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The Kroger location at 924 South Second Street in SoBro, the area south of Broadway between Downtown and Old Louisville, has hit the market, and the future of the last urban grocery store in Louisville remains uncertain.

“We have Kroger on the lease until the end of the year,” Scott Gilmore, Senior Associate at CBRE, told Broken Sidewalk today. “If you wanted to keep them on they could stay until the end of next year.” After that, a new lease would need to be negotiated.

A large brick wall faces Second Street. (Google)
A large brick wall faces Second Street. (Google)

The 2.58-acre property and its 26,410-square-foot grocery store building are listed by CBRE for $1.6 million. The single-story structure, facing a large parking lot (for which SoBro is famous), was built in 1980, according to the listing. The property includes three parking lots separated by alleyways spanning from Second to Third to Breckinridge streets.

The Kroger site sits directly south of the Puritan Uniform Rental Building that Spalding University proposes to demolish for yet another parking lot.

The Kroger property. (Via Google / Montage by Broken Sidewalk)
The Kroger property. (Via Google / Montage by Broken Sidewalk)

“There’s no guarantee” on whether Kroger will renew a lease or move on, Gilmore said. “They seem to say they’re losing money and have been for some time. They did put some money into it a few years back, but didn’t realize the sales they thought they would after the investment.”

(Google)
(Google)

Gilmore said the property has been on the market for about two weeks and there has already been a lot of solid interest. He said interest is coming from both locals and out-of-towners, but declined to elaborate on any potential buyers.

There’s interest in seeing Kroger stay on, Gilmore said, but the site also offers a good redevelopment opportunity if that doesn’t work out. “It’s a moving target,” he said.

“It’s a very integral piece of real estate for the area,” Gilmore said, “especially being one of the only grocery stores in Old Louisville.”

(Top image courtesy CBRE.)

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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

9 COMMENTS

  1. This is really sad.

    And no one in real life says SoBro, please stop perpetuating it’s usage.

  2. I live a few blocks from here, and use this store when i need a few things and don’t need to go all the way over to the Goss Kroger. I’ve heard a few times through the neighborhood grapevine (never “officially”) that Kroger isn’t making money there and is on the brink of closing it, but it always seems busy when I go in, and it really has improved in what it stocks in the last few years.
    There is so much vacant or underused space on that block, I’d dream that someone could assemble the kroger property, the Puritan property, the abandoned car lot along 2nd to the south, and maybe even a few of the empty or available spaces along 3rd on the west side of the block, and do something 4-5 story mixed use, including a replacement kroger on the ground floor and integrating the few remaining interesting historical structures.

  3. Sorry, Andy, but “SoBro” has been in common usage for at least 20 years. It has been used widely by Old Louisville residents in that time and still is. You must not hang out with the cool kids. So sad.

  4. Oh, lordy. I really hope the best comes out of this (similar to James’ vision above) but I’m afraid for the worst (Winn Dixie block). This is my primary grocery and I agree that it’s very busy every time I am in there. Would be interested to see their books… My sister bought a house in Limerick last fall and I think she would seriously consider moving if there is no grocery in the neighborhood.

  5. If Kroger put any investment into this location recently, it can’t have been much. Few people in the nicer Old Louisville properties shop here, as Kroger has done nothing to draw them. It mostly caters to nearby lower income residents, who are probably not helping make anyone wealthy.

    Old Louisville is not gentrifying enough to draw enough interest in a higher-end grocery, but the economics aren’t enough to sustain a supermarket for lower incomes. This is a mediocre Kroger, but its disappearance would be a major loss to the immediate area.

  6. Matt, the store looks exactly the same on the outside (like slum property) but is actually greatly improved on the inside (both goods and service) compared to 15-20 years ago. Sometime in the late 90s Kroger propose a new store on the block between 5th & 6th, Breckinridge & Garland. They were going to knock down 5 good Victorians and a corner auto repair shop (vintage building, too), put the back wall of the store up against 5th St. without a single window and have nothing but parking lot facing 6th. And a gas station on the corner lot on the other side of Breck. The neighborhood rightly said no way and they refused to alter the design, took their ball and went home. It took about 10 years for them to even start making the 2nd St store nicer after that. I think they were trying to punish the neighborhood. Their regional real estate guy at the time was well known around here for lying all the time (I never heard him utter anything that was completely true, he was a real ass).

    Anyhoo, you’re right about the economic situation. It’s something that many of the Victorian owners in Old Louisville just don’t seem to want to understand. Because our lots are bigger, the streets wider, our density comes from the renters, which is very different than, say, Germantown/Schniztelburg. And our renters don’t have enough cash to support a fancy grocery store.

    Also, since Kroger has a monopoly west of I-65 and north of Hill St. there is no reason for it to build another store if it can get by with what it has now. We’ll only see change if a competitor comes into the area or lots of new apt complexes appear on those SoBro parking lots.

  7. The profitability problem for a grocery store like this one is a low average sale per customer. The store is busy with lots of small orders. It cannot be as efficient and profitable as Suburban Kroger stores which have much higher average sales per customer. One of the posters from the neighborhood even noted that he goes to this store when he needs a few things, but implies that he does his major shopping elsewhere. What do you expect from Kroger when the neighborhood doesn’t not fully support the store. Kroger’s exit would be a huge loss.

  8. Don’t forget that urban renewal’s efforts surrounded the Kroger block with four mindless one-way streets. (Breckinridge, 2nd, 3rd, and Kentucky streets). That was later proven in cities all over America to hurt business and neighborhood living conditions. It cut exposure of businesses in half by eliminating the opposing direction lane.
    Mayor Dave Armstrong’s first step to revert some streets in Old Louisville back to two way have helped business’s near 4th and Oak come back. St. Catherine, 6th, 7th also in ’95. Our alderman’s help about five years ago reverting First Street and Brook Street, calmed traffic, increased investment, lowered crime, and noise too.

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