidewalk cafe/ bike rack area (RedBike?) there and folks with bike carts could shop and pedal a few bags home too. Absolutely huge amount of people along that way living on sidewalked streets from Oakley to Evanston a short bike ride away. Hmm, trying to think how many bike trails have I seen with a grocery right along the way….

  • Charlie1234

    I feel this editorial is pretty much spot on. You have to remember, Kroger is a huge publicly owned company. Public owned company has one goal, profits. They are consistently under pressure to keep profits up by the majority shareholders.
    That said, if the hometown doesn’t put any pressure on them to make an urban format store, they probably won’t. If there is competition for development rights with another store, say in downtown, and the city prefers the urban footprint of that competition store, then that would make them play the game. But it seems with Cranley taking out the grocery component on 4th and Race, Kroger gave them a ring and said, hold up, we want this market.
    Just for comparison, in Downtown Des Moines, IA, where the metro population is around 600 – 700 k, compared to Cincy’s 2.2 million, the large grocery there in Iowa and Nebraska, Hy-Vee, is making a very urban store. Keep in mind that Hy-Vee is a private company, which may make a difference as far as their decision making process, but still, Cincy can step their game up.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Geez. What percent of that parcel is actually occupied by a building? What a waste of space!

    I’m thankful that Downtown Los Angeles got a Ralphs (the SoCal arm of Kroger) located on the ground floor of a condo building. Rumor has it that the location is one of the top 15% best performing stores in the chain.

    [googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1422562189330!6m8!1m7!1sbk-czVHR3I1ku9dQ1Rmyhg!2m2!1d34.045364!2d-118.260788!3f341.0035782846597!4f0.46173050798284976!5f0.7820865974627469&w=400&h=300%5D

  • Alex Brideau III

    Geez. What percent of that parcel is actually occupied by a building? What a waste of space!

    I’m thankful that Downtown Los Angeles got a Ralphs (the Southern California arm of Kroger) located on the ground floor of a condo building. Rumor has it that the location is one of the top 15% best-performing stores in the chain.

    https://goo.gl/maps/hF7cv

  • Bennett Dowling

    I think there is also an insecurity among many Cincinnatians that tells us we should be happy with any redevelopment and that if we push back, any deals with fall through. We need to be confident in the value of our communities’ land and demand more from those who will alter them for the future with their design decisions. This is not a Kroger problem; it’s a planning problem. Those who approved the Oakley Station designs should be ashamed to have allowed Center of Cincinnati Mall, Oakley Station, and the auto-centric Crossroads Church inhabit land within a walkabe, livable community. Tsk tsk. I live in Clifton and am terribly concerned about a suburban style Corryville store (please not a Corryville station) that will actually be far worse for pedestrians than the failed design from midcentury.

  • EDG

    I bet this doesn’t happen at their Marketplace stores

    RCN: Improvements Made to Covington Kroger After Vegetable Shortage
    http://rcnky.com/articles/2015/01/30/improvements-made-covington-kroger-after-vegetable-shortage

  • minchicin

    So tired of this absurd narrative – big, bad company ignores community wishes because . . . greed and profits.
    Kroger obviously wants to maximize foot traffic and basket size in their stores. They have clearly found that, in many/most cases, a dollar spent on a functional benefit (e.g., size, selection, parking space, etc.) returns more than a dollar spent on design. Why? Because the community votes with their dollars – they indicate to Kroger what they want by what they buy, how much and how often, and Kroger gives them what they want because it makes more money. Really simple.
    It drives me nuts that people say there is no grocery to accommodate the residential boom in OTR – yes, there is. Right there on Vine St. If this influx of new residents showed Kroger, with their dollars instead of opinions, that they are willing to spend money there, then Kroger will surely adapt to the opportunity. But I’m sure that store continues to lose money – just like the Walnut Hills store – every single year.
    I choose to live in the city with my spouse and kids, but I have no problem driving to Hyde Park Kroger for groceries. Cincinnati is many years away from the population density needed to truly support significant investment in a grocery with a reasonable chance of long-term success. Wanting the situation to be different doesn’t change what it is.

    • Neil Clingerman

      On the flip side, Kroger has to have some degree of responsibility towards its hometown to give goodwill back to them. I realize its not profitable short term but Kroger should care about the desirability of its city so it can attract the best talent to their offices. Considering what they’ve contributed to 3CDC I’m sure they do care about these things – and it would be a good idea for them to improve the community that is literally on their doorstep to make them a more desirable and better company.

