Our City Online


Olde Towne East Grocery Store Called for in Neighborhood Plan

Walker Evans Walker Evans Olde Towne East Grocery Store Called for in Neighborhood Plan
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

(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.

Print Friendly


  • RhondaH

    That would be great. When we lived in Olde Towne the lack of a normal close by grocery was always noticeable. It needs a regular grocery – not rundown (looking at you Bexley Kroger), non-discount (Save A Lot), and not a small expensive specialty gourmet (Hills). I can’t imagine why this hasn’t happened yet. That seems like a nice central location.

  • bucki12

    That is a much better location, imho. I hate calling it an OTE grocery, I think the plan is addressing the Near East Side (KLD inclusive) and I think this location will serve the most people and have enough wallets to succeed. Hopefully it will be a mainstream grocery like Giant Eagle or Kroger.

  • If I had to wager a guess, my money would be on Giant Eagle. They’ve got no presence on the Near East Side. Kroger has their Alum Creek store on Main Street and their Turkey Hill at Broad & Nelson.

  • I have been hoping for a mainstream grocery store of higher quality in OTE since I moved here! I love that I can walk to almost everything BUT grocery. While Broad and Champion is a little far, it would be a boon to the neighborhood! OSU East area wouldn’t be central enough for all of OTE. Here’s hoping it moves forward!

  • cbus11

    This is something the area has been waiting for and hopefully it comes to fruition. Giant Eagle does seem like the most probable tenant. I still hope that one day an East Side version of the North Market will find a home, maybe even in the infamous Trolley Barn.

  • susank

    I have seen a lot of these plans, but I am wondering how likely this is to actually happening?

  • lattethunder

    I’m more curious about what it will look like than which “higher quality” store it will be. Could this be Columbus’ opportunity to get a real urban focused store design? Like, frontage on both streets and parking in the back (or a garage?).


  • Snarf

    I don’t mind Kroger at Main/Alum Creek. It’s small and easy to navigate, the staff is typically friendly. The parking lot is a nightmare full of very stupid people though.

  • franklinbc

    trader joes!!! highly unlikely, but it would be pretty rad.

  • Stephen43215

    Is this site right at Champion and Broad? Right now there is a parking lot there and if this is the location it will be right across the street from me!

  • mrpoppinzs

    Good location, I hope it happens.

  • Coy

    I have a beer store at Parsons and Oak.
    Anything else is gravy.

  • @Stephen – Yes, the site is the SW corner of Champion and Broad. I think there is an existing small 2-story office building there, but no idea if it would be razed or repurposed. The PACT plan also calls for the realignment of Champion/Governors at Broad Street to make the intersection more navigable for cars, pedestrians and bikes.

  • Concerned

    Giant Eagle would seem like a good fit, although its location on Whittier is not one of the better stores (in terms of locations in urban neighborhoods). I think Trader Joes or another natural foods grocer would be excellent. I hope this moves forward.

  • Stephen43215

    I live right across the street from this site at Governors Place. Champion shifts a bit to the right as you cross north over Broad. Our apartment complex has a small yard on the side..I wonder if they plan on moving Champion where the lawn is?

  • Stephen43215

    Looking at the site from Google maps it doesnt look that big..Maybe a Trader Joes?

  • leftovers

    Just looked at it myself, I was hoping it would atleast as big as the SN Kroger which is 60,000+ sq ft. I am not sure how big of a store you could fit there plus have parking. That entire lot looks about the size of the parking lot for the SN Kroger.

  • Stephen43215

    Unless a parking garage is built which I dont think would happen..Doesnt the city require a certain amount of parking spaces for new development?

  • leftovers

    I heard the rule of thumb for groceries is 1 parking space per 300 sq ft gross floor area.

  • FYI — Just updated the story with more info and quotes from the planners. Worth a re-read. ;)

  • @Stephen – There are rules for minimum parking requirements (which was actually reduced significantly several years ago) but those rules can we waived with a variance request if the developer or business owner wants to provide less parking.

  • Stephen43215

    Pretty amazing stuff! Glad to see life coming back to the near east side! I noticed the city has already started to upgrade Long street around the Lincoln Theater…work has been going on for about a week now.

