VOL. 124 | NO. 89 | Thursday, May 7, 2009
Grocery Wholesaler Inks Deal For Part Of Overton Square.
By Andy Meek
Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., a Kansas-based grocery wholesaler, has signed a contract to acquire and develop a portion of Overton Square, The Daily News has learned.
The contract, which includes a due diligence period of several months during which AWG still could back out, makes official a deal that has been speculated about since the early fall. In late 2008, The Daily News reported AWG had been eyeing a redevelopment of part of the square that would amount to a $20 million to $40 million investment at the site and bring anywhere from 60,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet of new construction and development.
AWG is one of the largest retailer-owned grocery wholesalers in the U.S. It got started in 1924 when a group of 20 independent grocers began approaching each other to save money by combining various parts of their operations. AWG incorporated two years later.
The company’s sales increased 60 percent from 1996 to 2006, making that period one of the most successful of AWG’s history, according to company information. The company’s sales in 2008 topped $6 billion.
The land involved is the cornerstone of the Overton Square entertainment district which was founded in 1970. Its sale would not only change one of the most familiar street scenes in the city, it would significantly alter the retail concept of Overton Square.
In recent years, the collection of businesses on the south side of the warren of shops and restaurants began moving out. The Friday’s closed in 2005 and was replaced for a short time by another locally owned restaurant.
Bayou Bar & Grill and Le Chardonnay moved from neighboring spots on the back side of the square on Overton Square Lane to adjoining locations on the north side of the square. The Midtown Bike Shop recently moved out of its shop in the string of Madison Avenue frontage spaces.