The Kroger on Highway 12 in Starkville, hasn’t had any major renovations since it opened in 1991. That will soon change. Company officials say plans call for a major expansion that will make the store its third largest in the state. Photo by: Mary Alice Weeks/Dispatch Staff
May 31, 2014 10:49:32 PM
A proposed $16.5 million project could make Starkville's Kroger location the company's third-largest store in the state, create 60 additional jobs and expand the grocery store's whole foods, deli and pharmacy capabilities, a company spokesperson confirmed Friday.
Joe Bell, Kroger's manager of marketing and public affairs for the company's Delta division, said the proposal would increase the Miss. Highway 12 facility from 51,000 square feet to almost 100,000 square feet and significantly transform the store's parking area with the addition of almost 80 canopy trees.
Kroger eyes expansion by taking over store space to its west, running toward the nearby US Postal Service office.
The company submitted a landscape design plan to the city but has yet to begin the design review process, city officials confirmed Friday. Additionally, Kroger has not yet purchased the adjacent property.
With increased space, Bell said Kroger would widen its aisles, expand its product lines and capabilities, and construct a two-lane drive-thru for pharmacy customers.
"The variety will definitely increase. You'll see a lot of new departments and expanded departments like deli, bakery and sushi. We'll also have a major expansion of the store's organic and natural foods -- that will be a huge presence in the store," he said. "We see the need and demand (economically for expansion) and the potential for the area. Our Starkville customers have been loyal to us in the past and currently. We want to invest in the future."
The facility was constructed in 1991 and has not experienced any major expansions or renovations since, outside of routine maintenance, Bell said.
Work could begin in early 2015 if the project continues, Bell said.
The Starkville Board of Aldermen approved Kroger's waiver request from the city's landscaping ordinance provisions. Kroger would not have been able to create enough parking spaces while additionally creating 6-foot grass strips required by the rules, Bell said.
The Starkville Tree Advisory Board previously deadlocked on the waiver with a 2-2 vote. One member abstained from the decision.
Aldermen and Community Developer Buddy Sanders were very cooperative with meeting the company's needs to facilitate the expansion under the landscaping ordinances, Bell said.
"Grocery stores are a big part of quality of life, and the planned expansion and upgrade to Kroger will be significant for the Starkville community," said Greater Starkville Development Partnership CEO Jennifer Gregory. "We're thrilled about their potential investment, and we plan to do everything we can to assist them in this project."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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