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Posted on Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:30 p.m.

Kroger in Ann Arbor's Georgetown Mall closing next month

By Dan Meisler

The Kroger grocery store in the Georgetown Mall on Ann Arbor's southeast side will close Sept. 12.

The closure of the 25,872-square-foot store on Packard Street means the entire retail and office complex, which has been crumbling into disrepair for years, will be vacant.

It also throws into question plans for redevelopment of the 6.57-acre site with a total of 83,000 square feet of space. Developer Craig Schubiner said a year ago that Kroger's presence and brownfield tax increment financing were crucial to the redevelopment proposal. He could not be reached for comment on the Kroger closure today.

The property also entered foreclosure last year.

A site plan approved by the city in 2007 calls for a redevelopment that would create 90,000 square feet of new retail space.

In a written statement, Rick Going, president of Kroger's Michigan Division, said all 55 employees at the Packard store will be offered jobs at other locations in southeast Michigan. The statement also said the company will continue to meet its obligations under its lease agreement, which expires in July 2012.

According to its most recent earnings statement, Cincinnati-based Kroger had a net earnings of $435.1 million in the quarter ending May 23, compared to $380 million in the same period the year before.

Harbor Georgetown LLC purchased the Georgetown Mall property for $6.1 million in 2001. But a foreclosure notice in July 2008 said the land had an outstanding debt of $15.1 million with an interest rate of 20 percent.

The land also owes more than $625,000 in back taxes, Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McClary said. She recently granted Schubiner a 1-year hardship extension before county tax foreclosure, which will now take place in February if payments are not received by then.

If the February foreclosure goes through, Schubiner would have two months to redeem the property. After that, McClary said she would have to decide between two choices - a public auction to the highest bidder or putting the property into the newly created county land bank.

The property is being listed for sale by a Bloomfield Hills company called Income Property Organization. The company's sales brochure calculates the value of the land to be about $6.4 million, factoring in about $370,000 in repairs to the sidewalks, parking lot and light poles, as well as exterior renovations.


Michael Olsen

Sat, Aug 8, 2009 : 10:02 a.m.

@msmsw This is what people do: Lament the loss of something dear to them, such as the loss of a neighborhood grocery store that brings back fond memories. This is the role of local government: Foster economic development. Perhaps I am being too liberal though...perhaps the closing of the Georgetown Krogers is really a perfect representation of the themes in Ayn Rand's opus.


Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 12:17 p.m.

It is sad to see it go. I also snagged a packet of Chicklets when I was about 4 and had to return and pay for it. But my best memory is when my brother TOLD my mom he didn't feel well, but she took him shopping anyway and he puked right in the front aisle by the cash registers. My mother was horrified. We still laugh about that today...30 years later.

David Bardallis

Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 8:51 a.m.

This was a convenient stop for me on my home for work. Or was, until I got laid off. I hope something else can be done with the property -- seems like there's a market for a grocer and other things there. Unfortunately, I think commercial real estate is the next shoe to drop in our ongoing economic depression, so there's a good chance the place will rot for a while.


Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 7:49 a.m.

@objectivist: I wouldn't blame AA property taxes or zoning rules on this one (which help support a well-educated population). The owner let his property fall apart and the signage was poor (it took several years to realize there were "more stores in the back"). I'd blame bad business...although I know that it doesn't fit into your simple and naive worldview.

Angela Smith

Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 7:45 a.m.

I will be sorry to see this kroger go. Even though it is not my closest grocer, I frequently like to pop in here for a quick item or two because of the small siz (= easy navigation), great prices, and as mentioned --super friendly staff.

Mike Nowak

Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 6:07 a.m.

That's too bad. We are equidistant from this Kroger and the one on Industrial but I always preferred the Packard Kroger because the staff is so friendly. I hope they take shifts at the Industrial Kroger. Thanks for everything guys.

Randy Ayn

Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 4:08 a.m.

LOL, read ATLAS SHRUGGED and you will understand why the socialist policies of the supposedly "liberal" Ann Arbor people are driving the city into the ground. Waaaaaaaaaaa, my grocery store is gone. Waaaaaaaa, the city should "redevelop" the site. Got free market?


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 7:25 p.m.

As one who lives in this neighborhood I'm so sorry to see the demise of this property. My hope is they will be able to come up with a buyer and a plan...Just a thought,but it might be a great location for another Busch's...

karen sn

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 7:04 p.m.

