Kroger tries to strike deals

Grocery chain wants parcel of land owned by Sandusky County Fairgrounds and surrounding area
Melissa Topey
Mar 23, 2014


A Sandusky County Fair board meeting earlier this week grew emotional when talks turned to the possibility of Kroger building a large store at North Street and Ohio 53.

Kroger is looking to purchase 12 acres of the main parking lot across the street from the fairgrounds, and the company’s representatives have been in talks with the fair board since last year. The first round of discussions seemed to have ended with a deal falling through, but Kroger recently came back with another offer.

Opponents of the deal feel this is the first step for a big chain store moving in and encroaching on the fairgrounds itself. About 30 people showed up to a meeting Monday to hear about the offer.

As part of the new deal, Kroger must find a 12-acre replacement lot for the main parking lot that Sandusky County fairgrounds would sell to the company. This became another point of frustration to residents, who grilled the fair board about the possibility that some people would have to move from homes where they’ve raised families.

“We have nothing to do with that,” said Harold Overmyer, president of the Sandusky County Fair Board.

That would be Kroger working through Wendt Key Team Realty, he said.

Kroger has already made offers to homeowners on Ball Avenue and Laurel Street, near the water tower, for the purchase of their homes, those at Monday’s meeting said.

This includes Michael Mitten, who has lived in his small home at 1500 Laurel St. for 30 years.

About six weeks ago, Wendt Key Team Realty left him an envelope with an offer dated Feb. 13 for his home and land.

The offer: $25,000.

“It was lowball, but they have to start somewhere” Mitten said.

The contract stipulated the purchaser is trying to buy several properties and has the right to cancel the contract at any time. Mitten said he has made investments in his home over the years, including a new roof, siding, windows and furnace.

Just a few weeks ago, Mitten got a phone call from real estate agents. They increased the offer to $32,000, he said.

Mitten’s property is a double lot. Since Kroger only needs the land — not the homes — Mitten feels his land is worth at least a double-share.

“We are currently exploring various options regarding the relocation of parking for the fairgrounds,” Kroger spokeswoman Jackie Siekmann said. “We are open to any suggestions the public might have regarding parking. As far as the specifics of any offer to purchase residential real estate, those offers were not made by Kroger, so I can’t offer any specifics.

“I’ve been working with our real estate team, and we would welcome the opportunity to publicly discuss this opportunity and clear up the many rumors that have been circulating concerning this project,” Siekmann said. “We are not under contract to purchase any land and are merely in the first stages of a multistep process that we undertake when we explore any type of land transaction”

The deal is also contingent on the sale of a nearby beet lot once used by Pioneer Sugar. Overmyer feels it’s a strong possibility this sale would happen.

The visitors bureau would also be moved as part of the deal. The fair board is still waiting to see plans and a definitive offer.

The initial November appraisal on the main parking lot came in at about $2 million, but the new deal with the homes and the beet parcel could be millions more, according to Overmyer.

Robert Zilles, a member of the fair’s board of directors, is against the deal as it stands.

Kroger is set on having this piece of land, which makes it the most valuable land in Fremont, he said.

And while Zilles is not inclined to sell the land, he’s also not inclined to say never. Kroger could, for instance, offer the board $20 million.

Overmyer has said the fair needs an infusion of money to secure its future and continue operations.

Mitten hopes the sale goes through.

“I hope they do. I’m ready to sell” he said. “It’s getting too much to keep. I have property taxes and upkeep”



So, if this Kroger were to be built then my guess is this would result in the closing of both the two other, existing Kroger's in Fremont?
The City should put some contingency such as that if a new store is built, the old store on 5th needs to be returned to buildable property. Said another way, the building gets torn down and grass planted. If not, I suspect it will just be another empty and neglected building.
Also, how about some strict code enforcement on the new building. If you let them, Kroger will build a large, ugly cinder block building. How about some requirements that the building need to be somewhat attractive.

It too will be major blow to Potter Village Shopping Center if the current Kroger leaves.

When I opened this story I expected it to be about Kroger's plans for a new store in Sandusky. What is the latest on that saga?
I envision Kroger building next to Menards and extending the interior street to Perkins Ave. I then envision the Kroger Gas Station at the Rt250 entrance of that shopping center. This would put the Kroger name and a large Kroger sign directly across from Aldi.


Rumor is Kroger Sandusky is going to build in the "Drug Mart" plaza. There is a sign that says Chicago Hair is moving to the Eastern part of the plaza. Why are they moving? They say "Kroger."


You want the "building to be somewhat attractive"? Apparently you have not seen a new Kroger lately.

The new Kroger stores in Dayton and Cinncinnatti are huge brick and stone beautiful buildings. They sell furniture, they have small stores inside them, they are awesome. The last one I was just in, in Dayton, had a brand new corvette parked in the produce center. These stores are first class.

Besides, I was just in Fremont on Friday, and ANY new construction would look good in that run down, dirty, closed up ghost town. That place was nasty. And Potter Village? It's pretty bad when your anchor store is GOODWILL! The only reason anyone goes to Potter Village is because the State Store is there, and you need liquor to survive living in that corrupt town.


I have been to the fancy new Kroger in Maumee. I seem to find the prices to be more expensive. Yes they have more things and bigger departments, but the prices are higher on those items. I do not see that surviving in Fremont. Maumee, yes. Fremont, NO.
Offering someone $25k or $32k to buy their home and relocate? Just to demolish a home and turn it into a parking lot.....I would tell them to take a leap. If they are serious about doing this, they need to get serious about the offers. You are wanting people to uproot and move just to make room for a new parking lot for the fair grounds but yet make a JOKE of an offer on their home. How serious are they? I know it would take more than $32k for me to move my home and family.


The home is only appraised at $36,500 on the auditors website.


That's fine. BUT to need to move, find a new home and relocate your life....I would make them pay more than that. If they want to make this work, they will pay for it. This is for THEIR benefit, THEY way it, THEY can pay for it.


$36,500 on the web sight! $60,000 to Kroger. Have to pay to play right?! Price always doubles! lol


The state owns property at the SR 53 interchange that was evidently bought to build a full cloverleaf interchange. They just redid the entrances and exits and would prefer to have left turns and traffic lights interrupting the flow of traffic instead of smoothly flowing traffic so let Kroger buy one of those parcels for their store or better yet buy the empty field behind the Lowes and WalMart.