Wayne Ave Kroger- Round 2?

The city hosted an informational meeting about the Wayne/Wyoming Kroger location tonight at Twin Towers Place. Shelly Dickstein did an admirable job trying to be polite, and project an air of confidence to a crowd numbering around 100. A large contingent from South Park was there, but surprisingly- of the 65 owners of the 89 parcels- only 15 were in attendance and only 3 were owner occupants.

Noticeably missing- any one from Kroger or Midland Atlantic.

Somehow- they don’t seem to get it- or just enjoy watching the city do their bitch work for them. Apparently, I was quite out of place asking the following questions:

  • Has the city talked to other grocers about the location- or a smaller footprint store (or asked Kroger to go with a smaller store).
  • Has the city offered the same financial support to competition?
  • Has the city looked at other locations for Kroger competitors?
  • Has the city learned anything from the failed Midland/Atlantic attempt to aggregate the properties 4 years ago?
  • How much has the city asked for in earnest money from either Kroger or Midland/Atlantic?
  • Is the city prepared to go after Kroger for the neighborhood devaluation caused by their failed attempt and no earnest money offers from 4 years ago?

Apparently- we’re not supposed to question them.

When residents asked about financial assistance programs for relocation, back taxes and assessments, interest rate assistance (they may have fixed 5.25% loans on current homes- and can’t qualify for an 8% variable now because of the sub-prime crisis)- they were offered no concrete answers. Hardly an inspiring pep talk.

As in the Arcade, the Arcade Tower, the Cit Fed tower- the city still doesn’t seem to have a clue about how to effectively do a real estate deal. Reality is- they shouldn’t be in this business in the first place. If they are going to try to be developers- they should hire real developers to do the work. I like Ms. Dickstein- but she doesn’t seem to have the skills to pull this off without taking one in the keister.

I’ve presented ideas previously on this subject on this site- I don’t see any change in the position. We’ll still have hold-outs, and we won’t have a way to address them.

In the mean time, Kroger sits back comfortably, in their current shit-hole location, paying month-to-month rent, giving a substandard Kroger experience while the taxpayers get hosed. Make them put up some cash- or sue them for causing the decline of a neighborhood and get on with it.

Have we really asked Target, Meijer, WalMart if they are willing to do a small market urban store on the location? Have we offered them $3 million? I don’t think we have- and that’s part of the reason this deal ain’t going to happen anytime soon.

What do you think? Watch tomorrow’s Dayton Daily for an article- with a probable quote from me.

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10 Responses

  1. Jeff November 16, 2007 / 6:40 pm
    The DDN has some coverage of Kroger pulling out of their Gettysburg location as well as on W&W. The loss of the Gettysburg super means a substatial part of the city now has reduced access to grocery shopping.

    This is a very big deal if one doesn’t have a car. Or if one is forced to either take a bus or drive a far piece out to suburbia to go shopping for basics like grocerys.

    I have a lengthy post on the “food desert/grocery gap” concept at Daytonlogy, how the issue goes beyond convenience and affects nutrition, and how Chicago is dealing with the problem (with links to policy sources and research).

    This is (or should be) a big issue for Dayton in general (though it’s not recognized as one here), not just @ Wayne and Wyoming. I guess the reason folks aren’t bitching about this more is that they are used to the hassle of having to travel miles out of the way for basics like grocerys.

    As for the question about recruiting another chain or smaller store, there are supers that specialize in urban markets and have smaller floorplates. Delray Farms and Butera up in Chicago are two, but I think they are limited to just Chicagoland.

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  2. Drexel Dave November 17, 2007 / 8:31 am
    What do you mean by “You were quite out of place asking the following questions”?

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  3. David Esrati November 17, 2007 / 9:21 am

    I was chastised for not being a good sheep- apparently I missed the rules that they laid down in the first meeting (I was out of town on business).
    Also- DDN didn’t use my quote- sigh.

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  4. Drexel Dave November 17, 2007 / 11:47 am
    Did someone actually suggest that you should say baaaaaah or the equivalent? Who was this person and what exactly did they say?

