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VOL. 118 | NO. 199 | Tuesday, November 2, 2004

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By Andy Meek

Kroger Marks Retail Growth in Arlington

New rooftops lead to increased commercial development


The Daily News

Construction will begin soon on a 50,000-square-foot Kroger store in Arlington, part of an area expansion effort for the grocery store chain and one of several new commercial developments slated for the fast-growing town.

Corbin Rowe, Memphis-area real estate manager for Kroger, said store officials have been looking to locate in Arlington for several years. And now that the town is seeing more commercial and residential growth attracting between 40 and 60 new families each month he said the time was right to proceed.

New and improved. The company, which also plans to expand in areas including Collierville and along Germantown Parkway in the Trinity Commons shopping center, is building the new Arlington store at U.S. Highway 70 and Airline Road. A $600,000 building permit for 11635 Highway 70 was filed Oct. 19, according to The Daily News Public Records Database, www.memphisdailynews.com.

In addition to 50,000 square feet of shopping space, the store will offer a drive-thru pharmacy.

Its certainly our newer format store, but its not anything dramatically different than what weve built recently, Rowe said. The new format involves little changes in products, shelving, in the merchandising mix.

The development also will offer 15,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet of commercial space for surrounding retail shops.

Tremendous growth. Pointing to recent commercial development in Arlington and to the towns growing population, now estimated at 5,600 Rowe said the town is ready for the new store. He estimated construction should start within two months.

Arlington is obviously under a tremendous amount of growth with people from that part of suburban Memphis moving out there in droves, he said. The timing was right to go ahead once the population caught up to what we need to support a major grocery store.

There are so many different factors it has to do with the relation to the town, existing stores, competitors and the amount of population in the area. They all have to equal out to where we can see enough shoppers that we can support to make sense for our investment.

More retail coming. Kroger isnt the only commercial development under way in Arlington. Ruby Hannah, secretary of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, said several new retail businesses are being developed or are under construction. She mentioned Rich Products Corp., which is expanding its manufacturing facility in Arlington and hiring about 125 new employees, as well as Wright Medical Technology Inc., which also is expanding in the town.

In addition, developer David Goodwin Jr. is building a 16,800-square-foot shopping center at 5780 Airline Road. Possible tenants for the center, scheduled to open by February, include a coffee retailer, some restaurants and a book store.

A building permit for the shopping center was filed July 29 for $611,068, according to The Daily News database. Chris Woods Construction Co. is the contractor, and Goodwin-Henry Properties LLC will own the development.

(Arlington is) also getting a new day care operation, Hannah said. So the town is growing. I, personally, would like to see more retail thats where you get your sales tax revenue.

Kroger doesnt have a projected opening date yet for the Arlington store, but once construction begins, the store should be finished in about 10 months, Rowe said. The move into Arlington is part of a broader expansion strategy for the company, which is growing its presence elsewhere in Memphis.

Adapting to the market. While Rowe said the company is more focused at the moment on expanding and improving existing facilities than on opening new stores, the new Arlington location proves that strategy doesnt exclude new opportunities that arise.

Where we have an opportunity, well step in and improve a facility; it just depends on what the priorities are at the time for the company, Rowe said. That will come in cycles and ebb and flow after we get done with expansions and improving existing stores, well go back into new store priorities. It comes and goes.

Updating. An example of the companys improvement plans for existing locations is the Kroger store at Poplar Avenue and Kirby Parkway, where a pharmacy is being added. In addition, Kroger is in discussions with Loeb Properties, which owns the Trinity Commons shopping center, to expand that Kroger location.

The Trinity store was built back in about 1988, and we really havent touched that store since then, Rowe said. Weve done a few minor things, but we havent done anything dramatic to it. And retailing has changed significantly since then, and weve been hit with some pretty strong competition since then. Its time to do something if we can, and Loeb is helping us try to realize it.

The Kroger expansion in Collierville still has several steps to go through. The company will announce another major expansion for the Memphis area after the holidays, Rowe said.

More retail needed. In the meantime, Arlingtons new Kroger is good news to residents such as Hannah, who said its among the types of new developments the town needs, along with larger restaurants such as Chilis and OCharleys.

Mostly, though, we need more new retail, she said.


PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474
BANKRUPTCIES 19 19 3,289