• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Former Kroger building drawing interest, owner says

There's "current interest" in leasing the former Kroger store in the Lexington Road Plaza, according to a spokesperson for Brixmor Property Group, owner of the Versailles shopping center. "We have current interest in the former Kroger space, and we are currently working through details," said Kristen Moore in an email. The 72,500 square-foot Versailles store has been vacant since July 2015 when a Kroger Marketplace opened in Bluegrass Commons, a shopping center located across from the Lexington Road Plaza on Lexington Road (U.S. 60). During a telephone interview last Thursday, Aug. 3, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott confirmed that somebody with local ties has shown interest in leasing the former Kroger store. "I think there's a decent possibility (of it happening)," said Traugott. "There's a lot of obstacles with a building that size in committing to a cost like that but ... (the proposed use) certainly seems viable to me." The mayor said he could not comment on a possible use being explored by the person with local ties. The former Kroger building has now been vacant for more than two years, but Traugott said he remains "realistically optimistic" that the community will not see a repeat of the former Versailles Center property, where blighted shopping center buildings eventually had to be razed. "I hope we can avoid getting to that point," he added. The Brixmor spokesperson was asked to explain why - from a business standpoint - the commercial real estate company does not want any vacant storefronts in its shopping centers. "Our goal is to find the retailers or businesses that are relevant to the community we serve. A vibrant shopping center provides economic stability for the community, our retail partners and our company," Moore said. Brixmor owns and operates more than 500 commercial real estate properties in 38 states, according to its website.

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