ANDERSON — The first steps toward the redevelopment of the city’s westside gateway were announced in 2023.
After the Marsh store closed on Nichol Avenue in 2017, the administration of Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. has been working to bring a grocery store to the west side.
It was announced that KennMar was purchasing the former Marsh store and has signed agreements for the opening of a Needler’s grocery and Ace Hardware to the location.
KennMar is investing $1.5 million in the project and purchased the building for $500,000 from the Anderson Redevelopment Commission.
The Anderson Redevelopment Commission is providing $7.2 million to be released in phases to upgrade the store.
The store needs a new heating and air conditioning system, flooring, electronics and plumbing.
Those funds will be recaptured from tax revenues on the increased assessed value of the property.
The developer has to commit to operating the grocery store and hardware store for a minimum of 10 years.
The stores have to be opened by July 1, 2024, or KennMar will be in a breach of contract. The developer hopes to open the stores before that date.
Broderick said the search for a grocery store started in 2017. The city denied an effort to convert the Marsh store in a storage facility.
“We have been working on a grocery store, the bonus is getting a hardware store,” Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said.
“These businesses will serve the western part of the community and be the threshold for other commercial developments,” he said.
Broderick said his administration wanted an upscale store with many opportunities for local residents.
“This is the beginning or our journey,” he said. “The plan has always been to redevelop the area.”
The city is currently in negotiations on property on Raible Avenue to the west of the post office facility.
There are also long range plans for the intersection of Nichol and Raible avenues.
Brent Benge with developer KennMar said they started looking at the project a year ago.
“We asked the community want they wanted,” he said. “The administration wanted a grocery store and we only contacted the Needler family.”
Benge said the company has an obligation to the communities they serve and look for an economic and social return on projects.
Michael Needler said the family-owned business has purchased several former Marsh locations and look to serve those communities.
“We found strength and a solid foundation in Anderson,” he said. “We’re excited about what we’re going to bring to Anderson.”
Needler said Anderson has a vision to redevelop the area and control progress for the future.
“We won’t live without the support of the community of a small business,” he said. “We need community support to be successful.”
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.