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Bexley Mayor Excited about New Two-Story Giant Eagle on Main Street

Brent Warren Brent Warren Bexley Mayor Excited about New Two-Story Giant Eagle on Main StreetPhoto by Walker Evans.
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A proposal to build a new, two-story Giant Eagle on the site of the current Bexley City Hall was announced this week by Mayor Ben Kessler and local developer Frank Kass. The initial plan calls for the city to move its offices into available space in the Bexley Square Center at 2212-2240 E. Main St.

While more details are sure to be forthcoming on the plan, we wanted to reach out to Mayor Kessler to get his initial thoughts on what could potentially be a transformative development for the suburb of Bexley.

CU: What do think this type of grocery store could add to Main Street?

Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler

Mayor Ben Kessler: Consistently, one of the top requests I get for new uses for Bexley is a high quality neighborhood grocery store. We’ve prioritized this use in our development work, and the plan we are currently pursuing is a by-product of that focus. While the use is certainly a top priority, it is also important that the use integrates well with the fabric of Main Street. Bexley’s Main Street has a traditional, classic feel and a strong pedestrian environment, so we are looking for this store to be built up close to Main Street and have a positive connection to Main Street’s pedestrian core.

CU: This store would obviously be something new for Bexley, but it may also be unique for central Ohio in general – is there an existing grocery store in the area you think it compares to?

BK: My sense is that this more urban Market District concept will be akin to a larger version of the new Hills Market downtown (it’ll be about 2-3x its size) meets the Kingsdale Market District (it’ll be about a third it’s size). The two-story design will lend a very interesting and urban feel to the development.

CU: Bexley is facing the same financial issues that a lot of our land-locked suburbs are going through – would this project go a long way towards solving them or will more infill development be necessary? Can we expect more announcements like this in the future?

BK: This project certainly helps, but it by no means is an end-all cure to Bexley’s struggle to open up more revenue-generating development space. The underlying concept here is to take a lower density tax-exempt use (city hall and service garage) and replace it with a higher density use that is tax productive and provides a positive amenity to the community. We look forward to continuing to see Bexley embrace infill development concepts, and I definitely see more on the horizon.

CU: Is the Main Street streetscape project still on track to happen this summer?

BK: Yes – we are moving forward with our streetscape project. By this fall we’ll have seven landcaped medians in unused center turn lane portions of Main Street, brick paver intersections at key intersections along Main, and a streamlined signage program with less visual clutter and higher quality streetscape fixtures.

For more discussion on the Bexley Giant Eagle development, CLICK HERE to visit our messageboard.

For more information on Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler, visit www.bexley.org.

Bexley City Hall Photo by Walker Evans.

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  • jpizzow

    This is great news and should serve as a model for other suburban communities, whether they be landlocked or not. Upper Arlington really missed the opportunity to have something like this with Whole Foods. To me, it is just another suburban style grocery store on what has the potential to be a very vibrant “main street” for UA. Whole Foods goes well beyond the traditional grocery store model by being multi-use. Now, because of poor planning, when someone sits on the patio for lunch or for a beer, they have to look at a parking lot instead of a main street.

    I really would like to see this same concept brought to the VV Giant Eagle. I have this vision of that small stretch resembling Grandview Ave with wide sidewalks and outdoor seating lining the entire stretch of that parking lot. A two story Giant Eagle with outdoor seating on the second floor would look great and be widely accepted by the neighborhood with no doubt in my mind.

  • mrpoppinzs

    Would like to see some plans. I believe this would end up being about half the sq footage of the WP Kroger. I am interested to see how they deal with carts. The CEO of Whole Foods didn’t want two stories because he felt elevators for carts was awkward and bad for business.

    I think this is great for Bexley and would love to see something similar at the VV GE. I think they rent the space though.

  • Cbusflyer

    I am ecstatic to see this development and can’t wait to see how this ties into main street!!

  • Stephen43215

    What about the new grocery planned for Broad Street in Olde Towne? Is it still on track?

  • @Stephen – I’m not 100% sure how “on track” the Broad Street Grocery was. It was presented by the planners of the PACT initiative and was mentioned that there was interest from a retailer, but none were named. My personal assumption was that there was a chance it could be Giant Eagle since they have no Near East presence. I’d say it’s probably safe to scratch them off the list of guesses with this Main Street Bexley store announced.