  • [email protected]

    Excited about having a grocery store, but not sure I am a fan if it going to look like the sketch.

  • Pickerington_Kyle

    Great plan. Hopefully this increases residency near downtown to create a larger in-town population .

  • @Pickerington_Kyle – The larger neighborhood plan calls for the addition of 950 residential units in the surrounding areas over the next 10 years:


    That doesn’t include the opportunity for private redevelopment of individual homes throughout the same area. There’s *lots* of room for residential growth nearby.

  • This is great news! It will be within a couple blocks walking distance of us. Let’s hope Frank has something viable up his sleeves. But if they end up with a parking lot fronting E. Broad, I would be vehemently opposed as this would undermine the historic character of the entire street. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a Short North Kroger concept.

    I noticed the improvements at Long and Hamilton as well. Are they burying those hideous utilities and installing an enhanced streetscape at that intersection? If so, is it City money or part of the 71/70 project?

  • I would love to see this happen. I’m really excited about projects like this and East Franklinton. It’s nice to see Columbus finally growing beyond the spine of High Street within the city limits.

  • billbix

    A mainstream grocery is sorely needed and will do great.

  • sabracadabra

    I’ll be over here hoping and dreaming of a Trader Joes!

  • billbix

    Isn’t the coming Hill’s Downtown fairly similar to Trader Joe’s and close enough?

  • slfisher70

    THIS WOULD BE AWESOME! I live in OTE. I travel frequently, if they want to increase the square footage, several cities I have been too have two story groceries with escalators for your carts. Hope its Giant Eagle!!

  • cretzler

    Most of this plan is spent discussing nice sounding initiatives, such as this grocery store, which appear entirely unfunded and envisioned on land not yet acquired. However, it seems to gloss over the Poindexter>OSU medical center plans (You know, the large demo project with funding and land all lined up and ready to go as soon as the public is on board). A recent FOIA request shows that parking lots are planned for much of the park space in Poindexter Village, yet they included this greenspace in the presentation. This grocery store seems to be a red herring to me.

  • starman

    My guess is Aldi’s. Guess “better”, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, eh?

  • midniteaspire

    An Aldi’s Market Place would be a nice fit for the near east side/ olde towne east/ king lincoln area. Even the burb’s are getting them now.

  • RhondaH


    There is a Save-A-Lot on Main, south of this. It is pretty similar to Aldi. I feel most people in the area really want a mainstream ‘chain’ grocery like Giant Eagle. There are discount and upper scale (Hills opening soon) groceries in the area, but the middle ground has been neglected.

    That said, I drove past the lot and it is fairly small. I am not sure it really can live up to the hype everyone is giving it – especially the planners who seem to be selling it,

  • midniteaspire

    Rhondah, it’s true the middle class don’t have a store like Giant Eagle ect! to shop at on the near east side. An Aldi Market Place is about the best bet right now if anything happen’s at all. It took filing a lawsuit against Save A Lots to keep them from backing out on the main street location. Sorry! I don’t think the near east side area has the house hold income level needed to support a Giant Eagle ect. But! Hopefully that will change as time goes along and the near east side continue’s to improve. Not much of a fan of Save A Lots or Hills either.

  • stephentszuter

    I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this yet, but here’s an old link from 2006: http://www.columbusunderground.com/near-east-side-grocery-store-not-welcome-by-some

  • mrpoppinzs


    Here is a link to info about that Save-A-Lot, getting it renovated and occupied was not an easy task.


  • atwiggs

    Actually, I don’t believe that Broad street is zoned for this use. There may be zoning permits and other issues involved. Another issue is that the overall Near East Area Plan (not the PACT plan) does not call for retail on Broad St.- only residential and business offices.

    I will assume that OTENA may have some input into this idea. For all of you who live in the OTENA boundaries, I suggest you attend the next membership meeting to voice your opinions.

  • flinn2002


    I think you are referring to an isolated incident that was many years ago. Also where the chosen space is at makes a difference too. But we will see.
    I am a resident of KLD and would be more then happy to see this come into the area.

