Kroger scraps plans to open new store in Colonial Heights

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — City officials were informed during a closed session of City Council that Kroger has scrapped plans to open a new store in Colonial Heights.

The store was set to go where the old Colonial Heights Court House sits now. The store was first announced to be in the works in 2013.

According to Colonial Heights Mayor Greg Kochuba, Kroger cited during that closed-door meeting a decline in sales nationwide for the decision to not open the store.

“It appears that Kroger sales have been down recently, and that means their profits are down, so the way to get better is to reduce capital spending, so they are slowing down on new construction,” Kochuba said.

An official statement from Kroger, however, cited other reasons for scrapping the plan:

“After careful thought, we have decided that our planned Colonial Heights store will not move forward to the construction phase. We understand that our decision to not build the Colonial Heights store may seem confusing or cause frustration and we sincerely apologize to those who anticipated our store opening.  Our company has made a decision to focus our efforts on improving the customer experience at existing stores through renovations and innovative technology.

We have truly enjoyed working with the City of Colonial Heights and the entire community over the past few years. Kroger will work closely with the City of Colonial Heights to help find a new, viable tenant for the property and cover the cost of demolishing the court house. Thank you for your patience.”

After the 2013 announcement, residents who live nearby the site filed a lawsuit to try and block the development due to noise concerns. Kochuba says that lawsuit did slow down the development plans.

“They actually indicated if the lawsuit didn’t take so much time, the store would have been built and it would be open today,” Kochuba explained.

City officials say Kroger still owns the land and will be responsible for marketing it to anyone interested in purchasing it but city officials say they still have to approve any new business that wants to open at that location. Kroger is also responsible for tearing down the old courthouse, that will happen in the next 3 or 4 weeks.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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