The public hearing may have been cancelled, but the planning commission did hold a workshop on Monday night to discuss the planned expansion of the Braelinn Village Kroger store.
Kroger is planning to add 42,800 square feet to the current footprint, to about 109,000 square feet, renovating the entire space.
According to city planner David Rast, the overall Braelinn Village retail center was constructed prior to the adoption of Peachtree City’s special use permit process and the current ordinance classifies the existing development as a conforming special use. Kroger opened in the shopping center in 1990.
The expansion proposal would add 21,400 square feet to either side of the existing building and the existing tenants in those spaces (Dollar Store and Papa John Pizza) would be moved to new quarters within the shopping center, which, said Rast, would help fill some of the empty space in the shopping center.
According to Aaron Hawkins, representative of the real estate division of Kroger, the company has over 214 stores in the southeast division and 140 fuel centers.
“With each, our goal is to make it as large as possible to fit the store’s new prototype. Our newer stores are approximately 123,000 square feet.”
The current Braelinn location is only 80,000 square feet.
“There are lots of stores we won’t be able to accommodate but where the opportunity presents itself, we will.”
Currently, the Smyrna store is the largest in the state but if the approvals go through here, Peachtree City’s could be one of the biggest stores in Georgia.
“We’ve had a lot of succes providing a better shopping experience for the public.”
In the past six years, the company has expanded 40 stores. Kroger leaves their stores open while the expansion is going on, which usually takes somewhere from 12 to 18 months.
“This has been a good store for us and now it also needs to be the store we can get a return on investment. The last significant investment was in 2004. It’s needed and Peachtree City deserves a state-of-the-art facility. We will be doing major renovations to the outside of the store, a full remodel on the inside. We will expand and, starting on one side and going through the entire store, upgrade everything, putting in polished cement floors, raising ceilings.”
Hawkins said the new plans will allow new and expanded departments, including a Starbuck’s, a bistro, a sushi/salad bar and a cheese shop.
“A lot of things that aren’t there now. We can make the aisles wider, which is important to give customers a better shopping experience.”
Though Hawkins said there’s already adequate available parking, the back of the facility will have more employee parking spaces added to it.
Peachtree City resident Mary Giles said her concern came from the fact that the cart path behind the Kroger is a ‘major route” back there.
“Please, do what you can with the buffering, berms and plantings.”
Because of the size of the expansion relative to the store, as well as the overall development, it is classified as a major expansion and must comply with the special use permit process.
The public hearing was cancelled because of an error in posting the legal notice on the property. The hearing has been rescheduled to Monday, January 28 at 7 p.m.