Friday, April 18, 2003

Growth attracts another Kroger

Firm to put second one in Cold Spring

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

COLD SPRING - It's rare to find a grocery chain with two stores in a town of only 4,000 people.

But that's what Kroger will soon have here, as the company tries to capitalize on one of the fastest-growing areas in Northern Kentucky.

From 1990 to 2000, Cold Spring's population jumped 32 percent. Nearby Highland Heights rose 55 percent, while Alexandria increased 16 percent.

With a store already on the northeast side of Cold Spring on Martha Layne Collins Boulevard, Kroger will now try to attract more business from the southern region of Campbell County, along with Pendleton and Bracken counties.

The new superstore will be built at U.S. 27 and the AA Highway. Plans were approved this past week by the Cold Spring Planning and Zoning Commission.

"I guess you could say we're being found out," said Cold Spring Mayor Mark Stoeber. "Cold Spring is a wonderful residential community, and businesses are looking for that."

The 70,000-square-foot building will be made of stone, brick, and glass, and will employ about 250 people. The store will have a pharmacy and a florist.

Stoeber projects the city will receive $30,000-$40,000 annually in tax revenues from Kroger.

It's another one of the many projects in progress or recently completed at the U.S. 27/AA Highway intersection that is transforming the area into a popular destination for consumers.

The development began four years ago, after the city changed the zoning of the intersection from residential real estate to multi-use planned development.

Meijer Inc. wasted no time opening a store and gas station on the northwest corner in 1999. Ruby Tuesday opened a restaurant in front of Meijer this year.

O'Charley's Restaurant & Lounge sits on the southeast corner. Kohl's department store is under construction behind O'Charley's, while the new Kroger will be built next to Kohl's. Kroger has not set an opening date.

A Longhorn Steakhouse was also approved by the planning and zoning commission and will be built next to O'Charley's.

The southeast corner complex will also contain a strip shopping center, office building, and 228 upscale apartments. Rent for an apartment will be between $750 and $1,000.

"We bought the land two years ago, and everything is almost coming in line with our first-stage plan with the retail, offices, restaurants, and apartments," said Greg Land, a partner with CMC Properties, the project developer. "I think this will be a real exciting part of Northern Kentucky."

Meijer - which sells an array of products, including, food, clothing, home goods, and computer software - is looking forward to competing with its new neighbors.

"This store is doing real well. It's a great location and great community," said Cold Spring Meijer store director Roy Smith.

"Competition is always healthy. It will help to keep us on our toes."

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