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City approves final site plan for new Kroger
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Final approvals still need to be obtained from other agencies, but the Rincon City Council has given its go-ahead for a planned new, larger Kroger.

Council members voted Monday night to grant final site plan approval for a 113,000 square foot store, which will sit on 19.11 acres.

“We’re excited to build a new store,” said Arahn Hawkins of Kroger’s real estate division.

The store will be branded as a marketplace, and the company has four such of those in the Southeast out of approximately 200 stores, Hawkins said.

“They all do extremely well,” he said.

The marketplace concept encompasses baby goods, more kitchen and household items, a Fred Meyer jewelry outlet, a minute clinic health care and a natural and organic foods area.

“It’s a lot different experience and a lot better shopping experience,” Hawkins said.

The current Kroger is 44,000 square feet, and the company leases the property. The company will buy the property for the planned Kroger and also envisions having two spots between the store and Highway 21 for other businesses.

Plans also call for work on Highway 21 itself, turning it into six lanes between Fort Howard Road and the traffic signal at Walmart to accommodate the expected traffic. The current store generates about 18,000-20,000 vehicles in traffic a week. The new store is expected to result in 25,000-30,000 vehicles a week.

The state Department of Transportation also is looking at adding a left-turn-only lane from Fort Howard Road onto Highway 21.

“We want to recognize the part the state DOT has played,” said Rincon city planner Lameisha Kelly. “Kroger is ready to move forward, and a lot of those improvements have been strongly recommended by DOT.”

The company is waiting on a wetlands permit and on approvals from the state Department of Transportation.

“There’s a lot to do before we get to the building,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said it is usually a 12-month schedule for buildout, and once the pad for the store is put down, it takes a couple of months before work can start on it. Meanwhile, site prep work can continue.

“It’s going to be an asset to our county and to our city,” council member Reese Browher said. “I know a lot of people are excited about it. There’s not a day where somebody doesn’t ask me about it.”