      Its also insane that places like Lexington or Columbus gets these sorts of concepts well before their hometown does which Kroger should have a vested interest in investing in – how many people actually WANT to go to Cincinnati after they graduated from X or Y prestigious coastal school? I’m sure there are problems with attracting talent and Kroger should view this as an investment just like they did with helping with establishing 3CDC.

    • minchicin

      A very reasonable and thoughtful reply, Neil – thank you for that 🙂
      Totally agree about the goodwill side and I think Kroger does this quite well, in general. I know for a fact that the Walnut Hills store loses considerable money year after year, but it would be a local PR problem if they actually closed that store. Target had the same situation when I was living in Minneapolis – they eventually closed the urban store, but had to be more transparent than they wanted to be in order to earn the public’s understanding of the decision. I think of the goodwill side as a form of real politik – again, you put your goodwill investments where you will get the greatest return – albeit more long-term, squishy and harder to measure.
      Just a hypothesis, but I think one of the reasons that cities like Lexington, Columbus and even Des Moines (mentioned in the article) get these investments is that they are more ‘true’ college towns. Cincinnati is a commuter college town to the extreme. Despite the fact that Cincinnati is bigger than Des Moines, for example, the latter has a greater density of people who do not commute and are thus beholden to the nearby grocery. Even though the population is transient, the structural factors are constant and favorable.

    • Neil Clingerman

      I need to dig up the numbers but I’m pretty sure that UC isn’t anywhere near as much of a “commuter school” as it used to be. Since I was there 10 years ago the student population has soared by ~10,000 students – as much as I am frustrated by the developments around campus there is a reason why they are happening it was a conscious plan by the neighborhood stakeholders and developers to get more students to live near campus – the demand is there and plenty of places are being built and the student population is dipping way deeper into Corryville than it used to. Just by walking around campus now versus when I was a student it feels a lot more like OSU in terms of the number of students out and about after hours than it did just 10 short years ago.

      From my perspective Cincinnati is a much stronger college town than it used to be, if anyone has numbers or data on that I’d be happy to back it up.

    • minchicin

      I have been able to piece some data together on this. According to Sallie Mae, approx. 38% of undergrads at 4-yr colleges live at home. From the OH Board of Regents, 40% of UC’s students are commuters. From Xavier’s records, approx. 63% of Xavier students are commuters. These numbers aren’t entirely apples-to-apples, but UC is roughly average and XU is a heavy commuter school.

    • Neil Clingerman

      Thanks! Do you have historic data from 10 years ago to compare against?

    • charles ross

      Both schools are behind huge housing build-ups in the last 5 years. X is adding housing all the way from Woodburn to Montgomery Road just in 2014.

  • Jayson Morris

    I work at the Covington Kroger and that is one of the oldest store in Northern Kentucky.. When can that Kroger get remolded?

  • globalrhizome

    I moved from Cincinnati to Kansas City a little over a year ago. The population density of KC’s urban core seems to be far lower that Cincinnati’s. Nevertheless, they have this excellent grocery store downtown: https://www.hei-eng.com/Portfolio/Project/CosentinosDowntownMarket and a high-rise residential building is now going up next door: http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/development/io3itb/picture2052163/ALTERNATES/FREE_960/One%20Light%20Tower_Updated%209-2014.jpg

  • Dave

    I have absolutely no data or information to support this, but I wonder if Findley Market is effecting Kroger’s decision to build/renovate a larger downtown store with concerns that it will pull too much business from the market.

  • Ted B

    don’t forget the horrible store in covington Ky

  • thebillshark

    The Corryville Kroger sits at the intersection of three neighborhoods: Clifton Heights, Corryville and Mt. Auburn. The design of the new site should be welcoming to pedestrians coming from each neighborhood. Instead the plans have regressed over the years from trying to accomplish this to something very auto oriented: http://www.uc.edu/cdc/images/community_projects/environment/univ_plaza/univ_plaza_redev_hist.pdf Disclaimer: I don’t know if the plans have been updated since this document was created in 2008. Someone pointed me to this document on another discussion board several months ago.

  • keetz44 .

    This article is interesting. Kroger owns QFC here in Seattle. Here is the entry to their urban store in W. Seattle:

    https://www.google.com/maps/@47.561309,-122.385474,3a,75y,92h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s4WkDBlqLpB43Fhe0CjU_Mg!2e0?hl=en

  • keetz44 .

    Posted once……..not sure it got thru but to add to the Krogers list…….here is an urban QFC store, owned by Kroger, in W. Seattle:

    https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQYEDEbzkTeEkKe-zPwrxgOf4T57GgfbnnfoCW6tGGq4F9emFLZ