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VOL. 132 | NO. 247 | Thursday, December 14, 2017

Trader Joe’s Still Mystery As Developers Buy Old Kroger

By Patrick Lantrip

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Developers planning to renovate the old Kroger location at 2130 Exeter Road in Germantown have bought out the property’s previous owners in a multimillion-dollar deal.

Plans to renovate this old Kroger property on Exeter Road move forward, but still no word on Trader Joe’s. (Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Savannah, Georgia-based Wicker Park Capital Management, doing business as 2130 Exeter Road Holdings, has acquired the site from previous owner Robert H. Schwab for $8.1 million, according to a warranty deed filed with the Shelby County Register on Dec. 11.

The site in question has become somewhat of a real estate enigma recently, largely due to the on-again-off-again speculation surrounding the future of the area’s first Trader Joe’s location.

Most recently, the developers filed a $90,000 building permit application earlier this month to begin façade work on the building.

Prior to that filing, 2130 Exeter Road Holdings’ final site plan was approved by the Germantown Planning Commission on Nov. 7.

While no specific tenants were named on the building permit during the planning commission meeting, Germantown Economic and Community Development director Cameron Ross said at that time the new developers were actively recruiting tenants who will offer a significant reduction in the number of daily grocery deliveries received at the store.

“They are looking at tenants who receive a lower delivery volume than Kroger ever received,” Ross said. “One of our previous applicants on this provided a transportation study that showed the average grocery store receives approximately 20 deliveries a day for the various things that have to come into a grocery store. … With the tenants they are talking to, they are looking at five or less deliveries.”

The ballad of Trader Joe’s, which initially began in the fall of 2015, hit its first road bump in June 2016 when a Trader Joe’s spokesperson announced the store’s opening would be pushed back from the third quarter of 2016 to sometime in 2017.

Six months later, prior developers Centennial American Properties, working as CAP Germantown LLC, filed a $2.5 million building permit application that called for interior and exterior renovations to the former Kroger. Among the changes were modifications to the front wall “to create a new look on the front facade” and “interior modifications (shell only) for Trader Joe’s and future mercantile tenants.”

A representative with Trader Joe’s told The Daily News at that time the project would likely be pushed back again, this time until 2018.

While Trader Joe’s won’t comment on the future of the project, their website still lists the 2130 Exeter Road location as “coming 2018.”

Multiple attempts to reach Wicker Park Capital for comment were not returned by press time.

PROPERTY SALES 116 288 17,672
MORTGAGES 143 337 20,372
BUILDING PERMITS 139 488 36,434
BANKRUPTCIES 43 158 11,322