(Note: Article was updated on March 6th at 12:30pm with additional information.)
The Near East Side is in need of a signature grocery store, according to the latest draft (PDF) of a master planning effort for the area, as presented to the community last night at the King Arts Complex. The latest update of PACT’s (Partners Achieving Community Transformation) community blueprint shifted the idea of a neighborhood grocery store away from OSU’s University East Hospital, over to the intersection of Broad Street and Champion Avenue as a more likely candidate for placement.
The impetus for the grocery relocation to Broad Street was explained as being two-fold. First, the new site is currently owned by the City of Columbus — a formative, proactive and cooperative partner of PACT. Second, it was stated at last night’s meeting that there is already interest from an unnamed higher-quality grocery retailer who sees the potential in locating along this heavily trafficked section of Broad Street.
“Based on our real estate analysis and the expertise of Frank Petruziello (a Principal at local real estate development firm Skilken), this city-owned location is — from a market perspective — the best site identified during the planning process,” said Stephen Kearney, senior planner with Goody Clancy, the firm tasked with putting together the neighborhood plan. “I should note that a small portion of the site is owned by Heritage Day Health Centers, and a potential grocery developer would need to work with the owner to purchase this site. We are under the impression that they are actually looking for a new site already, so this could provide an opportunity for them as well.”
While neighborhood planning efforts don’t always come to fruition quickly (and sometimes not at all), the idea behind PACT is to take a more rapid approach to delivering results. Kearney stated at last night’s meeting that the PACT team is working to create a plan with achievable, implementable strategies that can be accomplished in a reasonable timeframe.
“The largest size grocery store the site can support is 35,000 square feet, which is not a typical format used by many local grocery chains,” added Kearney. “For example, the Kroger on High Street is approximately 55,000 square feet. However, grocery stores across the country are increasingly opting for smaller sized and more flexible formats to be able to locate in urban areas with high market potential. As to making it a reality, the decision will be based on the City’s future needs for the location.”
To read about other parts of the PACT neighborhood plan, CLICK HERE.
For more ongoing news and discussion on PACT, click here to visit the CU Messageboard.
For more information on PACT, visit www.eastpact.org.
Rendering courtesy of PACT.