Kroger Store to be Converted to Anderson County Offices


Kroger store renovations moving forward in Anderson

By Charmaine Smith-Miles

March 8, 2008

ANDERSON COUNTY — The plans to renovate the old Kroger building on River Street to house Anderson County administrative offices are moving forward — once again.

The Anderson County Council in 2006 approved issuing a $7.3 million bond to pay for expansion of county offices into the former grocery store, upgrades to the current courthouse and preliminary work the expansion of the Anderson County jail.

Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston said renovations on the project could reach $5.5 million, but he hopes they will come in lower.

“The project’s budget can vary depending on what we get back in bids,” Mr. Preston said. “It could cost $4.5 million. But I wanted to estimate high on the front end.”

How much of the $7.3 million will go to the annex, the courthouse, and the jail is not available because the county is waiting on renovation bids on the Kroger building, Mr. Preston said. Some of the upgrades to the courthouse will include changes to security and the building’s sound system.

The old Kroger store is about 47,000 square feet and sits on 6.25 acres. After renovations it will house the county treasurer, auditor, assessor, register of deeds, building and codes, mailroom, and building and grounds offices — basically all non-court related offices now located in the Anderson County Courthouse.

County officials are sending drawings to contractor for the first renovation stage. That first stage will include removal of walls and other preparations, Mr. Preston said. Construction on the site should begin in June or July and should be done by May 2009, he said.

When the council approved the purchase of the old store for $1.3 million, it created a stir among residents. Some approved of the deal. Others did not.

Opponents to the project argued that $1.3 million purchase price for the building was too much for that side of town, that the area, located on Anderson’s southeast side, was unsafe and that the property’s Realtor, Marshall Carithers, was making too much money on the deal.

Arguments were refuted by county officials, saying that other empty grocery stores on the S.C. 28 Bypass and U.S. 29 South, are priced between $1.4 million and $4 million. Then, Anderson Police Chief Martin Brown said just five incidents were reported within a two-block radius of the old store in 2005.

And according to the county’s contract with Mr. Carithers, he made the standard 6 percent commission on the sale.

County Council member Cindy Wilson was the dissenting vote on the matter. And she said she is still opposed to it.

“The concerns that I had primarily dealt with the deal, with the purchase price,” Ms. Wilson said. She said she is still worried about how much the entire project will cost.

But Mr. Preston said the county has no choice but to expand county offices because the current offices are too crowded.

“We are a growing county right now,” he said. “This is going to be an anchor for south Anderson. I think once you see this project completed, I think you are going to see a transition on River Street like you saw on McDuffie Street with the new library.”

Anderson County resident John Schinnagel, who is often vocal on local politics, said the renovations should help the area. He lives off Centerville Road and often travels the S.C. 28 Bypass, across town from the old Kroger store. It is dotted with several empty grocery stores.

“The city looks bad when you ride down the streets and see empty store fronts,” Mr. Schinnagel said. “I agree with the renovation. I don’t think $5 million is a lot to spend.”
Integra Realty Resources – South Carolina has appraised a variety of vacant boxes in South Carolina. In general, vacant discount stores (K-Mart, Wal-Mart, etc) have sold at prices in the range of $15.00 to $30.00 per square foot. Vacant grocery stores, which are smaller and marketable to a wider base of users, have sold in the range of $25.00 to $55.00 per square foot. The Anderson Kroger sales price was $27.66 per square foot.
Be Sociable, Share!
    Categories : Anderson

    Comments are closed.