Austin Landing closer to completionKroger latest to open at new I-75 interchange
Jan 09, 2013 (Dayton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A $15 million Kroger supermarket set to open Thursday, Jan. 17, is the first of a series of businesses expected to open this year at Austin Landing, one of the larger economic development projects underway in Southwest Ohio.
A 125-room Hilton Garden Inn with a bar, restaurant and 350-person conference center, is to open by March 15. The development will also include a park, ice rink, stores, restaurants and more than 100 residences, all of which are to be in place by the end this year. A 14-screen Regal cinema with a 60-foot entrance is in the works as well.
They will join a Kohl's department store, three office buildings and a parking garage already completed at the $150 million development by RG Properties and Miami Twp. at Ohio 741 and Austin Boulevard.
"Kroger is thrilled to have another shopping option in the local community and will be proud to serve this growing area," spokeswoman Rachael Betzler said Tuesday in an email.
The 97,000-square-foot Kroger store will employ about 300 workers and feature a fueling station and drive-through pharmacy. US Bank will operate a bank inside the store, part of a new company strategy focused on opening new branches within stores or shopping centers, rather than in free-standing buildings.
Kroger has filled all but a few bakery positions at the Austin store, Betzler said.
Residential growth and the higher incomes among people who live along the Montgomery-Warren county line factored into Kroger's decision to locate big, new stores at Austin Landing and on Ohio 48 in Centerville, company officials and retail industry experts said.
"You want to be in an area with a high disposable income," said David Livingston, a supermarket site analyst in Wisconsin. "High disposable income and less crime."
On Tuesday, Miami Twp. trustees were set to approve another 83,900 square feet in stores and eateries, including a Panera Bread restaurant, and a plan improving "pedestrian connectivity" within the 140-acre development.
Work has also begun on the $8.3 million Connor Group headquarters on the intersection's southeast corner of Ohio 741 and Austin Boulevard. These developments and a $17 million Yaskawa Motoman Robotics plant, just west of Interstate 75, followed the opening of the $40 million interchange in December 2010.
Montgomery County, Miamisburg and Springboro joined Miami Twp. in funding the interchange and formed a joint economic development district to manage the area, fund improvements and share in taxes collected from the area's retail workers.
Effect on other stores
Kroger anticipates some customers who have shopped at the company's existing store, about four miles away in Springboro, will switch to the new Austin store. However, the company has no plans to close the Springboro location, currently undergoing a smaller remodeling, Betzler said.
"Springboro is a busy store with a large customer traffic base, so shifting customers to the new store will actually help relieve some of the congestion shoppers may feel now," she said.
The new store is also about two miles north of a Dorothy Lane Market in Springboro.
While featuring special cheese, sushi sections and a bistro serving fresh food, Livingston said the new Kroger was unlikely to draw customers of the upscale Dorothy Lane store.
"It caters to upscale crowds," Livingston said, while Kroger focuses more on the average shoppers. "(Kroger) might just raise the bar on what average is."
WHIO-TV Reporter Yuna Lee contributed to this report.
Kroger opening activities
The first 300 customers on Thursday, Jan. 17, will receive a $10 Kroger gift card.
At 8 a.m., Thursday, checks will be presented to Central State University and the Wright "B" Flyer Museum during a ribbon cutting.
A Wright "B" Flyer replica and Model T Ford will be parked in the store.
Steven Wright, the oldest living relative to the Wright Brothers, will be part of opening celebration.
Morning giveaways through Sunday.
Cincinnati Reds Announcers Marty & Thom Brennaman will be on site for autographs from 9 a.m.- 11 a.m., Thursday, Customers can register to win a $500 Kroger gift card from 7 a.m.-10 a.m., Thursday.
The Dayton Dragon's mascot "Gem" will be on site from 3 p.m.-5 p.m., Thursday.
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