No Kroger coming to Wayne and Wyoming

Who says Kroger has to be the only player to put a store at Wayne and Wyoming?

This is the press release that the City just issued.

City Announces New Strategy for Wayne & Wyoming Redevelopment Project

Release Date:   Friday, December12, 2008

Contact:           Shelley Dickstein, Assistant City Manager, 333-3636
Amy Walbridge, Special Projects Administrator, 333-3813
Keith Klein, Senior Development Specialist, 333-3812

Officials from the City of Dayton today announced that the Wayne & Wyoming Project will not be moving forward as previously planned, but a new redevelopment strategy will be created. Dayton City Manager Rashad Young has sent letters to more than 60 property owners within the project area near the Wayne Avenue and Wyoming Street intersection to inform them of changes to a proposed redevelopment project originally sought by the Kroger Company.

According to Young, officials from The Kroger Company revealed earlier this month that the company had decided not to build a new 76,000 square foot store at the northeast corner of the intersection due to the declining economy and their latest market projections.

In November, 2007, the City had announced plans to work in partnership with the Midland Atlantic development company and The Kroger Company to assemble the 12.25-acre site needed to replace the current Wayne Avenue store with a larger facility at the corner of Wayne & Wyoming Streets.  In March, 2008, the City began contacting property owners to negotiate purchase prices for their respective properties.

According to Shelley Dickstein, Assistant City Manager for Strategic Development, the City successfully acquired control of all but two of the properties in the project area by obtaining signed Option Agreements and acquiring eight foreclosed properties.   The City also made substantial financial commitments and offered significant incentives to facilitate the project.

Dickstein stated, “The community did everything we asked of them, and the City has done everything that we could to facilitate this project.
We are committed to helping this neighborhood and we will continue our efforts to redevelop the area.”

In response to the decision by The Kroger Company, the City is creating a “Plan B” strategy for addressing the redevelopment of the Wayne & Wyoming area, in order to address some of the issues within the Twin Towers neighborhood.   As a first step, the foreclosed properties acquired by the City are now being demolished.

Young emphasized that the City is still considering other options for redeveloping the area.  The City will be meeting privately with impacted property owners later this month to discuss next steps. City staff are also planning a public meeting that will take place in January, 2009 to provide further details of the new strategy.   The City will seek approval from participating property owners to enter into a new Option Agreement that will carry through December 31, 2009.  The additional time will allow the City to explore every possible redevelopment opportunity for the site.

Young said, “While we are very disappointed in Kroger’s decision, it is the City’s intention to continue working on behalf of the affected property owners to find alternative solutions to the issues facing the neighborhood. It is unfortunate that the real victims in this situation are the citizens who are eager for a first-class development for their community.”

The question is now, how much did the City invest in pursuing this Kroger/Midland Atlantic pipe dream, and how much are we going to get paid back for them not following through?

What do we do with an area we decimated- by calling it “blighted” and pursuing a red herring?

Plan B better be better than the non-existent plan A.

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