  • Stephen43215

    I personally think Broad Street is kinda bland without retail. It would be nice to live in the area and be able to walk to shops along Broad Street without traffic flying at speeds of up to 50 miles an hour.

  • [email protected]

    I forgot to mention that I am also not a fan of the location. We do not need more commercial on Broad. It needs to go on a street that is zoned commercial, like Long, Parsons or Main St.

  • ddb379

    Great move to help create a neigborhood feel. Put the boulevard islands back on Broad Street from Parsons to Nelson and really make it feel like a place to call home. Right now it is a mini freeway on Broad Street. People need to be forced to slow down and absorbs the historic architecture.

  • Mod-dude

    I agree that this location makes sense. I live on the Near East side and have been part of trying to preserve East Broad in it’s Historic integrity, but when I think about East Broad being zoned for offices and residential, I start to think that offices tend to locate when there are other amenities VERY close by. I agree with Walker that when I heard this announcement at the PACT meeting, I thought it would be Giant Eagle, which I also really like (more than Kroger).

    In my dreamland, if I were charged with building this on the lot proposed, I would have it’s back facing broad Street and designed in a way that fits in with the surrounding grand architecture of Broad street closer to the street (perhaps with a cafe’ patio facing Broad Street, sort of front porch style of a Grand Mansion). I would have the Front of the store facing south and it’s parking lot which would not be easily seen from Broad Street. I would have it’s loading docks as inconspicuous on the side as possible. In other words, I think it is possible to make this work and still fit in with the area. I hope it happens!!!

  • mbhays

    The old IGA/Carl L. Brown Foodliner site at 1315 Mt. Vernon Ave. and N. Champion would be more centrally located for the neighborhood they are trying to serve and the parking lot and building are already there. It’s been closed for a while now.


  • buckette13

    ^ That was featured on the WOSU special, it was a really melancholy story that had Jimmy Carter ask what the community wanted and they said a grocery so he helped get it started with a lot of fan fare and then it slowly fell into financial ruin.

  • sabracadabra

    Save A Lot is NOT like Aldi. Aldi is a German company with good quality products, some of which are geared towards a healthy lifestyle. Save A Lot is full of cheap white bread and convenience foods that are loaded with trans fats and high fructose crap. Clearly geared towards people that only care about saving money and not their health. Discount groceries are not interchangeable. I would love an Aldi if Trader Joes isn’t going in – and actually I would utilize an Aldi more, so that is a better idea. The Whitehall one is too far away and too crowded.

    When I moved to the Near East side, I wondered why there wasn’t more on Broad. I travel Broad much more on a routine basis, as it is more convenient to getting downtown, campus, etc. and it has NOTHING on it except for a Wendy’s. Long doesn’t have much, either, so you can’t pretend that is a viable commercial alternative at the present time. From a historic homes standpoint, they are even. There isn’t even a coffee shop anywhere until you get to Parsons, which is so far off my beaten path that I would have to wake up 20 min earlier to grab coffee on my way to work! Why can’t we have more business on Broad? Not everything has to be designed in the image of the Chip N Go! Be honest, wouldn’t you rather have an Aldi than the Chip N Go? Or a Starbucks/Crimson Cup/Cup O Joe? And that brings up an interesting subtopic – Urban Spirit would still be here if it was allowed to be on Broad. Think about that! It’s about smart development – nobody wants to go in and ruin historic mansions. But let’s infill with resources that would contribute to a vital community!

  • mrmann

    Aldi is okay, but I don’t think most people are really hoping for an Aldi. I agree that there is a need for a mainstream grocery on the Near East Side. Where that ends up remains the question, but hearing the size it doesn’t seem practical on that lot.

  • popstardj3

    Something needs to be developed on the lot on main and 18th. IIt’s a huge plot of land begging for property to be developed.

  • the cruise director

    Anyone know how large the German Village (Whittier) Giant Eagle is? Could that be about the size that’s called for here? (I’m horrible at spatial stuff.)

    That’s my neighborhood store, and I really like the size of it. I’m able to get in, find what I need, and get out in a reasonable amount of time. The Brewery District Kroger is nice, but I feel like I’m always in there forever.

features categories