LAPORTE — Plans for a Kroger Marketplace more than twice the size of the current traditional supermarket in the city are on the back burner.
The store chain entered into a purchase agreement with the city’s Redevelopment Commission in October 2016 to build a 123,000-square-foot Kroger Marketplace on 14 acres at New Porte Landing.
Bert Cook, executive director of the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corp., said Kroger is having second thoughts due to a change, perhaps, in corporate structure and market conditions.
He said the Kroger store at the nearby Pine Lake Shopping Plaza could be renovated instead, but nothing has been decided.
"The communication that’s going between the city of LaPorte and Kroger corporate is a good discussion, and it’s ongoing," Cook said, "and we’ll continue to try and figure out what works best for both parties."
When Kroger will decide its next move is unknown, but any construction of a Kroger Marketplace will not begin in 2018, as originally planned.
"The initial timeline that was discussed doesn’t make sense for Kroger anymore, and we’ll be respectful of that," Cook said.
Email and telephone messages left with Kroger at its corporate offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, were not returned.
According to the company website, Kroger Marketplaces started going up in 2005 to offer more of an one-stop shopping experience.
In addition to groceries, the marketplace stores offer products in the areas of home fashion and decor, bed and bath and kitchen and small appliances, along with home office and toys.
Kroger Marketplace locations in Indiana include the Indianapolis area and Fort Wayne.
They’re in other states like Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas and Virginia.
New Porte Landing is where Allis Chalmers manufactured farm equipment for decades until the early 1980s.
It took nearly 20 years to remediate the nearly 50 acres equipped with roads, water and sewer.
Dunkin' Donuts was first to locate there, in spring 2016, followed by a new Starbucks.
The Dunes Volleyball Club also is relocating there from Rolling Prairie and expects to be open next spring.
Cook said the foundation for the volleyball club is in, and the thousands of people drawn there annually for practices and competition should help recruit more development and provide a noticeable boost in traffic to the downtown area.