County looking at old Kroger Plaza

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County officials are looking into the possibility of purchasing Marysville Plaza, 1095 W. Fifth St. The site has two buildings, one served as the former Kroger and the other housed the Big Lots store. The site also has an out lot and parking. County officials have said they do not have a specific plan for the site’s use, but said they always need space. (Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)

County officials are looking into the possibility of purchasing the former Kroger building.
The Union County Commissioners have contracted with Silling Architects to conduct a “general building assessment” of the Marysville Plaza, 1095 W. Fifth St. The site has two buildings, which served as home to the former Kroger and former Big Lots store, an out lot and parking on 15.24 acres. The lot with the Wendy’s and the lot with the former bank are not included on the property, but the out lot between those two buildings is included.
According to the agreement, the architects will “review the existing buildings to determine the suitability as repurposed county facilities.”
County Administrator Tim Hansley said that while the center has been losing tenants since Kroger relocated, the owner has not wanted to sell the space. The plaza still has several tenants in the smaller spaces.
“In an ideal world, we would love that to become a tax paying retail center, but it hasn’t,” Hansley said.
When the owned passed away, however, estate officials decided to sell the property. Hansley said that when he and other county officials saw the site was on the market, they inquired about it.
“We thought since it is on the market, now is a good time for us to take a look at it,” Hansley said, noting that it is “easier to negotiate and buy when a property is on the market than when it is not.”
He said county officials have discussed several agencies that could use the space. The county administrator said he and several others toured the build and “to the untrained eye, it looks to be in pretty good shape for what it is,” stressing that he wanted someone with a trained eye to look at the building.
Hansley said Silling officials have worked with the county on space studies in the past and, “they kind of know our need-for-space issues.”
Silling officials said that in addition to checking the building’s structure and construction, they would look the exterior and plumbing, electric and HVAC systems.
“They are looking at the bones of the building basically,” said Hansley.
He said, “the location itself is good” but added there are other questions to be considered.
“Is it worth saving? Is it worth putting money into it? How much would it take? What can we do with it?” Hansley asked.
He said there is no question there is a need for additional space as “several departments” have said they need to expand.
“Sometimes it is cheaper to buy an old building and work on it,” Hansley said. “Sometimes it is easier to buy a site and build new.”
He said buying an existing building has been a successful formula for the county.
“We have done that successfully in the past,” Hansley said, citing the conversion of an old school, a bank and several old retail stores into current county office.
Silling is expected to make a report on the building “the first part of December.”
From there, county officials will make some decisions which may or may not lead to negotiations.
According to the Union County Auditor’s Office, the property is valued at $3,027,040. In 2017, the property was valued at about $5 million, but the owner appealed, saying the site was more properly valued at $3.1 million.
Hansley said the county told the property brokers that “within a month or two we would have an answer to them.”



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