    What rules were in place that they laid down at the first meeting?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  5. David Esrati November 17, 2007 / 12:21 pm

    I don’t know what the rules were at the first meeting- I wasn’t there.
    No one actually said I should be a sheep-
    but, Shelly was running the meeting like a White House Press Secretary.
    Follow up questions were often deflected, ignored or tangentalized.

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  6. Drexel Dave November 17, 2007 / 4:47 pm
    So far it sounds like:

    1. You should have done more research in advance.

    2. You’re more upset over the style of how someone ran a meeting than anything else (and yes, the bureaucrat types in Dayton can be more than frustrating).

    3. You’re still a good guy who means well and is a thinker, and we need a lot more people like that.

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  7. David Esrati November 17, 2007 / 6:03 pm

    Uh- research? I thought that’s what meetings were for- to answer questions.
    No- not frustrated over style- but frustrated by lack of substance. No real plan.
    How about:
    After the 2 appraisals and negotiations- owner occupants will be given options on a 4% fixed rate mortgage for similar properties in the city.
    Moving expenses will be paid.
    Any assessments due the city based on deferred maintenance will be forgiven if offers are accepted within 15 days of offer.
    All tenants will be given 120 days to relocate, free moving expenses within city limits, and landlords may keep rent during that period- if acceptance of offer within 15 days.
    Those are concrete plans to move this thing forward.
    How about answers on what other grocers they have discussed this parcel with?
    Have they talked to Meijer, WalMart, Target etc about an urban store?

    Those are real questions- before my tax dollars are spent on subsidizing a billion dollar company.

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  8. Drexel Dave November 17, 2007 / 7:05 pm
    Yeah, but if rules are established saying only this or that will be discussed, and you only want to discuss that stuff over there, then yeah, they are within’ their rights and yeah, you should have researched that beforehand or either found out about it when you got there and had to live with the “it is what it is” reality.

    Sometimes meetings are for answering questions. Other times they are only for reporting a certain thing on a certain subject. It all depends.

    And yes, all of your questions are quite valid. I think another good interview of a city official with all of those questions ala the DaytonOS thing with Joe Lacy would be a great idea. I would love to film one, but need to procure a decent tripod first.

    Skipping topics a bit: Where is anyone coming up with the idea that the Wayne Ave. Kroger is shitty? I’ve always found the store clean, the employees friendly (except for one time I had a little tiff with a worker there). That’s out of literally hundreds of visits.

    90 percent of the world would think they’ve landed in a paradise of abundance were they to walk into the Wayne Avenue Kroger. Our orgy of consumeristic excess in this country has really skewed our views.

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  9. Karen E. November 18, 2007 / 11:34 am
    I too think the Wayne Ave Kroger gets bashed undeservedly. I prefer that store to Pinewood and I can usually get in and out of the Wayne Ave store quickly. I am concerned that the big store Kroger wants to put in will be in direct competition with Walgreens and Rite Aid and eventually lead to another empty building — two steps forward, one step back. The neighborhood is already well-served with pharmacys and stores supplying the things Kroger stocks in the middle of their big stores that aren’t groceries. A smaller store would serve well or kroger could use that space to cater to the kind of shoppers Woody’s used to serve or that Jungle Jim’s serves in Cincinnati, or be the store in Dayton for people who want to shop organic and/or local.

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  10. David Esrati November 18, 2007 / 2:34 pm

    The Wayne ave Kroger is showing its age. The number one thing that grosses me out is how dirty the hand baskets are. There is a quote in marketing from an airline president- “if there is a coffee ring on the tray table, people think we don’t do the engine maintenance right”- same applies to the Wayne Ave Kroger.
    And I too, prefer the size of our store to the size of the Dorothy Lane store-
    in fact- I look at Dorothy Lane Market in Oakwood as a model for an efficiently sized store for an urban site.
    I’ve thought they should excavate the parking lot- built a new store at sidewalk level, all the way back to the cemetery- and have parking on top. Voila- instant bigger store- same site – it can be done. It could be built in phases so that the current store could stay open.
    The reason for the huge site isn’t the store- it’s the development deal. Midland Atlantic has rights to the out-buildings, and that is where they get their cash. Ditch those- and the gas station (or put it on the old Kroger lot) and voila- hold-outs aren’t a problem.

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