ANDERSON — Approval for the next step toward bringing a grocery store and additional retail development on Nichol Avenue was completed by the Anderson Redevelopment Commission.
The ARC on Wednesday voted to move forward by issuing a public offering requiring potential developers to submit proposals by March 28.
ARC members also approved a memorandum of understanding with developer KennMar, which is proposing to open a grocery store and retail outlet at the former Marsh store.
Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said the ARC purchased the building after a company proposed a self-storage facility for the property.
“Our job one was to get a grocery store in the area,” he said. “We were approached by KennMar, which is a development group that has taken old Marsh stores and opened grocery stores and retail outlets.”
Broderick said the city was approached by other parties interested in opening a grocery store at the location.
“This is the most favorable interest we’ve had in the property,” he said. “We wanted a commitment for a full-service grocery with name brand products, meats and fresh produce.”
Broderick said KennMar is interest in purchasing additional properties in the area of the Marsh store for potential development.
“It’s important we develop the corridor to attract more businesses to our community.”
The memorandum of understanding, Broderick said, was written to attract a developer or successful bidder that would be successful at the location.
Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said the city was seeking a grocery operator with expertise and a commitment to remain for a while.
“We’re asking a company to come into the community and stay for 10 years,” he said. “After that time period, they will know if it is successful.”
Broderick said if the developer fails to be in compliance with the requirements for a full-service grocery and fresh produce, the ownership would revert to the ARC.
The memorandum of understanding specifies that KennMar will pay $500,000 for the building and invest a minimum of $1.5 million.
The ARC will provide $7 million in phases to be used for new heating and air conditioning, refrigeration units and repairs to the parking lot.
Broderick said the payments will be phased in as work is completed.
Winkler said a successful bidder for the project would be expected to meet the terms of the memorandum of understanding the city has with KennMar.
“That sets the bar,” he said. “We wanted to set the minimum before asking for proposals.”
Winkler said he expected that more than one developer will submit a proposal by the deadline.
The operators of the grocery store must have a minimum of 15 years’ successful business experience.
Special consideration will be given if the development can start by the second quarter of the year and be completed by Dec. 31, 2023.
Ever since the Marsh store closed on Nichol Avenue in 2017, the focus of local residents and the city administration has been to find the right fit for the property.
The ARC purchased the vacant building in 2019 for $230,000 and spent about $300,000 on a new roof and building façade.