Grocery chain seeks to seize local Albertsons’ property

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    Retail food chain Kroger is interested in turning the Albertsons on the northwest corner of University Drive and Devitt Street into a mixed-use grocery store and residential housing development, a representative for the chain said.

    Kroger is still in discussions with the landowners and have yet to finalize any plans concerning the property, said Rebecca King, consumer affairs manager with Kroger.

    “We absolutely have an interest in this area,” King said. “We’re always looking for great locations for new Kroger stores.”

    David Schroeder, development project coordinator for the city of Fort Worth, said Savannah Developers, the developers of the project, submitted preliminary plans to the city in early this month.

    According to the preliminary plans submitted to the city, the building will be five stories high, have retail space on the ground floor and 164 two- and four-bedroom housing units on the upper four floors. The concept plan shows a pool, a clubhouse and a parking structure, which will be integrated into the south side of the building.

    Schroeder said the developers have met with the zoning and city staff to go over the requirements and guidelines necessary for the project.

    “They’re pretty far along with their planning,” Schroeder said.

    Jennifer Vroman, director of public affairs for Albertsons, said at this time Albertsons does not have any plans to close the store, but it does have a leasing contract with the property owners.

    “So just like any location where land is leased there is always a chance that it will be renegotiated,” Vroman said.

    Vroman would not release the expiration date of the lease contract, but she said the lease is fairly long term and does not expire for the next several months.

    John Davis, a member of the executive committee for the Bluebonnet Hills Neighborhood Association, where the Albertsons store is located, said most of the residents in the area have negative views about the proposed building.

    The increase in density living and the amount of traffic the building would generate would change the area dramatically, Davis said.

    “The density would just be horrendous,” Davis said.

    Several neighbors are worried the proposed plan might remove a barrier on the west side of the Albertsons store on Rogers Avenue, which was created to decrease traffic within the neighborhood, Davis said.

    As long as the building fits within the mixed-use zoning of the area there is not much the neighborhood can do about it, Davis said.

    “But it’s something we just haven’t explored enough yet,” Davis said.

    Savannah Developers, the project builders, could not be reached for comment on the proposed plans.