  • Kahiki

    This Giant Eagle is going to be 1500 feet from an existing Kroger. Interesting.

  • tourist19

    Re carts: I was in a multi-level Target in Brooklyn that had cart escalators. They were cool as hell and easy to use. I would assume they would do something like that.

  • dru
  • @Kahiki – It’s almost as if Kroger and Giant Eagle were acting like Walgreens and CVS. ;)

  • Setham17

    Walker-Two-story is the way to go…look at Boston. Our architectural design aspiration is going back to colonialism. Aside: wondering if you would jump subject and answer something about a message you left about Jazz & Rib Fest, 2009…

  • I’m completely in favor of a two-story format. Not just for this location, but any other future urban stores. And sure, what’s the Jazz & Rib Fest question? ;)

  • anillo

    Two story is a lot nicer. The cart elevators aren’t awkward at all, and it makes the store feel more dense since you have two floors that are smaller instead of one very large floor. I’m not sure if it actually leads to less pushing your cart around, but it sure feels like it.

  • NEOBuckeye

    You don’t even have to go as far as Brooklyn to find a Target with cart escalators. The University Heights/Beachwood store in Cleveland has one. I believe they also have a two story Giant Eagle within the same shopping center. I’m sure it will serve as a model for the Bexley store.

  • somebuckeye

    I have known some Bexley people to refuse to shop at the Alum Creek Kroger, so I can see where there is a market for this.

    The underlying concept here is to take a lower density tax-exempt use (city hall and service garage) and replace it with a higher density use that is tax productive and provides a positive amenity to the community.

    My favorite part of the article. If only Columbus could do this to Main St on the near East side. Main st in Bexley seems to get nicer and nicer, whilst in Columbus it’s nothing but vacant buildings and community centers. Sigh.

  • @somebuckeye – I agree that it would be great to see all of Main Street in Columbus follow Bexley’s lead, but there’s a much bigger challenge to overcome there as it’s a very impoverished part of the city, whereas Bexley is a wealthy suburb. I have to imagine it’s much harder to convince private developers to build in an area where median income levels won’t support most types of retail businesses or apartment/condo rates at the level that new build requires. Perhaps what we need is something to better connect Bexley to Downtown that could help spur development on Main Street in between. Some sort of Streetcar or something. ;)

  • Setham17

    Waker – Jazz & Rib Fest,I read your message about the location change in 2009 where you called the old location a “Jazz Neighborhood.” Bring forward,I was wondering how has the location affected the event in your opinion? Has the type of event-goer changed? Have you enjoyed the J & R Fest the same? And do you still have hopes for it moving back to the Town St Bridge/Bicentennial Park local?

  • Concerned Bexley Neighbor

    While I like the idea of some kind of development here, is this going to be yet ANOTHER sandwich shop situation? All we have in Bexley are little sandwich shops (AND CHIPOTLE…YEAH!)

    There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the architecture style as long as there is money here in Bexley. Two very out of sorts structure recently built have left South Bexley Residents scratching their heads trying to figure out where the City is going from a Master Plan sort of thing.

    This current Administration is CLUELESS as to how to best serve the residents of Bexley, especially South Bexley, who will once again bear the brunt of traffic, shopping carts all over the neighborhood, etc. No one asks the residents, they just make decisions and we all pay the price.

    Sorry to be so negative, I’ve just seen this happen numerous times in Bexley only to see great opportunities go elsewhere while we attract more and more sandwich shops.


  • Cbusflyer

    Not sure how a grocery store can be compared to a sandwich shop. Last year Bexley sent out surveys to the community to find out what they wanted. A grocery store was top of the list. In talking with Ben personally I think they are doing a great job listening to the community and don’t find them clueless.

  • bjones7

    Cart Escalators are pretty sweet! First one I saw was when I lived in San Francisco (San Mateo Target). Here’s a picture of one: http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/malled/files/2009/10/carteveyor.jpg

  • I know Concerned Bexley Neighbor didn’t mean it as a positive, but “SANDWICH CAPITAL OF CENTRAL OHIO” seems like a great compliment for any suburb.

    But, I’m not sure it’s actually true for Bexley.

  • urbanenthusiast

    I know that I am not of the same ilk as the other contributors here when I say that the WHOLE idea of replacing an interesting vintage city hall complex with a chain grocery store makes me sick to my stomach.
    I can only imagine the politics involved here. Bexley continues to LOSE it’s charm.

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