Kroger to replace Kmart at 9 Mile and Harper

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 11, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — A well-known corner of the city will get a makeover and an up-to-date grocery shopping destination in the next few years.

According to representatives from Kroger Real Estate, the grocery store will be taking over the property at the corner of Nine Mile Road and Harper Avenue, which is currently a Kmart, demolishing the building and bringing in a 103,000 square-foot Kroger store with Clicklist, a drive-thru pharmacy and outdoor café area.

Mike McPherson, with civil consultant Atwell, told City Council that the Kroger will face the same direction as the Kmart currently does, and it will be a prototype building that has not yet been built in the area.

“It’ll be very nice,” he said at the Sept. 5 City Council meeting. “We think it’s actually a modern-looking building. The city will be one of the first ones in the area to get one like this.”

Tom Ross, with Kroger Real Estate, said that although Kroger owns the current building on Nine Mile Road at Nine-Mack Drive, leasing the property at Nine Mile and Harper will give them more space to build a bigger store.

“It’s an opportunity to expand,” he said. 

But, he added, they hope that the Nine-Mack Drive store will not stay vacant very long.

“We would control the fate of the building that we currently own,” he said. 

In response to a concern from Councilman Peter Rubino, Ross said that, unfortunately, the Kroger store that formerly occupied the corner of 13 Mile Road and Harper Avenue was a lease in a building that Kroger did not own. Ross said they have been working with the landlord to get out of the lease early or to sublease the building, but have not been successful.

“We are not holding it off the market,” he stressed. “We are motivated to get that space either released or subleased. 

“With our current space that we own (on Nine Mile Road), we have a plan in place for that,” he said. 

Councilman John Caron said that, looking at the plan, which includes green spaces in the parking lot, he thinks it will be a “great improvement for that whole corner.”

“That Kmart store’s been a fixture in the city,” he added. “A little sad to see it go, but glad you guys are bringing in a new, big, modern building.”

Ross said they don’t know when Kmart will be closing its doors, but it takes a little over a year to build a store, and they hope to have the new Kroger open in 2019.