Saturday, September 6, 2003

Council support

Thumbs up: Kroger deal

The formal vote isn't until next week, but an informal head count of Cincinnati City Council finds at least five votes for the $12 million deal that will ensure Kroger Co. keeps its corporate headquarters downtown.

Council members John Cranley, Jim Tarbell and David Pepper always supported the plan, and now David Crowley and Chris Monzel say they support it as well.

The deal calls for the city to spend $12 million building a parking garage on a Kroger-owned lot on Central Parkway. Kroger will pay the city $500,000 per year for 850 spaces in the facility. The city gets to keep anything the garage brings in beyond that, including fees for nights and weekends. Kroger will sell one third of the lot to the city for $1 million, on which the city will develop condominiums. Kroger will throw in a $20,000 marketing study for College Hill, where it recently closed a store.

So the country's 18th largest company stays downtown and the city gets rent for the garage (not to mention the earnings taxes from Kroger's 1,200 downtown employees). The city develops needed housing and parking on a key piece of property. And College Hill gets its study. Sounds like a good deal for everybody.

How come the other four members of council can't see it?

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