What happened to Georgetown Mall borders on the criminal. A busy, happy, "town square" for at least 5 adjoining neighborhoods has gone down because of empty promises for something better. It's sad. Thanks Kroger for hanging in there - Karen, Ruthann, Darrel, the managers, baggers, meat and produce guys - everyone. Good luck.


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 6:12 p.m.

I've been out of town for awhile. I didn't know there still WAS a Georgetown "Mall."

Jeremy Peters

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 5:10 p.m.

Unfortunate indeed. I live very near here (right behind it).

Alan Benard

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 5:04 p.m.

You all know about the Kroger at Stadium and Industrial, right? Map: If I lived in Georgetown, I would see this location as far more convenient. Google maps says it is 1.4 miles from Packard and King George. The location on Carpenter is 2.5 miles, and not in corporate Ann Arbor. You need to shop in the stores in A2 to keep them here.

John Galt

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 4:54 p.m.

Too bad. I live in the Georgetown area and remember this store as one of the first I entered as a child. The property is run-down, but I was hoping for a renovation. It will be a real "drag" being forced to drive out to Carpenter Road. Massive traffic jams. Everything I can't stand in recent suburban "development."


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 4:18 p.m.

I hear ya Phil, I remember my mom carting me in there to return and pay for the orange tic-tacs I had covertly grabbed from my seat in the shopping cart and didn't reveal until I was being lifted into the car. It was almost like an Andy Griffith episode. And that embankment in the parking lot was way too much fun. Bringing in an empty cart from the back row was always a thrilling ride.

Phil Dokas

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:59 p.m.

Peace out childhood grocery store!


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:49 p.m.

I saw the most recent site plan [last year??], and the owner of the property (or his representative, I can't remember) looked like he slept in his van. He looked bad, and his property is blighting the neighborhood. With the bad economy, excess commercial real-estate, this polluted and run-down property will be vacant for years (if you don't count the homeless and wild animals). The city should raze the buildings and let UM students figure out how to clean up the chemicals with bacteria or nano-sponges. Good luck to the employees. I liked the guy who would calculate your change quicker than the machine.


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:30 p.m.

that is a sad shame that was the closest Krogers to where I live its a 5- 10 min drive now we are going to have to go to the one on Carpenter Rd thats more of a pain but i will have to make the best of it.they were saying that it was going to close it has come time it still is a shame well least the workers will still have their jobs in other locations thats the best outcome.


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:25 p.m.

My hope is that if the property gets re-developed that the City doesn't go along with the developer claiming "brownfield" status to get additional monies from the city and State to assist in the "clean up". As if the City or State has $$...why aren't the perpatrators of the toxicity of the soil responsible for the clean up? Why doesn't the developer bear the cost as part and parcel of the deal? I guess I don't understand the "brownfield" shell game that is played. So is there a brownfield status at all old dry cleaners? I know they use to use 1,1,1 trichlorethelene as part of the cleaning process, so what did they do dump the waste/by product out their back door?

Patti Smith

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:08 p.m.

I'd kinda like to know what's going to happen to the property, too. I, along with many of the people from the nearby 'hoods, sat through a charming presentation last year. We were given a delightful presentation about what was going to happen to the property...but it turns out that this was mostly bullcrappery (can I swear on here?). At this same event, some of the closer neighbors said that folks were using the backside (NPI) of the building for their own, personal restroom. Someone else also reported about brownfields (I think that was the word) caused by the dry cleaners that was there. Sooooo...just kinda wondering what is going to happen....


Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:07 p.m.

That is also where the first Ann Arbor Dominos Pizza was located.

Liz Margolis

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 3:06 p.m.

This is highly disappointing. While the Mall is an eyesore the store was a very nice convenience for those of us living in the Georgetown neighborhood. Everyone knew you when you shopped there!The city now needs to get active to force some kind of action on this property. Please do not let is fall like the former Michigan Inn. It is a blight on the neighborhood.

Mike Jennings

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 2:52 p.m.

To bad. I grew up in that neighborhood and knew most of the staff. I loved being able to walk and get everything we needed. That shopping center should be at the forefront of the citys agenda for rehabing, either by a private developer or with some city funds. It goes right to the hart of a walkable, friendly neighborhood where you don't have to drive 10 minutes to get a gallon of milk.